Compassion, a spiritual hunger

Spirituality to me means opening my heart and cultivating my capacity to experience awe, reverence, and gratitude. It is an ability to see the sacred in the ordinary during my day and night, to feel the poignancy of my life, to the know the passion and understand the purpose of my existence by which I give myself over to that which is greater than myself.

The Breadth of Life

Many people have left the church and synagogue because organized religion is not meeting their spiritual needs. It does not mean that people do not believe in God, but they are not feeling connected to God sitting in the traditional pew. Others have become indeed agnostic or are atheists.

The Latin root of the word, spirituality means “breath.”

The trend towards seeking this breath of life in alternative forms of spirituality has figured prominently on the landscape of America for the last several decades and continues to do so. I am not making any judgements on these alternative forms of spirituality. However, when I first noticed my spiritual hunger it was in the summer of 2009. I began to identify my spiritual hunger in conjunction with mental therapy and a new inspiration to learn more about my religious faith.

Compassion, a spiritual hunger

I have attended church throughout my life except for brief periods of straying in my twenties. It was only after losing my career due to the collapse of the U.S. economy in the summer of 2009 that my breath of life was slowing leaving me. I was experiencing such a spiritual hunger even while sitting in my organized, traditional church pew. How could this be?

The central experience at the heart of spirituality is of a comforting stillness that feels reliable and secure.

I was anything but still. Frantic would be a better description of my entire life. I needed to come to terms with who I was, where I was from, and why I felt the way I did. It was that realization that began a “writing my way through it”  in my journal, a habit I maintained since childhood. Writing was and continues to be my survival mechanism and my ability to find harmony in mind, body, and spirit. Yet, writing though it was not enough in the ensuing years after 2009.

My spiritual hunger

I began my own path to silence in the words of Mother Teresa’s “A Simple Path” –
The fruit of silence is prayer
The fruit of prayer is faith
The fruit of faith is love
The fruit of love is service
The fruit of service is peace

Although my spirituality is from a Christian perspective, similar ideas are found elsewhere, not only in other religions but other transcendental influences in our lives. I do not judge these other influences because I believe God brings each of us to the point of our own reckoning. The proximity between worldly ego and the soul’s true self increases through exploration, and the advancing of an individual’s maturity and wisdom.

When I truly understood my past and present, I was able to fully appreciate the aim of spiritually and why I was hungering for it. Grace and compassion were lacking in my spiritual diet. Sitting in that church pew for decades and I did not believe in God’s grace and compassion until I was able to feed myself with the grace and compassion for myself. My therapist taught me that lesson not a pastor or a minister. God brought me full circle back to him.

Satisfying a spiritual hunger

I repeat again:

Spirituality to me means opening my heart and cultivating my capacity to experience awe, reverence, and gratitude. It is an ability to see the sacred in the ordinary during my day and night, to feel the poignancy of my life, to the know the passion and understand the purpose of my existence by which I give myself over to that which is greater than myself.

For me, that higher power is God whether I am sitting in an organized church’s pew or sitting on the beach looking out over an eternal expanse of water.

Spirituality does not arrive fully formed without effort. Care of the soul needs to be fed every day for there to be harmony with it in mind and body. Deprived and that spiritual hunger is what we see every day in a life and world without compassion and grace.

Quiet Solitude

How do I do it? How do I find that silence to feed my soul?

Every morning and sometimes throughout the day and evening, I write in my journal. The pages filled with every emotion, pages of questions, requests for redemption and healing, you name it. It is all in there. Every. Single. Day. I ask for His presence – that I may see Him at work in my life, that I hear His words in others, and that I feel the compassion. And when COVID is hopefully in our rearview mirror, I will be in a church pew with a new appreciation for God’s compassion and grace. But I don’t need to be in a pew to know and feel God’s presence.

Wherever I go. Wherever I am. God is there. I am never disappointed. I am fully fed.

My spirituality may not look like yours, but I promise you, that you will not have harmony in life in mind and body without the spirit. The aim of spirituality is compassion. Believe that compassion is available to you, give it to yourself, and then pass it on. God knows, the world desperately needs it right now.

Peace,

Blogging Owl Photo

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