“I would recommend that you keep your feet on the ground and your thoughts at lofty heights, so that you may attract only good.” – Peace Pilgrim
“When you come into this world your jobs in the divine plan are there. They just need to be realized and lived. If you do not yet know where you fit, I suggest that you try seeking it in receptive silence. I used to walk amid the beauties of nature, just receptive and silent, and wonderful insights would come to me.” – Peace Pilgrim
Recently I’ve been taking classes on The Artist Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, by Julia Cameron. The book and classes are intended to help those of us who are creatively blocked to learn to create more freely. Ms. Cameron states, “Spirituality can release blocks, lead you to ideas, and make your life artful. Sometimes when we pray for guidance, we’re guided in unexpected directions.” This emphasis on spirituality is giving me food for thought.
Your religious beliefs may differ from mine, and your spirituality may be different, too. Some people are into crystals, oracle cards, and other tools. That doesn’t appeal to me. My spirituality is fed at Sunday Mass, faith sharing, and weekly prayer service. These might not appeal to you. However, I hope we agree that God exists, and that we are spiritual beings who want to be close to Him. If that is true, do we devote enough time to strengthening our spirituality?
Sometimes I get caught up in my daily routines and forget to pray and let God speak to me. However, a retreat can help me get back on track. Last week I went to a one-day retreat at an abbey. The day included prayer, poetry reading, a walk outside to visit the monks’ cemetery, and group sharing regarding Scripture passages. This short retreat nourished my spirit, and I felt that a bonding occurred among those who attended with me. In the past, I’ve taken longer retreats that were life-changing.
Different ways of strengthening our spirituality may fit our lifestyles at certain times, but not others. When I was working full-time, an hour of adoration in chapel wasn’t always the right form of prayer for me. I’d sit in the chapel each week thinking of everything on my Do List. I think it would have been better at that time to say short prayers throughout the day. I took a little time off from adoration but later returned, and now have been going regularly for a few years. If I can shut off that voice in my head for a while and sit in silence, it is a meditative experience. Sometimes I hear words of wisdom from God, but I have to be receptive.
In the post Getting Past a Funk, I said, “Talking to the counselor gives me a new perspective, and improving my mental state will improve my physical state. It’s all tied together.” I think spirituality is, too. At the counselling sessions, I often find myself mentioning God. This surprises me—spirituality is not a topic I often discuss. But perhaps this illustrates that body, mind, and spirit are connected. A dysfunction in one area can affect the others, just as strengthening one area can affect the others.
My frequent visits to our local arboretum are another way to nurture my spirit. Being close to nature makes me feel close to God, especially when I walk on quiet trails, soaking up the sounds, sights, and smells around me. The diversity and beauty of the flowers and birds hint of the master Creator behind it all. I leave feeling peaceful and satisfied.
Do we also recognize the beauty and value of people who are very different from us? They too were created by God. Like us, they are spiritual beings who long to be close to God.
And if we can see beauty in all of God’s creation, do we see beauty and value in ourselves? God sees our beauty and value and wants to be close to us. Do we make the effort to be close to Him?
Does your lifestyle reflect your spiritual beliefs? What can you do to strengthen your spirituality?