SPIRITUALITYQuality of the month for July
The dictionaries make only a modest beginning in helping us understand the rich meanings that have recently been associated with this word. Perhaps the best starting point is this: "sensitivity or attachment to religious values and things of the spirit rather than material or worldly interests."
Steve Jacobsen makes this helpful observation about the word's evolution:
"The word 'spirituality' has an interesting history. In essence, for centuries the word was used almost exclusively within the Catholic Church. Protestants and nontraditional writers preferred words like 'inner life.' But beginning in the 1970s, the word suddenly became popular across many traditions - Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Native American and Buddhist, as well as within many groups of people who had no ties with traditional faith communities. By the 1990s, the word was used with great ease and little consistency by a great diversity of people.
"Spirituality describes for many people the subjective side of what we often think of as 'religion.' Spirituality is a very difficult word to define. An adequate definition would include reference to a relationship with something beyond myself (known as 'Creator,' 'God,' 'transcendent power,' etc.) that is intangible but also real. It would recognize that spirituality is the source of one's values and meanings, a way of understanding the world, an awareness of my 'real self,' and a means of integrating the various aspects of myself into a whole. Spirituality is the sense of the numinous in the everyday, the transcendent in the immanent, the divine in the ordinary." Here is how the PCC Resources Work Group put it:
"The people who demonstrate spirituality are those who seek always to be in touch with the highest good in themselves, in others and in the universe (whether that 'highest good' is understood in religious or non-religious terms)."When asked, "What does it mean for you to practice spirituality?" one PCC member responded with these words:
"For me to practice spirituality means that I will seek the Holy Spirit's presence in my interactions with people at every point of my daily life." Another said: "For me practicing spirituality means listening to and acting on the highest good within myself." Two Worthington high school seniors provoked these comments about their spirituality from two older friends. Observed one:
"His intense spirituality is the bedrock upon which his good character has been built. His boundless optimism is far from being wild-eyed fanatical or 'so spiritually minded he's of no earthly good.' Quite the contrary! His selfless and gracious service of others is because the invisible God he serves calls him into the privilege of such ministry. . . . Many who have received love from him would say that he is marching to another beat. He is! It's because he knows the unseen God of love who is beating out that loving cadence" said the other:
"My young friend's lifestyle speaks of her discerning God's generous gifts of intelligence and leadership ability and enthusiastically using those talents in every venue she finds herself....Her confidence and positive attitude are infectious for all who encounter her. Even silent, her presence speaks of joy, contentment and, I believe, a closeness to God ."The different facets of spirituality are addressed increasingly in current literature. Of course, given the meaning of the word, it is not difficult to find its traces widely. Here are representative samples:
"Caught up as most of us are in the complexities of daily living, we forget that we are surrounded by the creative power of Love. Every once in a while we need to step aside from the troubles and pleasures of our lives, and take a fresh look, a time to feel, and listen to our Source." - Madeleine L'Engle
"'Defining spirituality is like trying to nail Jell-o to a tree,' quipped one wag. And yet, for most people, spirituality is what religion is all about. Spirituality is the search for what is eternal, meaningful, and transcendent in our lives." - Gregory F. Augustine Pierce
"There is a dimension of the universe unavailable to the senses." - Joseph Campbell"The gate of heaven is everywhere." - Thomas Merton
"What are the benefits of more spirituality in the workplace? One of the primary benefits is that people are more in touch with the Source of creativity. As businesspeople, we realize the value of creativity and innovation. Creativity is a cornerstone of business. It allows us to come out with new products and services that really are of service." - Martin Rutte
What does it mean for you to be a person who practices spirituality? For your family to do so? Your institution? Your community?
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