There are times in our lives when, for one reason or another, the spiritual aspect of our experience moves to the side-line. For some of us, learning how to nurture spiritual development was never a part of our lives at all, and this shift may go unnoticed. For others, the shift may be a wide and gaping rift in our lives. Reconnecting with your spiritual self begins with learning how to nurture spiritual development.
Spirituality means many things to many people. Some people might associate it with a magical feeling, others a state of inner calm, and others a sense of being connected – to a greater being, a greater meaning, or to themselves. Personally, I define it as the knowledge that there is a consciousness to all things.
The sidelining of our spiritual experience might occur for some of us because we have outgrown our usual paradigm of understanding spirituality – this sometimes manifests as a feeling that our prescribed religion ceases to make sense to us.
For others, Maslow’s hierarchy rules out – the day-to-day of life becomes so overwhelming that there is little time to dedicate to learning how to nurture spiritual development.
There are also those of us for whom there never existed a connection to the spiritual. We were raised in an environment that did not honor the spiritual and so we did not learn how to connect with our internal sense of spirituality.
Whatever the reason, when a distance grows between our self and our spirituality we become cut off from a powerful resource. Relearning how to nurture spiritual development takes openness and intentionality.
First, remember that spirituality is a process more than a goal. Linking your spiritual experience to an event (like meditation, yoga, or sermon) is good and well, but let’s push ourselves in our development so that we can reconnect with our spirituality in an everyday kind of way.
Let go of what doesn’t work so you can let in what does work
If your religion no longer aligns with your beliefs, if you’re turned off by some of the atrocities committed in the name of religion, or if you cannot put science on hold to believe a literal interpretation of the creation myth, put down these thoughts.
Why? Because, despite the idea that faith requires you to accept the beliefs of your religion whole-cloth, most spiritual teachers think for themselves. Most atrocities made in the name of religion have less to do with faith and more to do with small-minded human behavior. Spirituality does not create harm to others. Hateful, fearful, and judgmental people do.
I encourage you to look for what makes sense to you, what creates meaning for you, and what helps you be a better person. Make these things part of your spiritual life regardless of what they look like.
You’ve got something to learn from the disconnect
Maybe you once felt very spiritually connected, but you do not feel that way now. When this happens, we can feel that we’ve lost something and we jump to all sorts of conclusions about what this means about us.
These moments of loss and disconnect can be as meaningful as our moments of spiritual connection. These difficult times have their own sweet reward and often teach us how to open more deeply to our spiritual truths.
When we learn to surrender to our heart, reach toward higher ideals, and let go of our shallow needs, our experience becomes more profound and meaningful. We learn that what we need to be deeply fulfilled is here and now in the present moment.
Instead of looking for change, take a look at what you are resisting and see if you can embrace it.
Hit the pause button
A moment of pause is infinitely important and almost always helpful.
Simply put, if we stop and let what is happening around us sink into our consciousness, we reconnect to the truth of our experience. The only thing we need to do is to stop long enough to let this happen.
We can stop in different ways. We can go on a retreat or spend a weekend at home being quiet. We can stop the raging of our anger and create space for love in our heart. We can stop the chatter of our mind and allow for more presence. Ideally, we can do all of these.
If you don’t have time to pause your life, do what you can. Even brief pauses like stopping to take a few deep breaths can bring in a deeper connection to yourself and what is around you. Over time the effects will become noticeable.
Remember, Spirituality is a process and it doesn’t come with dogma. So, open up, explore and find your own pathways to your spiritual connection. You’re the only one who knows how to nurture spiritual development in yourself.