Life is so busy, who has time for spirituality? It’s a bunch of magical thinking and a big waste of time. Praying, meditating, as though sitting around is going to accomplish anything! Why read something two thousand years old when you can read something much more relevant to your life today? Why waste time each week during a “service”, bored out of your mind, until the real fun begins as parents yell at their kids all their way out the door? What’s the point?
Common Views of Spirituality
Many have never been exposed to any kind of spirituality. When exposed to a church service, a weird feeling can take over, as full-grown people still seem to believe in Santa Claus. When studying comparative religions in college, many dutifully record the data in each book, often finding the information boring and of little substantive difference. Historically questionable, it remains a cognitive exercise as an example of “the opiate of the people”.
Some are taught rituals when they are young and rekindle them when as they raise children of their own. They go through the motions of the holidays and listen to the same twenty stories they hear again and again each Sunday. There is something somewhat special when hearing something familiar from your childhood - it creates a “feel good” experience - and then it’s back to life.
Some are taught to read “that book over there” and memorize each verse so that they will be armed with the right words during times of personal crisis. They are impressive during group studies. They also enjoy the stature this provides across the multiple venues as they are trusted and placed in leadership roles.
There are seasons in your life and we all go through times when the above may describe you perfectly. The “hedonic treadmill” of life, where “more is better” is very persuasive. Fear and anger make “loving your enemy” difficult. It is much easier to see them as very different from you; as “bad people”. And when you “lose” to these bad people, it is easy to slip into a deeper form of anger called shame.
Even memorized passages fall short when fear, anger and shame set in. Your fight, flight or freeze response is in total control. Your fight against people you don’t understand. You disengage and run. You freeze up, defenseless.
Spirituality as a Relationship
These difficult times leave your other relationships worthless to you as you lack a personal anchor. While you are winning, everything may seem fine. Your personal strengths carry you along as you become accustomed to being liked. People tell you that you are great and humbly, you accept the assessment. This becomes your anchor, and leaves you doing everything you can to keep the accolades coming. Everyone has times of personal testing. You may need to stand alone and, without a personal anchor, you will be alone.
Spirituality is about another kind of relationship that provides resolve in place of anger, compassion in place of fear and interest in place of shame. You learn from others, but your view of yourself and of the world is your own. Your personal and world views are unique. They grow with experience and provide for wise use of your strengths in all of your relationships.
Your spirituality describes a relationship. A relationship within you that you trust and that connects you to the same relationship in others even if they haven’t yet named it. This is a connection to something greater than yourself, an unbreakable Oneness that goes beyond words.
It is this Oneness you reach for, as you listen for nuance in stories thousands of years old. You carry this Oneness as you reach for forgiveness, compassion and love in all that you do. Drinking deeply from this well, you know it and offer the same to all others.
When in prayer or meditation, you talk to your old friend, your closest ally who knows you, loves you and will always be there for you. More than any bit of knowledge it is a relationship that you sustain each day, as it sustains you.
If you want to know more, please refer to the Neurobiology of the Oneness Approach.
Please also consider my video with John Murtha.
For deeper understanding of growing the faith of your children consider my podcast, Neuroplasticity is the Key to Understanding Teenagers with Jerusha Clark.