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My Religion

There’s so much discontentment as I look around me and it got me thinking about why and how that could change.  I first wondered what made people happy, what brought life to their life.  I polled over 200 people and came up with several things that people think are necessary for having a good life.  I decided to do some research on how to implement those into daily life.  I’ll be doing a series of posts about my findings.  Each post will explore one of the subjects.  I’ll write them in order of popularity of answers.  Remember, to improve one’s life, one needs to take action in all areas.

faith-hope-loveThe most popular response was religion. It got 65 votes out of 218.  Regardless of religion, people find hope and peace in a higher power.  John Koshuta, explained spiritual health like this, “one specific definition does not completely summarize spiritual health. While organized religion and prayer – two concepts familiar to most in Western societies – can certainly be part of spiritual health, they are not all that should be considered. Spiritual health can also consist of more broad concepts, such as hope, purpose, and peace.  Some common criteria that fall within the category of spiritual health include belief in a supreme being, unity with a greater force, a guiding sense of meaning and value, an organized religion, balance, introspection, and meaning.”

I don’t mind not having control in situations, quite the opposite actually.  There’s a peace that comes with not needing to worry about decisions.  Because of that, it’s calming for me to think that no matter how out of control my life might seem, I don’t need to worry.  There’s a God that loves me and has my best interests at heart.  Even when the world is crashing down around me, He has it in control and I can lean on him.  As humans, we aren’t going to be perfect, we won’t always have everything together, we can’t control what other people do, but our fate rests in the hands of a loving Father.  Even if Christianity isn’t the religion followed, most religions have similar deities.  Resting in that, giving up constant control can bring a peace never felt before.

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This is my happy place.  I could sit here for the rest of eternity and be perfectly content.

Having that connection to a higher power seems to be essential for happiness in most people.  From my own experiences, the people I’ve known that don’t follow any religion tend to be the most cynical and pessimistic of all the people I know.  My friend, we’ll call her Joan, doesn’t have a relationship with God or any spiritual health.  She never has anything nice to say, she’s always focusing on the bad things in her life, and she makes poor decisions that have cost her a great deal.  It is exhausting being around this person.  It almost feels like my life is being leeched from me.  I’m not saying that’s always true, there are exceptions, but I find it to be true more often than not.  On the flip side, my friend, who we will call Amy, has plenty to complain about, but never does.  She turns each challenge into a blessing and continues to praise her God every chance she finds.  It’s encouraging to be around her.  Having a healthy spiritual life can transform a person’s outlook on life.

There are several benefits from having a healthy spiritual life according to a comprehensive behavioral health facility, Casa Palmera. There are too many to list here and I could go on forever, but feeling content with your life’s situation, taking time to reflect and resolve life’s issues, maintaining balance and control of life, and feeling purpose and meaning in life are just a few of the most common benefits.

It may seem difficult to get spiritual health under control, especially if spirituality and religion have never played a huge role in someone’s life.  But, there are several ways to help improve it.  I personally love yoga and I frequently do it alone in my house.  I dim the lights, diffuse a calming essential oil, quietly play some classical music or other peaceful sounds, and do my practice in my own way, in my own time.  It’s quality time with myself and my God.  I can talk and meditate without any distractions and I’m making my body and my faith stronger at the same time.  I can discuss other options personally.

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I’ve had traumatic events happen in my life and although the scars may never completely fade, the ability to find a deeper meaning in the mess helps strength that spiritual core.  I was raped as a teen and it’s something that will forever shape my thoughts and actions.  God didn’t make that happen, a bad person made a bad decision because of his own free will.  Instead of making that something that will define my life forever, God used that and my story to help others find hope and peace.  Even in the darkest moments of life, there is always, always something good that can come from it.

Read.  Just read.  Read everything.  Read the Bible, read the Quran or the Shreemad Bhagavad Gita, or the Tripitakas.  Read fiction and nonfiction, read painful stories and happy stories. I don’t care, just read. Whether it was something I truly believed or if it was informational or if it was just for fun, each book I’ve read has taught me about myself, the world, and how I see that world.

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“For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”-Paul, 2 Cor. 4:17 The Bema in Corinth. One of the most spiritual experiences I’ve ever had.

Another thing that helps build my relationship with God is traveling.  Each place I go to amazes me.  I am inspired to live and love more than ever.  Even if money is an issue, there is always a way to travel.  It doesn’t have to be across the world or a different state.  It can be just down the road.  I grew up in Michigan, the Great Lake State.  I was never farther than a half hour drive to a beach and I spent most of my summers at the lake.  Frequently, I would wake up early to watch the sunrise and read my Bible.  It didn’t matter that I’d been there a hundred times before, each new sunrise was different and brought with it new thoughts and feelings.  Go somewhere beautiful just because it’s beautiful.

Spiritual health is one of the most important aspects in a person’s life.  A sense of safety and purpose helps guide people in their lives.  Knowing the world didn’t happen by accident and that someone made you for a reason makes life a lot more bearable to live.

~JR

My Religion-Skillet

Works Cited

Geary, Ali, and Julie Gravitt. “7 Ways to Improve Your Spiritual Wellness.” News – Illinois State, 22 Nov. 2016, news.illinoisstate.edu/2014/02/7-ways-improve-spiritual-wellness/.

Koshuta, John. “What Is Spiritual Health? – Definition & Examples.” Study.com, Study.com, study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-spiritual-health-definition-examples.html.

Staff, Written by Casa Palmera. “Spiritual Well-Being.” Alcohol Treatment & Drug Rehab Center San Diego, CA, 3 Feb. 2015, casapalmera.com/blog/spiritual-well-being/.

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