Ask a hundred people this question and you will receive a hundred different answers. Why? Spirituality is completely personal and always changing. I think that’s why so many people are turning toward a spiritual practice these days rather than a religious one. It’s the best of all worlds; You can take your beliefs, personalize them, and put them into practice. It’s creative, expressive, and extremely personal.
Here’s the other thing that’s pretty awesome about spirituality: It is literally for EVERYONE and ANYONE! Spirituality may or may not include a Higher Power. I know that a lot of people freak out or completely disregard something as soon as they see the word “God.” I know I did. I ran away from it or laughed at it if someone mentioned God. I simply wasn’t ready for it. My mind was closed (even though I thought it was open) and I thought I had it all figured out. This is the beautiful thing about spirituality: your practice will adapt and evolve with you and for you as you become more conscious, aware, and open. For some people, simply learning to appreciate the beauty of life is their spiritual practice. For others, like myself, spirituality is about the personal connection you form with your “Inner Guide” and “God” (or whatever you call it – Loving Kindness, Higher Power, Divine, Love, etc.)
Just to comfort some of you out there who think “you can never be spiritual” — listen up, folks. I was the QUEEN of that! My entire life I thought I was just one of those people who was too smart to be fooled by religion and spirituality. I think you’ve got to experience it first sometimes before you start believing. That’s how it was for me at least. I began praying, just to anyone, and asking for guidance. Some pretty miraculous things started happening but I was still skeptical. One day during my prayer, the word “God” kept coming out of my mouth, something that even shocked myself. I had never been a believer in God or anything for that matter, and I was blown away. It was a pretty amazing and cool moment — something that gave me a little foot in the door of faith. I don’t tell this story to brag about the connection I made, I tell this story to give you hope. There’s enough Loving Kindness to go around for everyone 🙂
In my life, spirituality is the practice towards living a more peaceful, fulfilling life. It’s about listening to your heart, cracking yourself open, and re-learning everything you’ve been told. It’s about being in a state of gratitude and awe even when things aren’t going well. It’s the practice of forgiving yourself when you’ve made a choice that doesn’t vibe with you, and forgiving others when they’ve wronged you. It’s definitely not about being perfect; I screw up – big time – almost every day! However, in each “mess up” there is a lesson. I forgive myself and send blessings and love to those i’ve wronged, including myself. And the next time? I do things differently. I keep forgiving and trying and practicing. Even if I have to repeat the same lesson 100 times, I keep trying. After all, that’s truly what this is all about: practicing. Practicing to be the person you want to be; in every situation, every day, and with every being you come in contact with. As humans, we’re bound to mess up. That’s why a spiritual practice is every bit as much about those times when you’re feeling low and depressed as much as it is about the times when you’ve done something with great courage, love, and compassion.
There’s a quote I heard today that i’ve already planned to put on my wall so I can read it every day. It’s a quote from Brene Brown (the vulnerability expert):
Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage; To be vulnerable, to let ourselves be seen, to be honest.
This quote truly describes what it means to live a spiritual life. A spiritual practice will crack you open, expose your vulnerability, and force you to look at aspects of your life you’ve tried to numb out. You may even wish you could give up on it from time to time (spirituality is NOT easy!)… but once you’ve started, you can’t really go back. That isn’t a bad thing, though! Once you’ve been shown the beauty of living a spiritually-aligned life, you won’t want to close that door permanently. Sure, you may turn your back on it for a bit, but I have faith you’ll always come back to it. The only choice we have then is to live vulnerably. Vulnerability takes an insane amount of courage, but the high I feel from it is unmatched to anything else. That alone is one of the most beautiful aspects of a spiritual practice: vulnerability and the courage it takes to be that way.
So, this is the extremely short answer to a huge, never-ending question. When people ask what I believe, I often struggle to find the words to describe. I suppose you could say I believe we’re all here to live from our hearts, treat each other with kindness and compassion, and live a life full of fun, passion, and consciousness. I also believe we are here to learn from our mistakes, look at our “dark spots”, and really explore ourselves. My spirituality is everything to me… how I choose to eat, talk to others, treat myself, think, etc. This is the life that fills me with passion, allows me to live from my heart, and encourages me to live wide open and vulnerable for all to see. This is the life that I love. This is the life that I was put on this Earth to live.
Lots of love & exploring 🙂