Focusing on Your Spirituality

I often hear my clients say they are not religious but that they are spiritual. I nod my head with understanding. Religion is easily defined within the parameters of the church. The doctrines or the particular religion, Catholics or Protestants have the Bible which has the defined book of canons. Each religion has the beliefs and creeds that are specific views and tenets of that church.

Research will show that many Americans of all ages have left organized religion and the church. However, individuals have a vast background in studies and understanding of beliefs and views of “faith.”

But spirituality is like an elephant in the room. It’s either not discussed or it’s like a supersized marshmallow too large to get an understanding of its meaning. It’s seldom, if ever defined and yet, when discussed, it is an answer for anyone who has left organized religion who wants to hold on to “faith.”

Or is it something other than faith? What is spirituality for you? Today, I set out to define spirituality and specific spiritual needs that we humans must address through the ups and downs of life. However humble my answer may be, my offer to provide information is given in reverence so that you will be equipped to provide your own answer to “What is Spirituality?” and focusing on filling your spiritual energy cup!

Simply said, spirituality is “connecting to something bigger beyond the self. That may be said to be higher intelligence in the universe. It typically involves a search for meaning in life. Whether within church or outside of church, it is a universal human experience—something that touches us all. People may describe a spiritual experience as sacred or transcendent or simply a deep sense of aliveness and interconnectedness.

Some find this interconnectedness within the practices at a church, temple, mosque, or synagogue. Others may pray or find comfort in a personal relationship with God or a higher power. I’ve known clients who have the connection through art and nature. And I myself have found that my definition has become one of acceptance of broader diversity as I conduct my practice.

Connecting with a higher purpose and meaning in life may be explained in these simple statements:

  • Finding meaning in a mission that is beyond oneself and one’s personal benefits
  • Being of service to the world
  • Called to some Activity
  • Changing the world in your corner of it.

Here are a few questions that you may want to ask yourself that Bill O’Hanlon, psychotherapist and educator provided to his students:

  1. When dedicating your life to something more important than yourself, what is the feeling in the shift of your energy?
  2. When you connect with your higher or bigger purpose, how does our relationship with the challenge you are facing change?
  3. What resources or perspectives do you have when you are connected to your bigger purpose that can help you move through this issue more quickly or in a better way?

Another great author and psychological and pastoral care counselor, Howard Clinebell came to significant conclusions about spirituality based on more than 30 years in practice. Clinebell believed that humans have seven spiritual hungers in common.

As you read through them, consider whether you recognize any of these spiritual needs in yourself. Are there particular areas of “spiritual hunger” in your life that need more attention than others?

Specifically, Clinebell felt that human beings long to:

  1. Experience the healing and empowerment of love—from others, self, and an ultimate source.
  2. Experience renewing times of transcendence—expansive moments beyond the immediate sensory spheres.
  3. Have vital beliefs that lend meaning and hope in the midst of losses, tragedies, and failures.
  4. Have values, priorities, and life commitments centered in issues of justice, integrity, and love to provide guidance in personally and socially responsible living.
  5. Discover and develop inner wisdom, creativity, and love of self.
  6. Develop a deepening awareness of oneness with other people, the natural world, and all living things.
  7. Have spiritual resources to help heal grief, guilt, resentment, unforgiveness, self-rejection, and shame and deepen experiences of trust, self-esteem, hope, joy and love of life.

If you’d like to develop you connection with your “Inner Advisor” go to and make an appointment for your special time.

Be blessed, Tracey


For more, listen to the podcast episode on this topic:

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