We began this series with and essay outlining the 4 Dimensions of Spiritual Resiliency and then outlined the 12 Questions for Spiritual Awareness. In this essay we look at the concepts of Spiritual resiliency. Building of our spiritual resiliency involves our understanding of the concepts that underlie our spiritual: meaning, values, transcendence and connection.
Meaning refers to making sense of the situations that occur in our lives and then from those situations we gain experience and a sense of purpose for living. Meaning may be found in a number of ways for example;
Assigning responsibility for the event.
Interpreting the experience through your philosophical or religious beliefs.
Believing that something positive has come from the event.
The researcher Abraham Maslow would identify people who found meaning in their lives as people that were self-actualized. These people seemed to be fulfilling their dreams and being the best people they could be. They were able to reach their full potential, to the goal of all of us.
These are cherished beliefs and standards that provide us with a moral compass and help us steer toward a right ethical behavior. Values provide a person belief system and give us principles to live by and a moral path to follow. In essence, values establish the foundation for our behavior, and they guide us in shaping our thoughts and our decisions.
There is a difference between a perceived value and an actual value. Perceived is how you think that something is, and actual is how something is. For example, a person might say that their family is the most important thing in their life but they tend to spend little time with them and most of their time is spent at work or somewhere else. This person has a perceived value to his family not an actual value of them.
These are the experiences and appreciation for what is beyond the self. And awareness and appreciation of the vastness of the universe is an example of this. A sense of transcendence can be noted in the awe and wonder of Apollo IX astronaut Russell Schweickart looking back to earth from space:
You realize that on that small spot, that little blue and white thing is everything that means anything to you. All of history and music and poetry and art and birth and love; tears, joy, games. All of it on that little blue spot out there that you can cover with your thumb.
Transcendence may also be an awareness of, or indeed a belief in, a force greater than we are. This can be a creator, an infinite being or beings, or some cosmic force. We may accept the universe as a mystery. Have faith in the unknown and feel like a vital component of some large scheme.
This is the increased awareness of a connection with the self and others around us. Being connected also includes the notion of selflessness, a love for the greater good and a desire to help others.
Being connected can include:
Sharing our lives.
Sharing our values.
Celebrating our symbols and ceremonies.
Singing, exercising, meditating or praying with others.
Participating in activities of mutual support and assistance.
As mentioned at the start of this essay all of spiritual resiliency begins with an understanding of these concepts but also of us. Start working on this today and if you need help seek a guide to assist you.