Using or Finding your Spirituality
Ken Pargament, a leading researcher in the psychology of religion and spirituality suggests that developing spirituality is a dynamic process that has three stages:
- Discovery – finding a form of spirituality that we feel drawn to;
- Active practice – for example attending religious services or regularly meditating;
- Struggle – when life events or stages force us to question our beliefs.
What does spirituality mean for you and what role does it, or could it, play in your life?
Consider each question carefully. It may take you days, weeks or months to find some answers.
Where does spirituality come from for you?
- Where do you experience a sense of spirituality in your life?
- What or whom do you call on or turn to in challenging situations?
- Which people in your life help you think about what spirituality means to you or bring out your best spiritual qualities?
- What do you hold sacred in your life?
- When do you feel the presence of a higher being in your life most strongly?
- When do you feel the higher being is not there?
What has had an impact on your sense of spirituality?
- How has your family and religious context moulded your attitudes towards spirituality and religion?
- How have other key people or events in your life influenced your sense of the spiritual?
- When it comes down to it what do you believe life is for and why do you believe we are here?
What is your spiritual path?
- How have you tried to develop yourself spiritually over the years?
- What challenges have you found along the way?
- What kinds of changes have you experienced, if any?
- What might your next steps be to bring more spirituality into your life?
Based on questions posed by Ken Pargament.
Here are some suggestions to practice your spirituality/ religion:
- Pray or meditate
- Give and /or donate to others
- Live healthier- if all aspects of your wellbeing are not balanced your spiritual health will also suffer.
- Be good to yourself and focus on your inner self- through prayer, mediation and/ or journaling. Take time for yourself doing things that you enjoy.
- Practice gratitude. There are so many things to be grateful for in life. Take time to reflect on them and acknowledge how fortunate we all are for family, friends, and endless opportunities.
- Practice mindfulness. Become aware of your environment. Enjoy the feel of rain falling on your skin and the breeze on your face.
- Express yourself. Learn to dance, sing, play a musical instrument, or take art lessons. Doing so puts you in touch with your creative, right brain side.
- Cultivate empathy and compassion- by listening deeply, seeing other people’s point of view and looking for good in others and so on.
- Make a list of (and live by) your beliefs and values-What matters most to me? What drives my actions? What do I believe is right?
- Go to church or find a spiritual community and friends for a greater sense of belonging and support.
- Practice forgiveness
- Seek transcendence through nature, art, or music- spend time outside; lose yourself in music; visit a museum or art gallery
- Make contemplative practice a part of your everyday life- prayer, mediation, yoga, journaling, going to church, prayer group, eat mindfully, guided imagery
- Creating the change you want to see in yourself or your world.
- Taking time and space to think about what’s important to you.
- Gardening, going for a bushwalk, sitting in a park or going to the beach might help you connect with the environment and the world around you.
- Reading books and increasing your knowledge.