Growing up I didn’t know much about spirituality. All I knew about was religion, which required following a certain dogma that contradicted my rational mind. The idea of having to strictly adopt a predefined belief system above all others was beyond me. Especially when I didn’t share many of the rules that were a part of it. So I decided to give up on religion a long time ago. And with it, I gave up on spirituality.
It was not until seven years ago when I was conflicted with this concept once again. Not the part about religion. I know how I feel about that. But the part about spirituality. That is, believing there is something greater than the tangible world we see. I was in a very dark place at that time. I felt very lost and had no idea why. My desperation was such that I started praying. I wasn’t sure who I was praying to but I was trying with all my heart to get my message across to something or someone bigger than me. I would sit out on the balcony of my apartment and pray for clarity.
Despair does that to you. It makes you do things you would never imagine doing. As they say, desperate times call for desperate measures. So I prayed and I meditated. Asking for enlightenment. I thought it was a long shot but at that point I had nothing to lose. My rational mind was failing me so I had no other option but to rely on what I now know is spirituality. I was desperately searching for meaning in my life. I needed at least some light in that rather dark tunnel I had no idea how to get out of.
I did get a ray of light one day. It was one of those “aha” moments you can’t logically explain. Out of the blue I suddenly realized my so-called passion in life made me feel empty. It was like an inner voice speaking to me. And just like that, that beam of light turned into a full sunrise right before my eyes. With time I realized my career was just the tip of the iceberg. Not only had I no idea what I wanted to do with my life but I had no idea who I even was. And because of this, I soon learned how I had failed to make the right choices for me.
So I spent the following years doing much introspection and therapy. I worked hard, very hard, on getting to know myself. And the more I knew about who I was the more changes in my life I started making. Big transformational changes. Both internal and external. And after much pain, fear, and discomfort I finally started feeling content. And the more content I was the more I started to forget how this whole process of transformational change had begun. Without knowing it I went back to being my old rational and logical self. And by doing so I completely forgot how spirituality had held my hand along this arduous process.
But the Universe is wise. So very wise. It forced me to open my eyes and wake up once again. This time the challenges I had to face were even harder because I had absolutely no control over them. I needed something more powerful than my rational and logical being to overcome the possibility of losing my son to a stroke. To better manage the desperation that comes with trying to reclaim your life when everything along the road makes it feel impossible. Once again I was face-to-face with the need for a higher power. Desperate to connect with something larger than myself. So, I decided to embark on a journey of spirituality again, but this time, with full awareness and conviction.
I’ve come across persons and books along the way that I can’t help but think are teachers and lessons the Universe is offering me at a time when I’m finally able to accept them. I’m starting to say prayers, mantras, and affirmations that feel completely ridiculous at first but with time somehow make me feel better. I’m meditating, in spite of my easily distracted mind, and taking advantage as much as I can of every opportunity to contemplate the inexplicable beauty of nature. And I’m engaging in activities that nurture my soul and give me a sense of connectedness, such as writing.
I can’t say I have blind faith in the Universe just yet. But I’m working on it. Because despite what my unconscious may be telling me to sabotage this quest for inner peace, I now know with certainty that my mental well-being depends on it.
And here’s what I’ve learned about spirituality so far:
- Spirituality goes beyond religion. It is not concerned with politics, rules or traditions. Spirituality is about feeling connected to a power greater than all of us. It allows us to cultivate a positive state of mind by having faith in the world we live in. As science has shown, being spiritual is positively correlated with optimism, strength, inner peace, gratitude, and contentment. In other words, spirituality makes us happier.
- Spirituality is an experience that comes from the soul and can be pursued in many different ways. You can connect with the Universe by marveling at the wonders of nature. Expand your consciousness through meditation. Induce your mind to positive beliefs through the repetition of mantras and affirmations. Or build your faith in the Universe through the power of prayer.
- Spirituality makes it easier to let go. It helps you accept the part of your fate you have no control over. Because despite what some of us may believe, we are not fully responsible for every single thing that happens in our life. All we can do is our best and surrender what’s left to the Universe. And just by accepting that, the burden begins to feel a lot lighter.
- Spirituality fills the gaps that logic and reason are not able to. It does not make us less rational, but more comfortable with the uncertainty of life. Unlike what I used to believe, spirituality is not a free pass to sit back and watch life happen to us. It just gives us the piece of mind we need once we’ve done everything in our power and still haven’t reached the outcome we were looking for. It gives us hope that, regardless of our wishes and desires, something better is waiting for us down the road, even though it’s in a different shape or form than we had planned for.
So despite what my logic and reason may think, I’ll keep trying to invite spirituality into my life every day. Because I’m now wide awake and refuse to go back to sleep. Not when the sky has lit up right before my eyes.