(ThyBlackMan.com) I often hear people say, “I am more spiritual than religious”. Unfortunately, that saying has reached the level of cliché.
‘Spirituality’ is the profound sense of connection one receives through an interaction with a power greater than us. Religion, conversely, is the belief and worship of a deity, usually expressed as God. Stated otherwise, ‘religion is man’s search for God’ while spirituality is our communion with God.
It is the ever-present knowing that we are a part, and where the part is the whole must be as well.
Brothers face unrelenting obstacles in this country as it relates to education, financial stability and social acceptance. In so many ways, the odds are stacked against our success.
We need a new paradigm for empowerment.
In a recent poll, fifty-four percent of the respondents cited ‘personal spirituality’ versus the ‘black church’ as the most crucial tool for positive personal change. The two can and must work in tandem.
Personal spirituality is a potent vehicle for personal growth and development, but, divorced from a larger context of praise, worship and ritual; it becomes counterproductive to the follower.
Here are three ways personal spirituality within a praise and worship context can enrich our lives as black men.
Personal Spirituality Establishes a Ground
Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude, writes author and spiritualist Denis Waitley. To be sure, the experience that Waitley describes does not come easily; it is earned with a commitment to doing the necessary work. It is the ground upon which all other existence is built. It determines the quality of our day; it governs the emotional texture with which we live.
Our ‘ground of being’ is nurtured by meditation, worship and ritual and an abiding sense of gratitude. Gratitude conditions spirituality.
Personal Spirituality Adds to Our Mental and Physical Well-Being
Studies dating back a quarter-century suggest a credible relationship between good mental health and a positive, spiritual outlook on life. Faith is an undeniable factor for how we respond to the challenges of life.
Samuel Ullman writes, The measure of your maturity is how spiritual you become during the midst of your frustrations.
Anyone who claims to be “spiritual” and yet lacks a corresponding commitment toward physical health does not quite understand the dynamics of personal spirituality. As noted, we are spiritual beings on a physical journey, and that spiritual ground informs our physical environment. That is to say, it deepens our appreciation for our Temple; we understand the value of physical activity and seek to keep our bodies healthy.
In the same manner, our mental well-being is strengthened by a sense of the communion achieved through personal spirituality; we become more in tune with ourselves as we identify with the actions that can elevate our lives.
Personal Spirituality Deepens Our Connection with Others
Some people equate spirituality with a type of isolationism. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it’s the opposite: personal spirituality connects us to the larger self or wider community. It increases our awareness of our surroundings; Earth becomes more beautiful as we recognize our connection to the planet.
Personal spirituality also helps us to become more committed fathers, husbands, brothers and men in the community. It especially deepens our commitment to our children. In short, we become better men and better fathers – and our communities become better as a result.
The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another’s, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises, says Leo Buscaglia.
Personal spirituality is a potent tool for personal development.
Staff Writer; W. Eric Croomes
This talented brother is a holistic lifestyle exercise expert and founder and executive coach of Infinite Strategies LLC, a multi-level coaching firm that develops and executes strategies for fitness training, youth achievement and lifestyle management. Eric is an author, fitness professional, holistic life coach and motivational speaker.
In October 2015, Eric released Life’s A Gym: Seven Fitness Principles to Get the Best of Both, which shows readers how to use exercise to attract a feeling of wellness, success and freedom (Infinite Strategies Coaching LLC, 2015) – http://www.infinitestrategiescoaching.com.