Is Spiritual Practice the Same Thing As
Not necessarily. A
religion is a particular belief system, such as Islam, Christianity,
Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Sihkism, or etc.
Each religion passes down
it's own very particular teachings from one generation to the next.
So it is very likely that your religion is the same one your parents
follow, and their parents before them. All religions also teach
their followers one or more forms of spiritual practice.
But a person need not follow
any particular religion in order to have a spiritual practice.
Tools such as meditation, asking for inner guidance, and positive
visualization maybe be used by people of virtually any faith
background -- and are even used by people with no religious
affiliation at all.
In fact, some who practice
meditation and other spirirual practices prefer to focus on the
experience itself and let go of attachment to explaining how it all
So Then What Is "Spirituality"
and Spiritual Practice?
A spiritual life means different things to
different people. But basically, it is a way of living and thinking
that strengthens and gives attention to your spirit. And usually, to
the spirit within others as well.
We call this attention to and care for the
The daily routine of things you do to care for
your spirit is your "spiritual practice".
Your spiritual practice might includes such things as: taking a walk in
nature and trying to be aware of all the wonderful life around you,
keeping a journal and writing down something you are thankful for each
day, praying and meditating before bedtime.
What Is the Spirit?
Different people define or think of the
"spirit" in different ways.
Some people speak of "the
human spirit", and by this they
usually mean the passionate spark inside of all people that often
expresses itself as in such qualities as enthusiasm, courage,
compassion, determination, curiosity, inventiveness, and etc.
People who use the word this way may or may not
believe in a soul.
the part of us that lives on after the physical body has completed
its life cycle or "died".
Most people who speak of the spirit are
speaking of the soul or eternal self.
Different Strokes For Different Folks
People practice their spirituality -- or care
and attention to the spirit -- in many ways.
Some of these ways come from the religion of
their family and community (traditional beliefs).
Some of these ways are things they learned in
books, from friends they met, or that just came to them in their
thoughts (inspired beliefs) while praying or meditating.
Just Do It -- And Do It Honestly
The important thing about spirituality is not how
well you do it, but that you do it -- and that you do it in a way that
feels truthful and real to you.
The spirit, just like the body needs to be
noticed and cared for. What would happen to your body if you
pretended it didn't exist and didn't do anything to take care of it
(eat good food, drink water, get sunshine and movement, etc.)? It
sure wouldn't feel too healthy, would it? And if your body felt
miserable, then you would feel miserable. Even if you tried to ignore
your body -- still, some of that feeling of misery would creep into
your mind, into your awareness.
It's the same with the spirit.
This is an answer that you must fill in.
You may want to talk to the people in your family about the religion
they grew up with. If your parents or caregivers don't practice
spirituality, perhaps someone else in your family does -- an aunt,
uncle, or grandparent.
Another alternative is talk to a close neighbor
or friend. You don't have to take on their ideas or traditions. But
you might benefit from being around others who notice and value the spirit.
Just be sure you don't try to take on anything you're not comfortable
with. And no it is okay to walk away from a conversation that is
making you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
Prayer and Meditation
Two important aspects of spirituality are
prayer and meditation. Some people have said that prayer
is talking while meditation
is listening. Both are important.
Prayer is our chance to share our heart with our higher power,
expressing our concerns and hopes. Meditation is our chance
to quiet the mind, to return to a state of peace and centeredness.
more to come....
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