I’ve spoken with many people who wonder what spirituality is all about. What leads one person to say, “I’m a spiritual person,” while another isn’t so sure.
I believe that to be a spiritual person means to live in a way that recognizes that there is more to life than meets the eye. The spiritual dimension of life opens us to look and to see beyond the surface of day to day events and discover something of depth, of fullness, of richness. To be a spiritual person is to recognize that this moment is an opportunity to experience fulfillment and contentment in life. Fundamentally, fulfillment in life is not an absolute. There’s no maximum quality to fulfillment. Instead, each moment is an opportunity to choose to experience something of meaning for ourselves that has the potential to evoke depth and richness of life.
While my last paragraph may sound philosophical and almost poetic, I’m attempting to convey something that we know from our experience as true. Consider for a moment what brings you joy? Or perhaps, where do you find peace in life? If we’re honest with ourselves, these experiences are deeply personal and unique. What brings you joy in life may be far different from me or some other person. That doesn’t mean the experience or description of joy is wrong in some way. Instead, qualities in life like joy, peace, happiness, or contentment are real and rooted in each person’s experience.
What are things like joy, peace, happiness, or contentment based on? While neuropsychologists can explain what is happening within the brains of individuals who experience these things, it’s clear that joy, peace, happiness, or contentment is more than just what’s happening in our brains. There’s no formula or recipe to assure that one person or another will experience these things. Instead, the experience is much more complex.
It’s from this perspective that I contend that a spiritual person recognizes that there’s more happening in life experience than just what can be identified in some measurable way. In a sense, there’s an added depth to our experience. That’s the realm of spirituality.
A spiritual person is simply a person who recognizes that there’s something more in their experience than what can be readily identified. Such a person understands that at any given moment, happiness, joy, or peace is available to them. It’s these experiences which lead us to create a sense of meaning or purpose in our lives.
Is meaning or purpose real? Or are they illusions? Perhaps they are both real and illusory. They are illusory in that meaning or purpose can change and are very dependent on a person’s context in life. At the same time, I could not claim that a parent who stays up all night to care for a sick child does so without a sense of purpose. I’d further suggest that being a good parent provides very real meaning to the lives of many people.
In the end, I would suggest that the spiritual person is the individual who understands that there is more to life than just going through our day to day routines or living for the next day off. The spiritual person finds something more that is life giving and life sustaining.
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© 2017, emerging by Lou Kavar, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.