Spirituality …

Spiritual

… it’s powerful, it’s all-embracing.

I used to hate, maybe even fear the word and now I hold it close to my bosom (do guys have bosoms … anyone?).

So you ask: “Larry, why would you fear a simple word like spirituality?”

In a nutshell, I’ve shied away from writing or talking about spirituality because it has a way of sounding like a synonym for RELIGION.

And, as you probably know by now, I’m not much of a player on the game field of religion.

Spirituality – 1 … Religion – 0.

A greater omnipotent DEITY just isn’t in the cards for me.

Hang on … just as an ADHD aside: Even though I’m not devout or God-fearing, I like hanging out with people who are religious in the traditional (but NOT Evangelical) sense. There’s a warmth and genuineness and often an atmosphere of “all will be OK” that floats in the mist surrounding a true believer. It’s comforting to be in their company.

But today I’m going to drag up the courage to voice some thoughts –  you may agree somewhat … or you may just hate my perspective.

I’ve spent most of my life refraining from this discussion because I care what you and everyone else thinks about me and so it’s easier to avoid the topic than to offend you.

Today, the water looks inviting and I’m boldly plunging in.

In my mind, Spirituality is the NEWS HEADLINE,

everything else is the Subtitle.

Religion is just one of the subtitles along with

  • nature
  • music
  • dance
  • pets
  • children
  • visual art
  • love

You might have others to add to this list.

What I’m saying is that spirituality is the overarching feeling that plunges deepest into the heart of our personal earth.

There’s an aura or ambient meaning that accompanies something that we describe as spiritual. It’s otherwordly, even though it may or may not be religious.

We all have our outer crust that protects us from the dangers of life, great and small. But way down below there is the molten core that is warm and liquid and exudes the inner strength that rejoices in the beauty and wonder we encounter, and supports us in our darkest troubling times.

I suppose sex, drugs, alcohol, and gambling might be considered as spiritual subtitles too but they’re loaded with downside potential, so I can’t include them. I don’t think that Las Vegas will soon be changing its motto to:

What Happens in Vegas is Spiritually Healing and Good in Vegas

Jesus in Vegas

We all have monsters inside us needing some spiritual calming.

Calm is a good word. I used to think that spirituality and religion were the same thing. But now I’ve discovered, for me, the synonym for spirituality isn’t RELIGION, it’s CALM.

Religion and the other items I’ve listed above are where we find the soothing calm that carries us over the mud puddles that are the bad days, the hard times that inevitably seek us out and try to suck us into the muck.

Doesn’t matter where it comes from, we all need spirituality. When we don’t have it, we cease functioning properly.

As an illustration, the other day I finished reading a book by Jodi Picoult entitled Nineteen Minutes. It’s a wonderfully crafted book about a young teenaged boy, Peter Houghton, who is bullied his entire life before he finally snaps in late high school.

Over the course of 19 minutes, this distraught soul wanders the halls of his school shooting the dozen or so classmates who have made his life a misery, catastrophically changing his life and the entire town’s future. It’s as sad as it is telling.

It tells of his inability to find a source of spirituality to carry him over his miseries, leaving, in his mind, only one way to find calm inside his head, even though it means spending the remainder of his life in a jail cell.

Calm

Here are a few examples of where I find my spiritual base – that impression of heaven-on-earth (I’d be pleased if you shared some of yours too!):

  • I awake at 6 am on an early summer’s day and step outside into my yard. Immediately, I inhale the light sweetness of Lily-of-the-Valley in the air, hear the notes of robins chirping and mourning doves cooing. Then I feel the glow of the just-risen sun striking my eyes and cheeks while a dewy dampness in the air cools me from behind.
  • I’m standing still on my cross-country skis in the frigid mountain airs of January. There’s an unearthly calming quiet as I gaze out on the the sun reflecting brilliant off the snowy banks of the side of a frozen lake scraped clean for skating or sliding.
  • I’m perched in the momentarily-hushed darkness of a movie theatre with the intoxicatingly warm, salty scent of popcorn rising. My mind is floating backwards to my childhood as I sit in the same darkness of the Palace or Capitol Theatre in my Hamilton boyhood where I’m mesmerized by the colourful brilliance of … movie classics of the time like Bonnie and Clyde, Bullitt, Sound of Music, Mary Poppins.
  • The sands of Sunoka Beach are hot beneath my beach towel, my torso is absorbing the heat from beneath as the blazing sun burns decorative red lines through my closed eyelids. I feel the sand sift between my toes while children’s screams of delight zoom left to right by the water’s edge. There’s a mixed aroma of french fries and coconut suntan oils drifting over me like the little wiggly heat lines on a scorched highway.
  • It’s 11 pm and the living room is quiet at the end of the day. I pick up my acoustic guitar and stroke the first few chords of Fire and Rain or Dan Fogelberg’s Leader of the Band and I drift away on a cloud where time is meaningless and my mind is still like the morning surface of Lake Okanagan.
  • Shavasana … the end of a yoga session. It’s the only time I feel comfortable lying prone on a cool, hard surface. The room is semi-dark, filled only with Marsha’s soothing voice telling me to release, relax and let go. It’s also the only time in my life where I get to lay down beside 20 women in the dark and not feel guilty – every man’s dream …

Pets-At-The-Movies

 

CALM … SPIRITUAL …

I’ve finally lost the hate, the fear, the confusion over spirituality … SHHH, please pass the popcorn – real butter, of course –  I can’t wait to see how the rest of this story plays out …

 

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