A mother’s protective warmth is what an infant seeks all the time because she is the tangible manifestation of all his needs for security, warmth, food, and thus, survival. When the child realizes that the mother cannot be present next to him at all times, he transfers this yearning by transferring it to the cuddliness of his teddy bear. Soon the child realizes that the toys are inanimate and helpless themselves. So he transfers this aura of protectiveness to fairies and elves and finally to God.
As this child grows, he realizes that the world is not adhering to his moral science lessons. Kindness, Justice, Ethics and Morality are not the rules of life. Rarely are they anything more than literary terms. He sees the innocent and meek suffering while the cruel and immoral crooks continue to thrive. This is when his belief in God is shaken. He realizes that at the end of the day what counts most is your ability to survive.
As this individual grows and gathers more experience, he realizes that try as much as he might, he cannot control everything. This is the juncture where spirituality or belief in the supreme spirit returns.
Adolescents and young adults are often confused and most impressionable to the impression of God. Some see or experience terrible loss (such as the loss of a loved one) and ask, “How can I believe in a God that allows this to happen?” Some become atheists, many remain agnostics. Some are misled towards fanaticism and superstitions too. All this depends on their socialization and socio-cultural heritage. However, science tells us, that the happiest ones are the spiritual believers for they live the most stress free and content lives. Perhaps it is this discovery that really popularized the proverb, “If there were no God, it would have been necessary to invent one.”
Spirituality is the most powerful intangible tool to improve the quality of life. Spirituality actually means one’s sense of meaning or purpose in life or one’s sense of connectedness to the sacred divine. For many this takes the form of religious observance, prayer and meditation inclined towards God or the Soul of the Universe. For others it can be found in nature, music, art or secular community. Spirituality is a very personal experience.The question is how does spirituality help us?Spirituality is very beneficial as it can help you: -
1. Focus on personal goals- Cultivating spirituality helps you uncover what is most meaningful in your life. This clarification helps eliminate stress.
2. Connect to the world- The more strongly you believe that you have a purpose in the world, the less solitary you feel, even when you are alone. This gives inner-strength and peace during difficult times.
3. Simplify life- It is well said that, “The more thought there is behind how you live your life, the simpler it becomes.” When your principles are clear, the cobwebs in your mind disappear automatically.
4. Lead a healthier lifestyle- People who consider themselves spiritual are able to heal from illnesses and addictions much faster. They are amazingly unmoved under stressful conditions and deal gracefully with the highs and pitfalls of life. Research has given glaring evidence that teenagers with Inflammatory Bowl Disease (IBD) are greatly benefitted by spirituality. IBD is a chronic condition characterized by continuous inflammation in the intestines. Adolescents with IBD have a high risk of psycho-social problems due to the stigma and helplessness. Spirituality has helped many IBD patients grow into normal progressive adults. The reason for this is the constant sense of hope rather than hopelessness that prevails upon spiritual people.
The next question is how does one cultivate Spirituality?
Spirituality begins with your relationship with yourself, nurtured by your relationship with others and culminates in your sense of purpose in life.
Here are a few ways to look inwards: -
1. Try prayer, meditation and relaxation to access your inner wisdom and focus your thoughts.
2. Keep a journal to help you express your feelings and record your progress.
3. Seek out a trusted advisor or friend, preferably someone with more experience in life than you, to help you discover what is important in your life.
4. Read inspirational stories or essays to help you evaluate life’s philosophies better.
5. Talk to others whose spiritual lives you admire. Ask them questions about their spiritual odyssey.
6. Be open-If you are exploring organized religion, stay away from all superstitions and fanaticism. Be open to exploring a variety of different faiths and also secular spiritualism.
Nurturing good relations with others is an important part of spiritual connection: -
- Develop effective communication skills.
- Make family relations a priority
- Share your views with your near ones and like-minded people.
- Avoid negative talk and negative people.
- Volunteer for a good cause and help make a positive difference to society.
- See the good in people and yourself.
If you see the Sun’s whole light filling the world, refrain from blaming and despising the superstitious man who in his own idol sees one ray of the same light. Do not despise the non-believer who is blind and cannot see the Sun at all. Remember that we are all evolving spirits caught in the dynamic process of growing. In this process of progress, success will go to the people who can stay true to their own spirit and connect with the soul of the Universe.