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The Nature of Spirituality

Updated: Nov 30, 2019

“The true nature of spirituality and meaning is found in the nitty-gritty of life –

not rarefied or exalted, but at our disposal in responding to life’s everyday,

ordinary challenges”




Our spiritual beliefs may be filled with doubt, confusion, flux, change. This is

not a weakening spirituality. For as long as we consider, think, review and

assimilate and search for the deeper meaning of our world, we are

strengthening our spiritual self. It is never too late to grow.


For too many people their spiritual or religious life is kept simply for the rituals

of life’s big events: birth, marriage and death – the hatching, matching and

despatching of life. But spirituality can offer us ways to cope with our

everyday frustrations. It turns the nitty-gritty into a training ground for a

better version of ourselves. When what we have accumulated and achieved

no longer fulfils us nor inspires us, then we need to consider our Spiritual

Evolution – the development of ourselves outwards in service to others and


the world. It is here that we will find the happiness we have been searching

for.


We all consider ourselves to be “above average” in being kind and loving. We

can’t all be right.


Love is not just an emotion. It is the cornerstone of human evolution.


Like the tree that falls in the forest when no one hears it, love travels like

sound waves, a fundamental part of the fabric of the universe. Like sound

arriving in the human ear creates the sensation of sound, love’s waves are

sensed as the human emotion of love. But love exists without us.


For too long we have considered spirituality to be a private matter – something

we should not talk about to others. But as research has shown spirituality to

be a fundamental pillar of good health, it must be considered in every aspect

of public life: education, healthcare, architecture and town planning,

government and the workplace. Spirituality then is deeply personal, but it is

not a private matter.


Parenting ~ “the opportunity to nurture a seed before we know what it will

grow to be” (Ira Progoff). But sometimes childbirth can seem like its first and

final spiritual moment. How can we reinstate parenthood as the foundation

and the future of society?


Spirituality cannot be forced upon an individual or a society. But when we

come to see that society is built on the littlest of things we do every day, then

we begin to understand that spirituality can be nurtured or destroyed.


The culture that surrounds the maturing child, the patient, the employee and

all members of our society, filters and adjusts the growth of each of us, stifling

or nurturing our fulfilment and supporting or destroying our potential for each

of us to find answers to the big questions about our existence. Our culture can

either give permission to a young man who is struggling with depression to

verbalise his questions about the purpose of his life, or to choose instead to

medicate those questions away.


Our culture’s media, literature, arts, advertising, entertainment industry,

educational and healthcare system can either give him the vocabulary to ask

these big existential questions, to value rather than make an illness of his

search for purpose and meaning, or it can simply shut him down. None of us

would intentionally silence him, but what a society doesn’t practise gets

forgotten.


Spirituality cannot be forced upon an individual or a society. By its very nature

it is personal. But when we come to see that society is built on the littlest of

things we do every day, than then we begin to understand that spirituality can

be nurtured or destroyed.


The culture that surrounds the maturing child, the patient, the employee and

all members of our society, filters and adjusts the growth of each of us, stifling

or nurturing our fulfilment and supporting or destroying our potential to find


answers to the big questions about our existence. Our culture can either give

permission to a young man who is struggling with depression to verbalise his

questions about the purpose of his life, or to choose instead to medicate those

questions away.


Our culture’s media, literature, arts, advertising, entertainment industry,

educational and healthcare system can either give him the vocabulary to ask

these big existential questions, to value rather than make an illness of his

search for purpose and meaning, or it can simply shut him down. None of us

would intentionally silence him, but what a society doesn’t practise, is

forgotten.


There is no point in complimenting ourselves for being nice to strangers and

people we like. Real spiritual growth happens when we push ourselves to

show love when it is difficult or seems undeserved. That is when we Evolve –

playing our part in human evolution. Just as a muscle strengthens when its

fibres are slightly torn and then grows back stronger when it is challenged by

resistance, we too grow when we do the heavy-lifting in everyday life. Every

hour provides us with opportunity to be better, kinder, more patient. This is the

heavy-lifting of spiritual growth.


Don’t wait for someone else to change the world. You are my someone else.


“As we, together, seek new solutions and responses to the challenges facing

humanity, we are invited to explore the necessary connections between

economy, ecology and ethics” ~ President Michael D. Higgins, president of

Ireland in The Seven Day Soul.


Transformational leaders transform others. They are moral heros. Self-

transcendence is the next step in our evolution – a life lived in service of others.


Challenge yourself to see if, each day, you can be a little better than you were

the day before. Life is our training ground.


“….What I do is me: for that I came…” ~ Gerard Manley Hopkins


Do you want to find more meaning in your life?


For decades, research in psychology has provided us with ways to motivate

ourselves and our teams, to create leaders and to manage stress. But until

recently we have been spiritually shy, unwilling or scared to speak about

human spiritual (existential) needs. But the explosion in research in this area

tells us that now is the time to speak about purpose, meaning and our

existential needs. Albert Einstein once commented that to be religious was to

have found an answer to the question of the meaning of life. But these

questions affect all of us. They are wrapped around the stress and

unhappiness so many people live with every day. Families, society, business,

and government must create a space for these conversations.


Spirituality addresses the fundamental questions about our existence: why we

are here, the purpose and meaning of our lives. It is time we educate

ourselves about our Existential Health.


Alongside individual rights, we must all recognize our our individual

responsibilities.


With both, we balance.


Holistic HR is the transformative power of servant leadership and the striving

to create the Meaning- Centred Workplace. It is the next frontier of Workplace

Wellbeing.

Susannah Healy

Feel Good, Do Good, Engage Fully.

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