Jay Rifenbary

Jay Rifenbary's Blog

A Sensible Side to Spirituality

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Reflecting on the recent holy weeks of Easter and Passover it is always heartening to observe the uptick in an appreciation of a spiritual component to our lives. Although the choice to practice a formal structured religion is a personal one, the general thought of a force, energy or entity greater than ourselves adds another dimension to pondering our collective human existence and individual life’s purpose. The phrase, “life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”, summarizes for me an acceptance of receiving a spiritual side to my existence. Spirituality is defined as, “of, relating to, or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things”.

To be spiritual does not necessarily denote a belief in a particular deity, but it does promote the belief in something beyond our practical understanding and comprehension. That belief may transition into faith, but faith as it pertains to spirituality is an idea felt, not necessarily proven, nor necessarily understood.

I believe there is a reason why each of us exists and whether the purpose of our existence comes to a fruition of understanding is irrelevant in regard to it providing a catalyst to create a more fulfilling and rewarding life. A sense of spirituality contributes to a degree of peace, harmony and service in our lives. Being spiritual also adds a mechanism to cope with aspects of the life experience where hurt, sorrow, tragedy, loss and the unexpected may occur. This does not mean we utilize spirituality as a crutch for not taking responsibility for our actions or not having to handle difficult situations, but it does provide a sense of comfort that there may be circumstances beyond our individual control. Another’s destructive behavior, the unexpected loss of a loved one, a natural tragedy that devastates thousands, and unexplained occurrences are part of human existence. Many experiences may be difficult to understand and hard to accept, but spirituality enables a greater ease for us to move forward from hurtful and heart breaking events.

Personally, incorporating my own spiritual beliefs has aided me over the years in dealing with loss, failure and disappointment. The passing of my father when I was 11 immediately comes to mind, and I believe his death has played a significant role in choosing my speaking profession, the creation of my “No Excuse!” message, and the man I have become. To believe there is a reason behind our experiences, failures and frailties assists in looking towards the future instead of harboring on the past. Collectively there are many instances where human beings come together in a commonality of spirit to face and overcome great challenges that have befallen humankind. The relief brought to the devastated people of Haiti is an example of not only unity in action and materials, but also a unity in spirit to help our fellow human beings in need. Allow your mind to think beyond this earthly place. To have the ability to possibly fathom beyond what is, is a marvelous attribute of the human mind and provides a dynamic of thought that is intriguing and energizing. We all have the freedom to spiritually believe what we want, regardless of what a government or ruling entity might dictate.

Being spiritual allows us to go beyond the confines of what we might be told to believe in and pursue a path more personally meaningful and fulfilling. A human’s body may be limited in movement and action, but the spiritual mind is limitless in thought and belief of what can be. There are two key components to being spiritually healthy. One is a requirement that our spirituality has a positive motive and positive potential outcome for us as individuals and for those around us. The second is to be mindful of another’s spirituality. We may disagree with another’s spiritual outlook, belief and practices, but if those elements are for goodness and the betterment of humankind, there should be an attempt at understanding and being respectful. Personally, I make a choice to surround myself with the positive side of spirituality which I believe rests in how we treat and serve one another, and how we persevere through the challenges of everyday living. As Confucius said, “If you don’t know how to live as a person, how can you serve the spirit. “





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