What are we talking about when we talk about spirituality?

By the Office of the Chaplain
Spirituality and spiritual wellbeing are interpersonal, intrapersonal, communal, and sometimes ineffable (beyond words).

The definition can be as varied as the people in the world. One possible way to define spirituality is purposeful actions that individuals or communities practice in order to expand and deepen our awareness and to connect with ourselves, the world around us, and God or a Higher Power.

How have you defined spirituality in your own life and how does your definition differ from others? How has it grown or changed during your Wake Forest University experience?

And how would you define or know how to recognize spiritual wellbeing? Slider Stones

Take a few moments to reflect on this.

Consider that if you did just reflect, you may have been involved in a spiritual practice, a practice that could contribute to spiritual wellbeing.

There are many that argue that the entirety of life is a spiritual experience, but that isn’t necessarily guaranteed. If spirituality is rooted in connection, then as we come to an awareness of the interconnectedness of life–of our inherent connectedness to other humans, to animals, to nature, to God or the Universe–we have greater potential for spiritual experience.

In other words, taking a walk can simply be physical exercise, or–with awareness and focused intention– it can be exercise AND an experience of spiritual reflection, prayer, or meditation that ultimately expands and deepens our ability to lovingly connect. The intention and awareness that we bring to an action can transform it into a spiritual practice. Awareness and intention matter.

Religion is the most common way that these actions have been organized and practiced throughout history so we often conflate religion with spirituality. Many religions provide rich spiritual experience, however this is not always true. While we regularly hear people describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious” it is equally possible to be “religious but not spiritual.” Again, awareness and intention matter!

With this in mind, consider the variety of activities that could be spiritual practices:

  • Meditation or prayer – alone or in groups
  • Shared meals
  • Focused breathing
  • Exercising
  • Chanting or mantras
  • Singing
  • Writing
  • Taking a walk
  • Playing an instrument
  • Laughter
  • Cleaning
  • Cooking
  • Serving others
  • Walking a labyrinth
  • Dancing
  • Attending a conference or retreat
  • Listening to music
  • Engaging in conversation
  • Formal worship
  • Story telling
  • Creating
  • Learning
  • Sharing
  • Gratitude
  • Practicing wonder and awe

What might you add to this list?

The Wake Forest Office of the Chaplain is a group of professionals who aim to create opportunities on campus that raise awareness and deepen connection whether on an individual, group, or community-wide basis.

We look forward to connecting and journeying together.
To your spiritual wellbeing!

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