Cindy Hoard

Inspirational Author and Psychologist

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Updated Insight on Spirituality

Spirituality tends to be used somewhat loosely and almost as an effort to try to demonstrate that one has somehow gained something that is a new revelation. It is difficult to “define”, but perhaps most important of all, is realizing the experiences we have had where we have “felt” different in some manner we may not even be able to put into words.

In most recent times, we have engaged in debates or discussions about what “spirituality” means, when an even deeper question is “When have I had an experience I identify as feeling spiritual’?”

I do believe a wide range of challenges in life are viewed from religious and faith perspectives to try to “understand” what they mean. During such times there may be feelings of disconnection, betrayal or a changed relationship with one’s personal God or Higher Power or
Transcendence. Any number of words are used to refer to this God or Higher Power such as Spirit, Nature, the Universe, the Creator, or other words that represent Divine presence. These labels cut across religions, faith, native traditions, agnostic beliefs, and other ancient practices that speak to something “greater”. There is significant overlap in the experiences of these different groups, though the labels may differ.

Dr. Lisa Miller, Psychologist and Researcher has studied spirituality in scientific manners with astounding results. She and other researchers have demonstrated that we are all hardwired (born with) spirituality that is natural, present at birth and a vital aspect of our development over our lifespan. Children under the age of 5 years old have some of the richest insights, experiences and understandings of spirituality that are inborn. The challenge is for us to witness the unfolding during natural children’s play. Full of curiosity and trying to “figure out” what their thoughts and feelings represent and or mean they may or may not be able to put this into words, but they can exhibit satisfaction and a sense of AHA that indicates something significant has happened for them. Our job as adults is to observe and listen to whatever manner, verbal and nonverbal, of expression that comes with openness and curiosity and may not make sense to us as adults.

An important question I reflected on over time was “When had I felt Union with God along my quest for the Divine?” I did not have a fully formed criteria that served as a measure of such experiences. What I did have was experiences that were physically felt, and I had a sense of something profound. When challenged by members of a religious commune I was placed in and being told I was not acting in the spirit of Jesus required to be a Christian, my reply was “If God wanted me to be a puppet on a string, She would have made me that way.” I was surprised at my automatic response and when I reflected on it, I realized the impact of several experiences in my life that made me clear that my relationship with God was not a submissive role.

An experience I had with learning from audiotapes by Father Thomas Keating really touched me, made sense and was invigorating. He actually said that the evolution of religion lost something very significant when the feminine qualities of emotion were lost in a decided turn toward a more patriarchal approach to God. Feelings and emotions are stirred during a “spiritual experience” and these are evidence of spirituality in daily life.

While we may not have recognized or labeled an experience as “spiritual” we have all had them by virtue of being born as a human being.
Think about a time when you may have felt something like this even if you did not label it as spiritual. Where, when, what was happening, was there a message, were their questions, what was it like?

Please share this richness with me and others.

Lisa Miller, PhD addresses spirituality in two of her books:
The Spiritual Child: The New Science of Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving and
The Awakened Brain: The New Science of Spirituality for an Inspired Life