Spirituality and Happiness

Russell Brand occasionally gives me a headache but ultimately his unequivocal commitment to the consciousness revolution rocks, and his way with words makes me lol, a lot.

I once had the pleasure of talking to the brilliant Richard Dawkins, who has been called the ‘Abu Hamza of atheism.’ (It was me who called him it, just then.)

Okay so, science is undeniably awesome, right? However, despite all its amazing gifts, can science give us what we really need in this moment of life on Earth? Physically, boom, it’s our rock. Humanity’s core problem is not material, is it. It’s spiritual. Genuinely happy people would not fuck up the world the way in which we do so well. Can people without some degree of spirituality be truly happy? Ergo…

What the heck is spirituality anyway?

Spirituality means something different to everyone. For some of us, it is religion: going to church, synagogue, a mosque, etc. For others, it’s more personal and individual. Some of us get in touch with our spiritual side through prayer, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, music, creativity, long walks, and more.

There is no one definition, but in general, spirituality:

  • is something everyone can experience
  • helps us to find meaning and purpose in the things we value
  • can bring hope and healing in times of suffering and loss
  • encourages us to seek the best relationship with ourselves, others and what lies beyond.

Who doesn’t want that?

Research suggests that people with a sense of spirituality – which can be religious or non-religious – are likely to experience greater happiness and wellbeing. Spirituality can provide us with meaning, a sense of vitality (or aliveness) and a sense of connectedness to others and to ‘something bigger’ beyond our daily lives. People who feel their life has meaning are happier and healthier too. ~ Action for Happiness

The thing is folks spirituality doesn’t need to involve flowers in your hair, dancing naked or myth and mysticism in any form. It doesn’t even have to be linked to organised religion (although people with strong religious faith often experience high levels of well-being, fyi).

Don’t you want to experience inner peace?

Having a spiritual dimension means finding a sense of inner peace – both peace of mind and peace in the heart. It also means allowing our inner values to guide how we interact with the world around us – our concern for others, our connection with the natural world and our interest in making a positive contribution to society. ~ Action for Happiness

What does spirituality mean for you and what role does it, or could it, play in your life?

Have a think about the following questions. Take your time, consider them one by one. You may not know the answers straight away. There’s no rush.

The source of spirituality for you?

  • Where do you experience a sense of spirituality in your life?
  • What or whom do you call on or turn to in times of difficulty?
  • Which people in your life help you think about what spirituality means to you or bring out your best spiritual qualities?
  • What do you hold sacred in your life?
  • When do you feel the presence of the sacred in your life most strongly?
  • When do you feel the sacred is not there?

What has influenced your sense of spirituality?

  • How has your family and religious context shaped your attitudes towards spirituality and religion?
  • How have other key people or events in your life influenced your sense of the spiritual?
  • When it comes down to it what do you believe life is for and why do you believe we are here?

What is your spiritual journey?

  • How have you tried to develop yourself spiritually over the years?
  • What struggles have you encountered along the way?
  • What kinds of transformations have you experienced, if any?
  • What might your next steps be to bring more spirituality into your life?

Based on questions posed by Ken Pargament.