What does spirituality mean to you? Would you say you are a spiritual person?
We all need something to believe in, and for some, traditional religion as a basis of spirituality has lost its way. People are looking to other areas for their faith so what is modern day spirituality? What is it that we believe in, that governs how we live our lives?
Sport is a huge one. People live and breathe their sport. When the team wins, life is good; when the team does badly, life is bad. Wrongly or rightly players are Gods and people worship them.
Mother Nature is another one. People love and feel connected with Mother Nature and use her setting as an alter of sorts.
Spirituality at times has had hippy or religious connotations however in the 21st century, spirituality and a spiritual practice can take on any number of forms.
One thing that has not changed over the centuries though, is that spirituality is a highly personal topic. Think about how you respond when someone asks you, "Are you spiritual?" or "What are your spiritual beliefs?"
I know I squirm a bit. It's as if I am baring all, which I kind of am, as to what it is I believe in. I squirm because I don't want it challenged or questioned. It is my belief system and it works for me and that's all there is to it. I don't necessarily need anyone else's approval or scientific research to back up my beliefs. And although I generally "worship" alone, I am sure there are others out there who worship in a similar way.
So in a squirm inducing fit, I am going to answer the question, "What are my spiritual beliefs?"
- I don't believe in one God, I believe in many -- surely they are all up there, playing pool or listening to music, trying to solve the worlds problems, literally.
- I believe how you treat people is how you will be treated.
- I believe Mother Nature deserves some serious respect, and that we underestimate our impact on her and just as importantly, her impact on us.
- I believe your beliefs are your own, not to be forced on anyone else.
- I believe we are all in this together (as sung beautifully by the Australian artist Ben Lee).
- I believe that everyone just wants to be heard, to be understood, to be accepted.
- I believe we are all human -- plain and simple.
We all bleed, we all laugh, we all cry. Culture may determine what language we speak and what food we eat but put a laughing baby, or maybe cat playing piano, in front of anyone -- Chinese, Nigerian, Alaskan, Lebanese, American or Australian, whatever their beliefs, and we all smile.
In terms of spiritual practices, I have one specific ritual I do each night, I give thanks for three things from the day and I make three hopes for day to come. They are not always the same, I mix them up. Some people might call it praying, and maybe it is.
Along with my beliefs and practice, I also spend as much time in Mother Nature as I can. When I am walking my local bush trail or lying on the beach, my soul lifts, my shoulders relax and a calm encases me that only happens when I'm there. If ever there was a spiritual experience surely that's what it would feel like.
So whatever your spiritual practice, whether it be your morning walk, spending time with your children or a more traditional religious practice, honor it, enjoy it and make it work for you. Because in the end, we all need something to believe in.