3-year olds understand that there’s more to life than meets the eye. If you’ve ever spent what may have felt like days answering why the sky is blue, why dogs walk on all fours and humans don’t, and why pants are worn on your legs and not your head, you know what I mean.
What does this have to do with spirituality and exploring consciousness?
Just like young children, we are all trying to make sense of the world we live in. Many of us are also trying to find meaning and purpose, and to satisfy an inexplicable craving for something deeper and more fulfilling than food.
There’s one thing that can help all of this become clear—spirituality.
It’s a primary food, an essential part of a balanced life, and a way to explore the layers and depths of existence.
Simply put, spirituality is about making conscious connections—to yourself, to others to the world around you.
These connections can come about through things like…
Food – A delicious, beautiful and nourishing meal can be more than something that just fills the belly. It can bring you back into the loop of giving and receiving, the cycle of life and death (something dies to nourish another), and become an act of lovingly feeding your body so that you can show up for your precious life.
People – Deep soul connections, finishing each other’s sentences, calling each other at the same time/same day, sharing deep emotions or experiences, powerful loving making, and spending intentional time with yourself are all great examples of spiritual/conscious connections that occur between two people.
Self-Expression – Have you ever moved in certain ways, let your creative juices flow, or gotten in “the zone” and felt as if you were channeling a different kind of energy, something beyond little ol’ you? That’s spiritual connection, and can take the form of making art, dancing, playing music, or culinary wizardry in the kitchen.
Nature – Maybe your spiritual practice is fueled by living with the seasons—harmonizing with the flow of nature, rising when it’s light, eating natural foods, adjusting activity levels according to the season, and generally being in synch with nature.
When life gets crazy and I want to reconnect or ground myself, I climb a tree, go for a walk in nature, or sit and take in the sounds of the world around me. This is part of my spiritual practice—reconnecting to the wildness, to Mother Earth, to the strength and fragility of life.
Ceremony – Whether it’s showing up on your yoga mat every day, attending religious services, participating in full moon ceremonies, taking weekly hikes in nature, or reading spiritual texts, ceremony is a powerful way to cultivate a deeper spiritual connection.
The Powers of Spirituality
With so many things to spend your time and energy on, why choose spirituality? How can it enrich your life, deepen your desires, and leave you more fulfilled than you ever thought possible?
Spirituality Creates Connection
What does it really mean to be spiritually connected?
I like to think of it in terms of a lamp (you) and wall socket (spirituality).
There is this huge source of energy available to you at all times. When you “plug” into it, it lights up your life and makes you feel connected to something bigger than yourself. If you’re not plugged in and connected, you often feel lost, “in the dark” and confused.
For you, this “source” of energy and connection may be your family, community or country. Or it may be nature, the Universe, or the Cosmos. It may be God, Buddha, Allah, Shiva, Goddess, Spirit, or Source.
What you call it isn’t as important as your relationship with it, how it makes you feel, and the doors it opens for you.
This spiritual connection can also help you become more connected to your body, mind and soul. Embracing my desire to have a fulfilling spiritual practice has helped me explore the intricacies of the body-mind-soul connections and how they impact each other.
Through this practice and these connections, I now know what foods work best for my body, what triggers negative thought patterns, and how to create a life that makes my soul sing.
This deeper sense of connection can also be a grounding force during hard, challenging or painful times (all that practice of coming back to what’s real, important, and true for you can really pay off).
Feeling disconnected? Unsure of how to tell? Click here for some of the most common warning signs and ways you can reconnect.
Spirituality Builds Awareness
If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you’ve probably heard the teacher tell you to “bring your attention back to the breath.”
Why are yoga teachers so obsessed with breathing?
Breathing is an unconscious function, which means we don’t have to tell our bodies to do it (thank goodness!). When we bring our attention (or consciousness) to our breath, we create a connection between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind.
This practice is simple yet challenging to maintain. It reprograms the brain, and brings your consciousness (attention) to your subconscious inner workings and thought patterns.
What’s so important about the subconscious mind? It’s where you run your stories, expectations, negative thought patterns, lack-mentality, social/familial conditions and a host of other things that are churning in the background and shaping the way you experience the world.
Spirituality can deepen your awareness in many areas of your life.
Mediation, reading spiritual texts, observing nature, noticing patterns in emotion and mental triggers, and having conversation about the meaning of life are all examples of ways you can cultivate greater awareness in life.
This awareness may be related to your thoughts, emotions, or mental patterns. It may be related to the body: how certain foods affect it, how to decode the messages and cravings the body sends, where your body stores stress and tension, etc.
Only when you become aware of something and bring it into your conscious mind can you do something to change it. This is the first step in personal transformation, evolution and self-discovery. It’s the key to unlocking that burdensome baggage you’ve been lugging through life.
Spirituality Develops Intuition
This word gets thrown around a lot, and is often discounted as being “woo woo” or “New Age.” So what is intuition?
Intuition: the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning. –Oxford English Dictionary
Stop. Read that again. Isn’t that something you’d like to experience more often?
Intuition isn’t just something that you’re born with, but something you can actively cultivate.
By increasing your awareness and making connections between various aspects of your life (cravings, emotions, thought patterns, outlook on life, reactions, habits, stress factors, etc.), you can start to develop a stronger intuition and act from that place when making decisions in life.
This intuition serves as your internal guide, leading you towards the things that work for you and bring you deeper satisfaction.
Intuition doesn’t come from the brain—that logic, reasoning, and memorization. Intuition comes from something much deeper than that.
Have you ever felt that a certain decision was just the right thing for you to do without a doubt? Have you ever known something but had no idea exactly why or how you knew it? That’s intuition.
When people say they “have a gut feeling” about something, they aren’t talking about being hungry. With over 100 million neurons, studies have shown that the gut is in fact the “second brain.”
It’s so important to listen to our gut feelings about things. The gut is the center of intuition, and there’s wisdom in its messages.
Having a spiritual practice can connect you with something beyond your brain (the brain’s a place we all hang out in way too much!), and help cultivate a deeper sense of knowing.
Spirituality Clarifies Purpose
For thousands of years, humans have asked themselves “Why am I here? What is my purpose?”
These questions are easy to ask without giving them much thought, but what if the questions were phrased a bit differently?
“What gift or passion do I have that I want to share with the world?”
Maybe it’s your love for making music, your passion for empowering others, your ability to lead groups, or your talent of storytelling. What is your “genius zone”—the thing that you do really well and flows naturally?
Thanks to spirituality, I know my purpose.
I’ve always been passionate about supporting others on their journey of self-empowerment, and creating a safe, non-judgmental space for people to feel truly heard. I’ve been doing this as long as I can remember. People have naturally been drawn to me, seeking this support.
Becoming a Health Coach was one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done, for it required me to fully step into my purpose, my passion, and my gifts. My connection to spirituality has enabled me to see my career (or life work for what it really is—embracing my true purpose and what I have to offer to the world.
“How do I want to move through this life?”
Do you want to work yourself ragged every day, or create a life where adventure, leisure time, and flexibility are the name of the game? Do you want to move through life stressed out, overworked, full of fear and always worried? Or do you want to be more calm, joyous, curious, passionate, loving and open?
Spirituality—via organized religion, meditation practice, shamanic ceremonies, connecting with nature, or any other form—can give you the tools, frameworks, techniques and inspiration to create the life you want to live.
“How do I want to feel? What states of being do I want to experience?”
One of the most powerful things I get from my yoga and meditation practice is the very real understanding of just how strong the mind is, and that the stories I tell myself create my reality and shape how I experience the world.
I don’t know about you, but I want to experience freedom, joyous movement, an open heart, compassion towards others, pleasure and bliss.
If nothing could stop you from feeling exactly how you want to feel in your life, how would you choose to feel, to be, to live?
Are you seeking deeper meaning in life? A greater sense of purpose? More conscious connections? A feeling of being connected to and a part of something more vast and mysterious than the inner workings of your own mind? Spirituality could be your golden ticket.
You may decide to explore this through meditation, doing yoga, climbing trees, singing, dancing, going to church, praying, smiling at strangers, growing your own food, doing energy work, or living life according to the seasons.
The ways in which you satisfy this “longing for belonging” aren’t as important as the effects the conscious journey has on your life. Give yourself permission to peel back the layers, to venture into the depths of your being, and to find peace in the present moment.
Spirituality is a powerful way to feel connected to yourself and the world around you, and helps fulfill that longing. The way in which you express your spirituality is as unique as you are.
Some people chose to follow the traditional religion they were born into or that of their family. Others chose to venture out and explore Eastern religions, ancient spiritual traditions or New Age spirituality.
Many people (myself included) prefer to create an integrative approach to spirituality, taking what makes sense to them from various different belief systems and forming one that encompasses these elements.
What value would more spiritual fulfillment bring to your life? What approach would work best for you? There is so much yumminess in spiritual exploration. Take a bite!