The New Spirituality
In today’s spiritual landscape, we are seeing an exciting trend. What appears emergent is a spirituality of mindfulness and a religion of kindness. More and more people are turning away from organized religious or spiritual gatherings and turning to an independent form of communion with their Creator. It is an acknowledgement of how they perceive a higher consciousness in the world, and they are celebrating it how they see fit. The awareness of the elements of life that unite us all are receiving the focus, no doubt, in part because of many factors: a distaste for current religious structures and fatigue from continual crisis conditions. Ultimately, people are striving to find peace and comfort in ways they can trust, which is bringing their path to the Divine, home.
Old Traditions Falling Away
Deep questions have become pervasive in our collective minds about the lingering relationship to religion, to faith, and to the belief in a Creator. In difficult times, when the world feels out of control, we tend to naturally gravitate to things outside ourselves for solace. However, although the pandemic has supported it, there has been a forward motion for going within to find the answers we are seeking for the past two decades. The needle is moving towards an independent discovery of how we experience a higher-consciousness and an openness to a universal understanding.
Today’s spirituality is less about what the collective is doing and encompasses an individual’s path to awareness of the multiple energetic dimensions that connect us all. It is common for many to confuse religion and spirituality. Religion is the organized ritual used to cultivate a relationship to the Divine, and spirituality is the awareness of the multiple dimensions of energy that make up the Divine.
Since 2000, the practice of organized religion in the USA is down almost 15%, while the number of those who do not have any religious/spiritual affiliation has more than doubled — no doubt for many reasons, including the polarization of religious beliefs and the politization of many churches. Folks are beginning to gravitate to a solitary, spiritual construct in daily life.
Everyone is Spiritual
Certainly, we are all spiritual, regardless of our beliefs, ideologies, knowledge, or awareness. Spirituality is our relationship to ourselves and our environment on every vibrational level. Our empathy, instinct, perspective, and creativity are all a part of our spirituality, and the tools we have, to become aware of the spirit world.
There are people who do not claim being “spiritual” or others still, that seem disconnected, but a person’s awareness or beliefs about being “spiritual” do not dictate the existence of that world, just their relationship to it. So, then the question is, can we become spiritual?
The answer is a resounding, yes! Everything we do contributes to being mindful of our spiritual awareness. How we treat ourselves and others. How we nourish our bodies and feed our minds. All these habits bestow a vibration of ease or conflict on our feelings and perceptions of life. Therefore, if we are interested in making a change, all we need to do is train our focus on the spiritual or emotional dynamic of taking care of ourselves, others, and the planet.
Love and Kindness is the New Religion
Just under 75% of millennials report having no affiliation to a church, and the numbers for affiliations continue to decline for other generations as well. The focus that is taking its place is one of needing and expressing kindness. I was having a zoom discussion with a few friends the other day, when one exclaimed, “I don’t need for everyone to agree with me, I just need them to be respectful and kind.”
That was a poignant moment of realization for all of us — in our culture today, general respect and kindness seems to have been put aside because of a lack of empathy, or for the illusion of righteousness. The truth of it is, our interactions with others can be full of disagreements about small things, but their existence alludes to more important needs underneath. Many of us have stories that have gone uncommunicated and can be ripe for expression through a reaction to unrelated events, getting our feelings hurt easily, or taking what others say and do, personally.
We are all on a quest to recognize our deepest needs and find positive ways to fulfill them. Kindness can be that path. First, to be kind to yourself. Next, to be kind to others and the planet. I must admit, I am addicted to “Hallmark Channel” love. If you’re not familiar, it’s the kind of love where everyone takes in full thoughtful breaths, before expressing their deepest heartfelt feelings, and no matter what, everything is always okay, even when telling the truth.
What would our world be like if no one took another’s feelings or actions personally? If they responded in empathy, emotional mastery, and love? Don’t get me wrong, I know we’ve got a way to go, but the spirit of love can go a long way in creating miracles in the world: large and small.
What I always do, even on my worst day, is consider that no matter my circumstances or condition, there is always someone who is in a less fortunate position than I. In fact, there are folks right now, who in the past year, have lost everything. People they loved and everything that was consistent in their lives. Yet no matter where you begin, there is a way forward.
The spirit of faith is unique, it expands as you give to it. When you are giving your love and hope or your anger and grief, it expands them until their pursuit is complete. It is the goal of love and hope to heal. It is the natural objective of anger and grief to acknowledge the truth. All it takes to activate your faith is your energy, focus, and commitment. Notice that I didn’t say belief? Nope, belief has no bearing on faith. Just your commitment to move forward and your energy and focus put there. As you do that, your mindfulness kicks in and brings your awareness to what is needed to nurture your condition or circumstances. It is almost magical, if you believe in those things.
All in all, today’s spiritual outlook for the collective is absolutely invigorating. The more each of us becomes accountable for our own beliefs and ideals, and aware of the impact they have on us, and the lens through which we look at everything in our lives the more we will embrace the intrinsic oneness that connects us all. We can begin to find common ground with one another. We can continue to heal ourselves and the planet. And, finally, we can recognize we are powerful, loving, humans who have what it takes to make any change we wish to make.