Religion and spirituality are not the same. While religion is inseparable from spirituality, spirituality can stand alone. Today’s blog points out some of the things about spirituality that allow it to stand on its own.
Spirituality is UNIVERSAL
Each and everyone of us is on a spiritual journey. The spiritual journey is that which leads us to finding
While we are all on this journey, each of us finds our own unique path. While we may begin the journey for the sake of our own longing for meaning and purpose, we soon realize that everyone is on this search.
The Spiritual Journey has LIMITLESS paths
Anyway that we find meaning, purpose or connection becomes part of the spiritual journey: changing diapers, snuggling babies, parenting, partnering, meditation, prayer, sex, music, art, literature, nature, exercise, movement, community gatherings, advocacy, healing, teaching, learning, being healed, gardening, cooking, writing, drawing, coloring, sculpting, etc. etc. etc. In short….EVERYTHING we do and experience becomes part of our spiritual journey. We become more proactive in this journey when we bring this intention to WHATEVER we are doing.
Spirituality leads us to TOLERANCE, COMPASSION, HARMONY
The spiritual journey by its very nature is about CONNECTION. While our spiritual journey may begin from a place of perceived separation, the more we tend to this process, the more we recognize the need to tear down the walls and make friends with eachother. We learn that love is the guiding and harmonizing Source of the universe and that as we grow in love, we are able to be more loving toward ourselves, toward others and we seek to cultivate this love in our interpersonal relationships.
Spirituality encourages and provokes CHANGE
When conscious about our spiritual journey, we have no choice but to change. Yes, we might initially resist the change that is provoked through spiritual growth, but eventually, the Spirit wins out. The spiritual journey forces us to step out of the shell of our acorn and grow into the magnificent oak we were intended to be. Like the acorn that has no choice but to become the oak, we have no choice but to become who were are intended to be….and this means growth and change. When we resist this growth, we suffer. Imagine how the tender shoot of the acorn feels if someone places a brick over it, preventing it from reaching toward the sun….it eventually withers up and dies…..the same will happen to us if we resist the force of growth wanting to be known through us.
Spirituality causes us to EXPAND
Tending to our spiritual journey makes ourselves and our lives BIGGER! We begin to experience the inner freedom that is our original nature and we are driven to cultivate this freedom in our everyday lives. Our passion becomes our work and our work becomes our joy. We discover that the purpose of our gifts is to serve others….to help others to be nourished, to grow, to expand, to heal, to become empowered and transformed. The fire of passion that we bear within ourselves sparks the fire of passion in those we love and those we serve and they too are able to know the freedom of expansion.
Spirituality is able to STAND on its own
As a universal experience, spirituality is self-sustaining. Spirituality is able to stand on its own. As a deeply personal experience, the spiritual journey can be accomplished on our own, without the support of a community…..but as those conscious about their spiritual journey can attest, the journey is richer, deeper and more meaningful when shared with others.
Spirituality may or may not include a “god”
Personally, my definition of “God” is so big that I cannot see the spiritual journey absent the Presence and Action of God…..but we do not need to believe in a personal image of God to be spiritual. Spirituality is a universal journey and happens regardless of our beliefs.
The spiritual journey is the way in which we find Meaning,Purpose and Connection and the process through which our TRUEST SELF is born!
Lauri Lumby is available as a source of support for you on your own spiritual journey through Spiritual Direction/Companioning, through classes and workshops and through her writing. You can contact Lauri at (920) 230-1313 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Today’s blog explores the need for time to be in the darkness before new life can sprout and grow.
I received an email today from a young woman who found this blog through a spiritual community website of which I am an active participant. She shared with me the spiritual experiences she is having at this time and interestingly, they directly reflect the experiences I have been having. (I love how we find community when we most need it!) As I read her narrative, I was reminded of an image that has shown up for me as I have allowed myself this time of retreat….stepping away from my day-to-day obligations of writing, work, family, home, tasks, chores, etc. etc. etc. to DO NOTHING and SIMPLY BE. Here is what the image looked like:
The Story of the Sunflower Seed
Once upon a time, there was a ripening seed head of a great and majestic sunflower. Somewhere in the middle of that crowded seedhead, one seed slowly pushed its way past its brothers and sisters. It was simply getting too crowded with all those plumping seeds being squeezed together. Before readying herself for THE BIG LEAP, the seed took a deep breath, gathering all her courage around her, and in one final push, shoved her way out from the crowded seedhead and catapulted into the empty air. Screaming at once with terror and exhilaration, she fell through the light-filled void to the growd below. PLOP. She hit the ground with a thud. And then she realized……”Now what? Now that I’m free from the seedhead, now what? Who am I if not a member of the seedhead? Who am I if I’m not being crowded between my brothers and sisters? Who am I out here on my own?” Then a bright red cardinal flew down to the ground beside her and answered her question, “Well, you are a Sunflower of course!” She was startled by his answer as she had only known herself to be a seed among a million other seeds. The cardinal then scooped her up into his beak, flew to another spot in the field, scraped a little hole in the dirt and plopped her into the ground. He then covered her with dirt and said, “Now wait right here. Before you know it, you will no longer be a seed. You will become the Sunflower that God made you to be.” And then he flew away. The seed grew quiet. And as the cardinal had instructed, she waited. She waited as she felt the cool dirt around her and the warmth of the sun as it passed over her from dawn til dusk. She waited as the drank the water that periodically filled the dirt around her. She waited. She rested. She slept. Then one day, just as suddenly as the crowded feeling that had propelled her from the seedhead of the majestic sunflower, she felt her body begin to quiver and shake, pulse and vibrate. She felt as if she was being torn in two…..for that is exactly what was happening. In a fraction of a moment, the seed that she had always known herself to be suddenly fell away and she saw that she was now a bright green stalk, with tiny roots that began to reach deep into the soil, with arms of green that began to reach through the dirt and up toward the sun above. She was no longer the seed, but the beginnings of that which would soon become the majestic sunflower, just as the cardinal said she would be.
Moral of the Story
The moral of the story of the sunflower seed is simple. We need to remember that often, the greatest growth, the greatest movement, the deepest transformation happens when we are DOING NOTHING! Like the seed that becomes the sunflower as it is asleep in the dirt, we too need time to rest in the darkness while our DNA, God, the Universe, does whatever it needs to do in the darkness of mystery to create our transformation. We need do nothing but simply rest as God does the rest. And like the seed, one day we will suddenly realize that we are no longer who we thought ourselves to be, instead, we are who God made us to be.
Today, I will discuss the necessity of taking time out in our personal and spiritual journey’s to allow the learning, growth, healing and transformation to take root and become fully integrated within us. It is in this place of rest that the Holy Spirit does her magic!
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. Looking at houses, getting contractor bids, trying to figure out how to finance a home on a stay-at-home mom, Spiritual Director’s salary, etc. etc. etc. In the midst of all this there seems to be deep spiritual work going on as I am forced to face my own inner demons of fear, impatience, control, compulsive planning, lack of trust, and, did I say fear? My monkey mind cannot find peace as it restlessly plans our new life and decorates the house I do not yet have and adds up all the costs in my head and tries to look for creative financing options. Oh yea….and I still have a business to run, a family to tend to and the regular duties of a mother – grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, yardwork, tending to basement floods, etc. I know where this kind of frenetic activity usually leads me and I tried my darnedest to maintain some semblance of balance. Alas, I found that the monkey won as I fell under a pile of commitments and collapsed in a pool of overwhelm. Unable to handle one more piece of information or one more commitment, I did the only think I knew to do in that kind of overwhelm – I took a nap.
Now, I have to tell you, I am not usually a person who naps. In fact, I really suck at napping. I don’t sleep well during a nap and I rarely come out refreshed. Instead, I’m usually more crabby and feeling more like crap than before the nap. Not to mention, the perfectionistic worker bee in me tends to feel guilty for napping because if I nap, how will the work get done? While I still haven’t quite made peace with the nap thing, I have come to recognize that there are times in the day and in our lives when we have to PRESS PAUSE!
In our work-oriented world, we have forgotten the necessity of doing nothing. While we are oriented toward doing, it is important to know that we are human BEINGS, not human DOINGS. In this, we are reminded that it is a crucial part of our human and spiritual development to take time to simply BE. It is important to take time daily and sometimes for extended periods of time to DO NOTHING. While we are busy measuring our life by the things we do, what we tend to forget is that the deepest and most profound healing, growth and transformation takes place in the silence. Whether we are sleeping, meditating, or simply taking a break from our usual busy-ness, it is in this time of PAUSE that the deepest and most profound work takes place in the dark, silent places within. It is in these places of PAUSE that the Divine works its invisible magic. It is through this invisible magic that all the things we have observed, thought about, read, prayed about, contemplated, learned, become fully integrated within us. It is also in these places of PAUSE that the Divine works its miracles. It is in the PAUSE where the answers to our questions resolve themselves, where the things we need come forth and where direction is given and answers received. It is also in the place of PAUSE where we are open to hearing and seeing through the eyes of the Divine, rather than through the eyes of our ego or false selves.
So for myself, I am embracing the Divine reminder to press PAUSE and take a break from all the activities of the monkey mind (ok, at least to the best of my ability). I’m taking a break from the house questions and starting Wednesday of next week, I am officially ON VACATION!!!! And, I welcome the Spirit-led naps that provide me with the much needed rest to allow the integration of all the learning, transformation and healing to take place. I embrace this new spiritual practice that I now call “Slintegration” (sleeping-integration).
My invitation to you this week is to look at your own life and ask the question, Where do you need to PRESS PAUSE?