I’ve decided to dedicate each Sunday with a blog about spirituality. Spirituality, I believe, is something that most people struggle with. I’m not talking about religious dogma, either. Anybody can believe in a god or gods. They can go to church every Sunday and recite the Lord’s Prayer every night before bed and still be spiritually bankrupt. I’m talking about that deep sensation of contentment with mind, body, and soul knowing that you discovered your purpose in life.
Spirituality can be practiced a number of different ways. For some it means having a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. For others, it means exercising regularly or taking part in hobbies. Yoga and meditation have been considered to be great for one’s spiritual well-being and is a typical example you may see if somebody were to try to describe it in a single picture.
I’ve never been one to consider myself a very spiritual person and not for lack of trying. I’ve been a Christian, an agnostic, an atheist, and a Christian again (in that order), but I was never brave or self-compassionate enough to take that deep introspective look into who I was. After all, I believed in God and Jesus and that’s all I needed to do, right? Consequently, my spiritual well-being slowly corroded away like the paint on a junkie “winter beater.”
When I think about spirituality, I think about the story of Jacob wrestling with the mystery man in Genesis 32:22-32. Story goes, Jacob ran across some unnamed dude while out for a walk with his two wives and servants. Some interpretations of the scripture describe the man as being the Dude.
After wrestling all night, the man decided to cheat by wounding Jacob in the hip with a single touch because God is a poor sport. But Jacob rose to the occasion, fighting through the pain, finally breaking the man into submission. He told him that he would not let him go until he blessed him. The man then blessed Jacob and changed his name to Israel because he had wrestled with man and God, overcoming both. Jacob was of course destined to live out the rest of his days with a bad hip.
Indeed, it was a strange night.
Now there’s more to take away from this story than the fact that God enjoys a good MMA fight for sport and apparently sucks at it (Armageddon may be a bit of a let down, folks). Assuming the non-religious people reading this haven’t drifted off to an atheist blog elsewhere in the internet of things, there is a lesson to be taken from this that transcends simple biblical interpretation.
How many of us can admit that we’ve grappled with our spirituality? I know I have. It’s a bit of an unorthodox view, after all, aren’t we supposed to be submissive to our spirituality? I’m here to tell you the opposite, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this article.
Spirituality, like anything else, takes a lot of hard work. I’m going on 32 years old and am still struggling with the spiritual side of my well-being and imagine that I’ll continue to struggle well into my later years. It’s not like you wake up one day spiritually well. If that were the case, we’d all be eating a lot healthier, finished writing the Great American Novel, and walking around flaunting our six-pack abs.
All too often, we submit to immediate gratification instead of putting real work into becoming who we’re meant to be. Things have gotten especially more difficult now days; it seems like there’s a pill you can buy for just about anything. If there’s not a pill, then there’s a machine or specialist you can throw your money at. None of this is to downplay medication. Anti-depressants and other medications are a great tool to help stabilize the brain chemistry, but as any psychiatrist worthy of their PhD will tell you, the medication is not a one stop shop solution; you have to put effort into your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being as well.
The bottom line is, if you think that meditating can help, but lack the ability to concentrate, then you need to push over that hump and meditate everyday. The same goes for anything that will benefit our mind and body. There isn’t one answer for all. Human beings are complex creatures and we’re all different. What works for one is not necessarily going to work for another. There is one common theme, however: a little bit of self-love goes a long way.
I’m not claiming to have all of the answers and quite frankly, I’m far from it. This entire article was just a lengthy means for me to say: don’t be afraid to be like Jacob and take on the fight. Strong spiritual health begins with having a healthy relationship with yourself and just like any relationship, some healthy conflict can keep it strong and that’s where you’ll find your true blessing.