Spirituality for better mental well being
“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”
What do I mean by spirituality?
“the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.”
Spirituality, to me can be linked to religion or not. It is an individual, unique awareness and connection to something greater than what we can see. To me it’s like having an awareness of my soul, my core. It’s separate to my mind, my thoughts and my feelings. Very difficult to describe with words alone but it is connection. Connection to myself, to other people and to the natural World. When I connect to that place within myself I feel whole, clear and at peace. In some sense it’s a ‘wiser’ version of who I am, a place that wants to respond to people and situations with love.
I haven’t always had a connection to the spiritual side of myself. When I was younger I remember believing in God but something along the way changed. I became sceptical as I witnessed so much distress and pain in the World. Through my counselling training a spiritual side of myself started to emerge. It doesn’t quite fully fit within a religion, but Zen Buddhism has influenced me and my counselling work. I am not entirely sure what I believe in but I can feel something and believe in something that I didn’t before. The spirituality I connect with is nature based. It’s the feeling I get when I am in natural spaces like woodlands, mountains, lakes and rivers and being by the sea.
What does being in touch with my spirituality look like?
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
What I enjoy most about spiritual health and well being is that it will look different for each person. There aren’t any rules to being in touch with your spiritual nature. It doesn’t mean you have to start going to yoga (although I recommend everyone to give yoga a go!), meditating or wearing hippy like clothes. Being spiritual is finding what activities nourish you, activities that don’t involve a connection to the material world – like going shopping, for example. Experiences like doing art, walking in nature, listening to music, making music, being mindful – whatever each of those look like to you.
Why connecting with your spirituality may help you
“Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
All too often we look at ourselves as merely the physical being. That’s where our concern lies; what we look like, what other people think of us. We neglect the inner, unseen us. There are times when we can feel quite alone. Even when surrounded by other people. They can only offer us so much. Having a spiritual connection, within yourself and the World around you can help you to feel less alone. It’s a place within that you can go to when times get hard. For me it’s a place of peace and inner calm. That’s what yoga, mindfulness, meditation and being in nature offer me. Being at peace doesn’t sound very exciting, i’ll admit! But if you’re someone who experiences anxiety or depression that feeling can be very healing. That feeling is solid, it’s trusted, it’s gentle but powerful.
I sense it as a place within me that is strong. It’s a place I’m able to go to when I need strength or when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Connecting with it through my breath or being in a natural setting I steady myself. I am cared for in that place. I’m loved. Maybe that is what spirituality, I feel, can be defined as. It’s love.