If you read the latest installment on this blog you learned that one of the benefits of living spiritually is preventing depression by engaging with a community group or activity. People who are active with everything from organized church groups to meditation classes have shown signs of being happier. These kinds of spiritual get togethers tend to give people a sense that they belong and are valued members of a community.
This recent Yahoo Health article discusses this and other ways that a spiritual life may make you both a happier and healthier person. In this installment we’ll talk about another benefit of living spiritually: gaining purpose in life.
One of the most common and universal questions that human beings struggle with is why are we here? For millennia the only ones who attempted to provide answers were spiritual leaders of all faiths. Almost all religions include some kind of fable about the origins of the human race. Since ancient times we have been attempting to solve the mystery of where we came from and what our purpose in the universe is. In modern times, this question has fallen on to the leading scientists of the day. The particle and astrophysicists who spend their lives learning about the universe on both a gigantic and miniscule scale. Over the last hundred years the human race has gained more knowledge about our world and about our own origins than all of our predecessors combined.
So why does it feel like the answers only lead to more questions? The more we learn about the scope of the cosmos the more we contextualize ourselves as merely a tiny fiber in the grand tapestry that is reality. While this realization can be powerful and humbling in and of itself, it can also lead to questions and doubt that make everyday life difficult to live.
Pondering the cosmos or humanity’s purpose probably won’t help you commute to work or sort out a relationship problem. So how can we stay grounded while also incorporating an element of the spiritual or the unknown?
There are many ways, but one of the simplest is having someone to talk to about your thoughts and doubts. Laura Dunn who holds the title of Director of Psycho-oncology at the Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Francisco reports that regular sessions with a spiritual guide can help relieve some of these burning questions and restore a sense of purpose. Even if you don’t have a spiritual leader you feel comfortable sharing your feelings with, you should feel free to count of your friends.
Share your spiritual thoughts with others. You’ll find that many of your peers have had the same thoughts and feelings about their place in the universe. Find a purpose that is meaningful for you. Seek out something that you truly love and do it well. It could be anything from artistic expression to spending time with your family. Only when you find that purpose will you truly be on the road to a happier healthier life.