Rural Roots November 25, 2001
Spirituality is part of human existence, but it can easily be pushed into the background. Jobs, hobbies, family obligations, interests and current goals easily distract us from focusing on our spiritual direction.
We may make elaborate plans for our careers and our relationships with others, through education and courtship. We make life decisions sometimes, without deeply reflecting on them, but merely responding to what seems best at the time.
But we often avoid focusing on the meaning, purpose and direction of life, which is what spirituality is all about.
The major difference between humans and all other creatures in this world is that we have a spiritual aspect to living. Different people respond to it in different ways. Some people feel comfortable expressing their spirituality as a group. Some find structured worship rituals most meaningful. Others feel more relaxed in more informal gatherings. Some prefer to discover and explore their spirituality privately.
A new book I'd say yes god, if I knew what wou wanted: spiritual discernment by Nancy Reeves, a well-known grief therapist, focuses on "spiritual discernment". This is a process that any person who considers entering the Christian ministry is usually required to go through, but a process we also need to experience as well in our own lives.
I see "spiritual discernment" as finding spiritual direction and purpose in life. Reeves shares and explores this journey through the ideas and lives of many other people. In doing her grief therapy programs with groups and individuals, Reeves found that many people had unanswered questions about prayer and spiritual direction.
While attending a spiritual retreat, she realized the current lack of a multi-faith based book designed to help people discover their direction or call in life. Later in her own personal meditation time, she realized her desire and her ability to write such a book.
Her book is not designed to give answers or convert people to a particular religion. It is designed to help people on their own journeys of discernment.
Not only does Reeves reflect on her personal faith journey, her book shares the spiritual journeys of many people of different faiths, not just Christianity. These stories reassured me that God, Greater Power, or whatever name we choose to use, is a power in this world and that people relate to this power in many ways, sometime mysterious, to get direction, acceptance, support, and find meaning in life.
We all face that journey in life. Some people spend the greatest part of their lives on it and may follow spiritual vocations. But we are all called to recognize this often un-trodden path of the spiritual in life and to explore it.
I highly recommend Reeve's book to individuals and groups as a helpful companion for them on their own spiritual journeys. Published by Northstone Publishing, $18.95 plus GST, ISBN 1-896836-46-1, Phone 800-663-2775 or go to www.joinhands.com