Thursday, December 08, 2005


spiritual practice

i come from a very religious upbringing. my young life was deeply shaped by the religious community i was enmeshed in. since leaving this community at age 13, i have slowly been developing my own way of approaching spirituality.

recently, i've begun to learn more about the religion i was raised in, its historical underpinnings and the motivations it carried that i may not have fully grasped as a child. i've also set out to learn more about others who have shared my journey of being deeply involved in religion and then transitioning to a secular life.

i just finished listening to the audio version of a book called the spiral staircase by a woman named karen armstrong. armstrong was a catholic nun from the age of 17 to 24. the book is a story of the rebuilding of her life since leaving the convent.

one of the ideas in the book which has stuck with me is about the value of spiritual practice. armstrong describes spiritual practice as choosing to do things which further good in ourselves and others and remind us of the spiritual dimension of our lives. these things do not have to be what we might think of as "spiritual acts"...they might involve shoveling your neighbors sidewalk each time it snows, or calling your grandmother on the phone every sunday, or perhaps listening to music that you love every morning when you wake up.

as armstrong points out, in our modern world we often view religion and spirituality through the lens of reason and fact. we either want proof that something larger than our self exists or we see religion as requiring us to believe in this larger possibility on faith. for centuries however, spiritual practice has allowed people to connect with the divine in themselves and the universe - faith and reason aside.

these concepts simplify things for me in a way that i find tremendously helpful. demystifying spirituality and linking it to the regular practice of things i do, such as making a gratitude list each night before i go to bed, or doing yoga each morning before work helps me to feel like spirituality is accessible in a whole new way.

what role does spirituality play in your life?

what are your spiritual practices? what spiritual practices would you like to create?

as always, post your thoughts here.

dream big,

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