“We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.”
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Spirituality is fundamental to being human. How we express ourselves spiritually may differ from person to person but being spiritual is something we all are (Think food. We are all cooking with the same stuff, but it tastes different from house to house). Much like a large tree, our souls are our root systems sunk deeply into our awareness of Who we are and how we are living our lives.
It is important to note that WHO YOU ARE, is not what you do as a profession. If we over-identify our sense of self with our professions, our spirits will suffer when we lose a job (or can’t find one).
WHO I AM is not how I feel. If I over-identify my sense of self with emotion, my spirit will suffer when my heart is broken.
WHO WE ARE is not what we think about things. If we over-identify with our ideas, our spirits suffer when our ideas or beliefs don’t hold up to reality or experience, or change too often and we have no grounding.
WHO YOU ARE is not about your body. If you over-identify with your body, your spirit suffers when your body changes (for better and for worse).
In fact, who we are as people is not about our circumstances at all. Circumstances change. However, when I am grounded in my spirit (the me before my feelings, my thoughts, and my aging body happened) I stand on untouchable ground that can hold me steady. The harsh winds of emotion, thinking, aging, accident, or COVID 19 may blow, but our rooting in spirit holds firmly in hope and keeps us from falling into despair.
Here is an analogy. A reptile looks to the outside environment to sustain it’s warmth and well-being. If the environment becomes unfavorable for survival, the reptile must either go somewhere else or die. A mammal creates its warmth and well-being from inside of itself. The goal of the spiritual life is living less as a cold-blooded creature, and more like a warm-blooded one. We do this by being spiritually rooted.
We are living in a world with a lot going on. Challenges abound. There are many points of pressure inside of ourselves and in our communities which feel dangerously close to breaking. It is crucial for all of us to take care of our spirit—to remember that spiritual work is essential work, for it is our spiritual grounded-ness that makes us resilient and sustains us through the dark nights of life.
What practices recharge you? What practices cultivate a sense of stillness, peace, openness, strength, love? Maybe it is sitting up in your tree-stand, your garden, your bath tub. Maybe it is quiet morning hours with your book. Maybe you meditate or pray. Whatever it is, keep the discipline of doing it.
What do you believe about yourself, your world, and your place in it? Do these belief’s foster hope, resilience, peace, generosity, love? I am not advocating escapism. The question is NOT “What helps you avoid?” I am talking about a firm, established, sober stance of accepting the reality of our lives (the pleasant and the hard realities), and responding from a place of grounded-ness and inner well-being.
Remain committed to the cultivation of your spirit. Like a home, your spirit is your foundation. Do the up-keep. The storms of life will come, but a deeply rooted spiritual self will hold strong. Your spiritual well-being is a gift to yourself, and an essential offering to the beauty and health of the world.
Contact Unity Hospice at 800-990-9249 to speak with a chaplain or visit our website here to learn more about how we can support you.
This blog post was shared by Nathan Meierbachtol, a Chaplain at Unity Hospice.
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