When our spirituality is nurtured to go beyond the materialism, we get connected to others more easily. This connection is both a sense of relationship to the Creator, Great Spirit, or God (Divine Force), as well as a relationship to all people and to Mother Earth (Our life giving environment). Spirituality takes us beyond our ego-centered lives by expanding our hearts with compassion toward all.
Spirituality forms the framework for re-orientation to life; it does not dwell in a realm apart. It is not an extracurricular activity. Spirituality involves a reverent attitude towards all things because it awakens us to a divine presence in all things. In this way of seeing and being, all things and persons are interconnected and interdependent.
Yet this spirit, full of mystery, is every bit as real as the visible, tangible world. It is important to differentiate spirituality from religion. Some people have rejected religion in order to escape what they consider to be oppressive rules and regulations. In the process, however, many lose the great gifts of joy and compassion that spirituality brings Religion and spirituality related and intertwined, but they are not the same.
A person may experience spirituality without being a member of any specific religious affiliation, and even the most religious person may feel spiritually bereft. The true purpose of religion is to enhance spirituality through ritual and practice. This is accomplished when a person approaches his or her religion as a way to enter the great mystery, to become aware of the sacredness of all life. Religion can become a barrier to spirituality when it insists on narrow, judgmental dogma, and estranges its followers from a sense of connection with the Divine.
Religion serves us best as a vehicle to nourish and develop our spirituality. It is possible, however, to get too caught up with the religious practice, while losing sight of the destination, spirituality, which is communion with the Divine and compassion for all. For modern, academically oriented professionals, like physicians and health care workers, spirituality is often a difficult subject. For nurturing our spirituality, we need to depend on logical, analytical, and rational approaches, and while honoring science and the mind, our cultural tendency urges us to devalue belief and mystery, but the result is costly: we are left spiritually starved and out of balance.
Some of life’s most difficult questions are the spiritual ones. What is the purpose of life? What is of real value in our lives? If there truly is a God who loves us, how could there be so much suffering and unfairness in the world? Part of our addiction to our busyness is an attempt to prevent ourselves from thinking about our mortality, the inevitable fact of our own death.
But when we keep ourselves too busy to consider the purpose of our existence, our lives cease to have meaning. Strangely, it is only when we fully accept the reality of our mortality that we truly begin to live. This is the point at which we begin to enter into and learn about the spiritual dimension of our humanity.
Factually, we are not physical beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a physical experience. Our spirituality is our true essence. It is that part of our life which relates to our soul, which from a spiritual perspective is connected to the divine and is infinite. This life-time is but the physical experience of our deeper reality, our spirit, which is our fundamental nature. We must nurture our spirituality as it is an important virtue.
Be Happy – Spirituality is an important virtue