“For millennia people have wanted a God and a sky where knowledge and history are stored, so that when someone punched you or kicked you down the stairs and there was no one else but the evil one beside you, you could look up from the ground and say, “God knows what you have done.” ~ Fanny Howe
How is spirituality to be defined? For some people, it’s associated with religious belief, for others a sense of awareness that connects us to ourselves and to the world around us, providing us with a deep seated sense of meaning and purpose in life. For me it’s a case of both. I believe that we are driven by our soul (our emotional needs that reside in our subconscious) while the spirit is the mind’s higher conscious. I try to make sure to give myself the time and space I need to nourish it. Without it, I couldn’t be a happy or fulfilled person. But this isn’t an article on religion. I believe a religious person can be spiritual, while a spiritual person does not have be a religious one. From my own perspective, having faith in God helps me to deal with my emotional and psychological wellbeing, to help me overcome my ego’s impulsive and instinctive nature. I find my faith a comfort and a strength when going through the ineviatable difficult times.
To some the ego is thought of in a negative and limited way, something to be cast off for spiritual purposes. However, without the ego there is no independence of thinking, which means you as an individual could not exist. For me, the key is not to get rid of the ego but to not be limited by it. Spirituality is about realizing the spirit and harmonizing the ego with it. To have awareness of self is to have awareness of the ego, and the aim is to harmonize into a whole, to become one in mind, body and soul.
This wholeness can be developed as an internal process through meditation and other practices, such as being creative or spending time enjoying nature. But during times of distress it is also helpful in overcoming frustration, disappointment and negative feelings and helps to develop a sense of inner peace. It uncovers the truth about the reality of us and of the world we live in.
I do believe things happen for a reason, and that we are all on a journey of discovery and learning through life. At the end of the day, we have every right to be who we are because we were designed to be that way. We are meant to live our life and not the life of another. We must enrich ourselves with experience and to nourish our spirit with whatever it is that makes us happy. Having lived through the ‘dark night of the soul‘ myself, I’m aware now of how important spirituality is to my enjoyment and fulfilment of life. After all, it is a world of contrasts. There has to be boredom to be able to experience excitement. There has to be cold to experience warmth. There has to be sadness to experience joy. The challenge is to embrace and accept it all to be able to go ahead and live our lives to the fullest.