Spirituality is defined as “That which is of the Spirit”, and that “Spirit” within us is what makes us who we are. Our spirit peeks out into the world and interacts by how we think, act and feel.
This relationship represents our life experience as an individual. We perceive the world through our senses, which influence the thoughts and emotions of our mind, and our mind is made up of those intangible things that make us who we are – our fears, passions, values and desires. The most important point about spirituality is that it is internal, meaning that it is defined by who we are.
Many confuse religion with spirituality because religious beliefs often focus on spiritual values, but religion in and of itself is not spiritual because it is external, meaning the experience is outside of ourselves. Religions can be beneficial in providing community support with similar values and beliefs and can even become an extended family, offering safety and security. Some may be attracted to religion because it offers teachings about how to be more spiritual when it involves self-reflection and greater awareness about how we are interacting in the world.
Others may be attracted to religion, because it imposes dominance and control through regimented doctrines and this could provide a refuge from the uncertainty of life. Again, the most important point to realize is that religion is external and defined by others, while spirituality is internal and self-defined.
Mysticism and Quantum Theory
Mysticism is another type of spiritual study that can offer meaning for experiences that are neither apparent to the senses or obvious to the intelligence. The mystics of ancient times explain how our reality can be explained through subjective or personal events and now quantum theory validates what the mystics have been saying for centuries about the importance of subjective experience. Science has proven that our thoughts have a direct effect on what is happening at the atomic level, which is the foundation of the material world. Our mental health is closely tied to our ability to control our circumstances and new discoveries in science validate our ability to do this, just by changing our thoughts.
Spirituality and Health
This understanding of self as an intangible being with awareness of one’s existence as a part of a larger whole has great benefits according to the latest studies about mental health. This is proven out in a study at Dartmouth in 2012, which found that cardiac surgery patients who had spiritual beliefs survived longer following surgery than others. The belief in yourself as a spiritual being brings hope in times of difficulty. A spiritual focus can also bring acceptance of the present moment, allowing a more objective view for those who have a low opinion of themselves. Rather than trying to “fix” themselves, which can create more stress and more problems, they are better able to accept themselves; and letting go of expectations can facilitate the healing process. Spirituality also brings an appreciation of imperfection, and how our imperfections are what make us “perfectly” who we are as a unique individual.
Through prayer, meditation or any spiritual practice (activities focused inward, rather than outward) we can feel more love for ourselves and to those around us. This act of expressing love, opens us up to receiving more love, which has been proven to be the most healing energy on the planet!
Focusing on a Higher Purpose
If we believe in a higher purpose then it is easier to find meaning to life, even when life gets tough. Research shows that spirituality and by association, a sense of purpose, prevents people from slipping into addiction and may even help protect people from developing poor mental health in the first place or help them recover more quickly and easily.
As we are continually overloaded with the sheer volume of information we need to process today, it becomes increasingly important to be discriminating with what we allow into our minds. Mental health is based on the thoughts we are having, and not therapeutic or pharmaceutical treatments. Spirituality is about how we think of ourselves and our place in this world. If we change our thoughts, we will change the choices we are making. If we change our choices, we will change our actions and behaviors. If we change our actions and behaviors we will have different experiences, which will give us a completely different feeling about our life.
Right Brain Success® Copyright 2020 by John Longhill – All Rights Reserved