The word “spirit” in English comes from the Latin word “spiritus” which means breath. Although we often think of spirituality as something special and apart from our ordinary daily life, it is really as close to us as our next breath.
A traumatic event can “take our breath away” and leave us feeling numb, distressed and disconnected. An important part of healing is to repair this sense of separateness within ourselves and from others. How can we regain our “spirituality”, and our deep connection to all life in difficult times?
The world’s wisdom traditions have developed many ways to mend the separation that occurs in every human life when we face the inescapable reality of suffering. Great religious and secular thinkers have taught us through the ages how to build human community. The original meaning of religion was “to gather and bind” into community. Even though our religious heritage may have compromised their teachings, the original intention to support our search for purpose and meaning remains true.
All genuine spiritual practices, including humanistic ones, have some variation of the “golden rule”, to create for others the kind of world we would want for ourselves. This attitude may be extended not only to other people but all of life. How to live this ideal is up to us to explore. One size does not fit all. The day to day application of this practice of upholding the welfare of every being will vary from person to person and culture to culture but the fundamentals are the same whenever we look deeply into each spiritual path.
May you be encouraged to find how to express your own spirituality by exploring the tradition you were born into or setting out to find an expression that fits who you are now. Beginning with the firm knowledge that you are worthy of this quest. Your every breath is proof that you are already woven into the web of life.
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Karen Armstrong, “Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life”, Vintage Canada, 2011