The missing piece: Why spirituality matters

Spirituality is an art, not science. It is hard to define and hard to measure, and therefore it is hard to scientifically prove. For some, spirituality as a concept is frustrating. For others like me, it is the gray area of seeking to know and be in relationship with something that isn’t so clear but yet has a profound impact on our lives. It is poetry set to the score of one’s life in a way that feels “right” for each unique individual – a means by which we make sense of our messy, beautiful, complicated experiences and connect with something or someone that transcends us. Spirituality is the stream by which we receive nourishment from a Higher Source AND the root that keeps us grounded right here, right now, with ourselves and others.

Spirituality is a necessity. I’m not talking about the polarization or dichotomies that emerge when people are hung up on what’s right or wrong, good or evil. I’m talking about the ways in which we are touched by the wells of hope and purpose and meaning that exist within us and outside of us. I’m talking about the ways in which we access and embrace the truths that remind us of how we are bound together in our fullest and most fulfilling existence, even in the throes of heartache and suffering. And while they may be connected, spirituality and religion are not the same thing. It is fully possible for someone to embrace a spiritual life outside of a religious one. And vice versa, it is quite possible for someone to be actively engaged in religion and still have a “spiritual vacuum” – a lack of purpose, meaning, fulfillment or connection with Self, Others, and the Transcendent.

The spiritual life, however it is lived when it cultivates health, peace, love and reasonable happiness in this world, is a life well-lived. Besides reason and empiricism, spirituality is the art of living as a soul within a very physical body and beyond. And just as art is a freedom of expression by the artist and open to interpretation by the observer, so is spirituality. My hope is that we all become connoisseurs of that art: that we appreciate and embrace the beauty of the art that teaches us, liberates us, and leads us to greater depths of wholeness as human beings.

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