There has been over the last few days an interesting conversation on spirituality on the minister’s chat list. What is it? How do we define it? How do Unitarian Universalists who have, for the most part, shied away from the other worldly forms of spirituality of the 19th century re-engage the topic without returning to the spiritualist’s ruminations? Can we find a common definition of the word that all would agree on it’s meaning?
Here is a bit of what I wrote to my colleagues: ‘I have a sermon that I have given a few times now, entitled
“Spiritual being having a Human Experience” It is from a quote by Pierre Tielhard de Chardin, the 20th century theologian / priest / mystic who stated:
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
‘I have taken this to mean that there is something transcendent about life. And something very spiritual about our human experiences so enjoy them– all of them, in what ever shape or form they come to us; even those that cause us great pain. I do not mean enjoy the pain in a sado/masochistic manner but enjoy as in embrace all of life as it comes to us. Feel it deeply. Reflect on it deeply. Suck the marrow out of it all… ‘
For me, a healthy spirituality is one where our humanity is embraced, that we are able to live through the events of our lives as whole and present as possible. Yes, there may be events that happen in our lives that are difficult to face and the defense mechanisms of denial and repression are valuable responses in the moment to get us through these moments. But at some point in time, to be able to reflect on these moments, to embrace them as events that have happened and then to let them go so those events lose their power over the living of our current moments.
To be able to reflect upon and embrace the wonderful events as well and then to let them go because I don’t want that event to be the standard bearer / the pedestal of all other events like it. I want the next wonderful moment to stand on its own merit and to be enjoyed fully for what it brings.
A healthy spirituality for me is one where we are able to transcend our aloneness to know that we are connected and part of the interdependent web of the universe. It is a means where we bask in the awareness of all that is; marvel at its beauty; wonder at its complexity and simplicity. For me, spirituality is to live as authentically as I can and fully in touch with all I bring to the moment. It is about living to the fullest of my human potential.
I have not even come close to answering the questions at the beginning of this post. This is a conversation that is answered when there is relational dialogue. So I open the floor and invite your comments. What is spirituality to you? How do you define it? How do you experience your sense of the spiritual? Blessings,