Creating Spirituality Even if You Aren't Religious
I am not particularly religious.
I have referred to myself as a “Juicecopalian” since the strongest religious influences in my adult life are Episcopalian and Jewish. I grew up with agnostic parents. My extended family includes Catholics, Southern Baptists, and Methodists and friends and colleagues of mine have followed just about every major religion out there.
But, like me, the vast majority of people that I know aren’t particularly religious, even if they consider themselves members of a particular faith.
It became a kind of cool “buzz” word in the 70s for people to claim that they weren’t religious, but were spiritual. It was a way to say that you felt connected to a higher spirit or power, but didn’t get bogged down with organized religion’s rules and restrictions.
Today, many people, myself included, still struggle with beliefs and what those questions and doubts mean in our day to day lives. Dealing with negative events can really test our faith in our fellow man and leave us feeling bitter and disconnected.
If you are seeking more positivity and spirituality in your life, consider the following:
1# NO MAN IS AN ISLAND
Being connected to others in a positive way helps humans feel that there is something more important than our own wants and needs, that we are a part of something bigger then ourselves. Look for organizations that do positive work in areas that interest you, especially in your own community.
I volunteer with a community garden group. Not only do I meet people in my community, I also get the chance to witness my efforts benefiting others, which is really rewarding.
2# GOODNESS VS PERFECTION
Focusing on perfection in every aspect of your life is a good way to end up a neurotic, depressed, mess. Just think of the cliché Thanksgiving Dinner. The hostess focuses so much time and attention on creating this fantasy, perfect meal that she misses out on spending quality time with family and friends, she is exhausted, and invariably the “ungrateful” guests eat and then fall asleep in front of the TV.
Work on being a good person, on doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, and avoid the perfection trap.
3# TAKE THE "UGLY" OUT OF YOUR MOUTH
I’m sure that you have heard, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” But it certainly seems like a lot of people have forgot this adage. With trolling, sarcasm, and passive aggressive “complements” seen as some sort of art form, saying ugly things (or posting ugly things) about others is certainly prevalent.
But, aside from the fact that “snark” hurts others, having an “ugly mouth” hurts the person delivering the lines as well. People may laugh at what you have to say when you are making fun of others, but they won’t trust you or think very highly of you. Find greater connectivity with those around you by being open and positive.
4# STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES
Communing with nature is a terrific way to find and foster spirituality. Whether you fill your home with plants, take walks in a park, explore the night sky with a telescope or enjoy happy animal videos on YouTube, taking a few moments to interact with nature reminds us of just how amazing life is.
5# GET INSIDE YOUR OWN HEAD
It’s difficult to connect to a higher purpose or better appreciate our world if we aren’t comfortable with who we are, inside. For people who have been targeted or who are battling negative situations in their own lives, hearing that inner voice or connecting with our authentic selves can be even more difficult. Just the sheer scope and busyness of our modern lives makes switching into autopilot mode so easy. Unfortunately, that means that many people go for years, even decades without really contemplating what they want from life.
Spirituality is sometimes called “inner peace.” Finding that inner peace requires us to listen to our inner voice and connect with our true feelings, values, and desires.
Becoming a spiritual person is not a destination, it’s a lifetime journey of reflection, self-awareness, and acceptance of ourselves and others.