The last six months my work (outside of clients and classes) has been consumed with creating a program that will support my tribe to find meaning and deep healing. In all of my research and reflection I have become very interested in the connection between anxiety, depression (and other emotional wounds) and spirituality. With this has come an amazing inquiry about what spirituality even is.
When I was growing up spirituality wasn’t part of my family’s ideology. My first experience of organized religion was the bully’s in school who told me I would go to hell because I wasn’t baptized. The experience created guardedness for everything I recognized as religion. In my naivety, spirituality was bundled with Religion and synonymous with the bully’s in school. Yet, I have always felt a strong sense of wonder and faith in something greater that myself. As a child this faith and sense of wonder conflicted with my naïve view of spirituality. I’ve thought a lot about the conflict over the years and almost see it as a gift that has allowed me to question and then affirm my own spirituality. Beyond the heart-centered personal work I have done I have developed a curiosity about reverence, ritual and religion that has blossomed into my personal version of spirituality.
The term spirituality was originally associated with Christianity – in reference to the Holy Spirit. It’s expanded considerably over the centuries and in modern times there are many different definitions. In fact there seems to be NO consensus on exactly what the definition of spirituality is. In many ways it’s like trying to create a definition for love and other deep emotions. We all know what love it, what it feels like. We don’t need a definition for it and any definition our human minds come up with can’t be EXACTLY accurate for everyone (or anyone;). All of that being said, spirituality in our modern age does have some common themes that are generally centered around a personal search for meaning and purpose in life - not necessarily related to organized religion.
On a personal level and with my clients I have seen first hand, what research has shown, which is the connection between anxiety and depression and living a life with purpose and meaning. And I have come to realize that this is the root of the work I do with my clients. In order to find true happiness we need first, to approach the world with a sense of wonder - this is the root of gratitude and connection (to our Universal tribe). Second, we need to have meaning, purpose and belonging - this is the root of self-love and feeling complete (feeling whole).
If you look up spirituality this is what Wikipedia has to say…
"In modern times the emphasis is on subjective experience of a sacred dimension and the "deepest values and meanings by which people live," often in a context separate from organized religious institutions. Modern systems of spirituality may include a belief in a supernatural (beyond the known and observable) realm, personal growth, a quest for an ultimate or sacred meaning, religious experience, or an encounter with one's own "inner dimension."
When asked what religion people identity with, the fastest growing group is people who identify as “spiritual but not religion”. What I see is a world increasingly divided between people seeking higher meaning and those moving into a place of selfish egoism. Humans have a natural instinct to find a tribe. This need for human connection is at first an instinctive need to be loved and accepted. As we travel further and further from our family and lose our faith in organized religion there is an increasing need to find a tribe and guidance as we search for our own deeper meaning.
Coming from the background I did, with a strong sense that I could be whatever I wanted to be, left me open-minded and able to explore new ways of thinking, alternative forms of spirituality – outside of religion. It also meant that I was mostly on my own. Through the process of discovery I felt a deep sense of isolation, which likely increased the deep-rooted depression that was such a big part of why I wanted to uncover my spiritual heart.
After many months of thinking how I could best serve my tribe it was this isolation that came to the forefront. If you are suffering from Anxiety, Depression , Stress, a bullying inner critic , trauma or any other emotional armour that is holding you back from your Self, from love, from feeling whole then I believe one antidote is uncovering your spiritual heart.
What a “spiritual heart” means is completely individual but what I know is, it revolves around healing emotional wounds that are interrupting your ability to find meaning and purpose and feeling whole.