Earlier this week, I asked the women in my Beacons of Change Inner Circle Community to bring an orange with them to our weekly online gathering. We met through a video call, so it was cute to see all the oranges on the screen. They were a bit surprised when I asked them to squeeze the orange and share what comes out of it. They were even more surprised, when I asked them to squeeze it again and try to get apple juice to come out. We even tried to get grapefruit juice to come out. Where we successful? Of course not! The only thing that came out was orange juice.
I kicked off our topic for the month, SPIRITUALITY, with this fun exercise, inspired by Wayne Dray’s Orange Story.
My point was that when someone squeezes you, puts pressure on you, if what comes out of you is anything other than love, it’s an opportunity for you to deepen your spiritual connection.
- Reflect: If someone squeezed you right now, what would come out of you?
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881 –1955)
Spirituality means different things for different people. Many of us grew up learning that to be a spiritual person, we needed to be religious. For some people, being a spiritual person means going to synagogue, church, mosque, etc., and participating in an organized religion. For others, being a spiritual person is a personal connection with spirituality through private prayer, yoga, meditation, Reiki and additional practices. Many people combine both approaches: they belong to a religion and combine it with additional practices.
“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives.”
This is one of my favorite definitions of spirituality. No matter what you call it, God, Higher Power, Source Energy, Universe or Spirit, I believe that being a spiritual person means knowing that you are connected to a power greater than yourself. For some, religion is the best expression of this bigger source and for others, spirituality is more about a human connection that is guided by love and compassion.
- Reflect: Do you consider yourself a spiritual person?
“Spirituality I take to be concerned with those qualities of the human spirit–such as love and compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, a sense of responsibility, a sense of harmony, which bring happiness to both self and others.”
The Dalai Lama
In his book “The Pocket Dalai Lama”, the Dalai Lama shares his thoughts on religion and spirituality. He talks about ritual and prayer…
The Dalai Lama is convinced that being a good person has its own reward. Contrary to popular belief, demonstrating love, compassion and forgiveness aren’t always connected to a religious belief system. Rituals, prayer, and questions of nirvana and salvation, however, are directly linked with religion and faith.
We all have the capacity to develop the qualities associated with being a kind and patient human being. The lack of a religion or a metaphysical belief system is not related and they are not one in the same.
The Dalai Lama believes that while religion may be optional, spiritual qualities are a necessity. All human being are the same; we all want and yearn the same things. We desire peace and happiness and because this is the outcome we aspire to have, it’s easy to appreciate the commitment to human decency.
For me, one of the principles I live by is seeing every human being as equal, practicing love, compassion and forgiveness with all people, whether they are male or female, black or white, from one religion or from another. I’m not saying in any way that it’s always easy to live by those qualities. But a spiritual person can shift more intentionally from hatred to love, from resentment to forgiveness and from fear to trust.
- Reflect: Do you consider yourself living with qualities like love, compassion and forgiveness?
Remember the question I asked you earlier about what comes out of you when you’re squeezed? When I presented this question to the women in my Inner Circle community, they shared that when you are a spiritual person and you maintain a spiritual practice it is easier for you to control your reaction and the type of “juice” that comes out of you.
When I created the Beacons of Change Inner Circle community, it was part of my vision to offer a “weekly spiritual booster” and help the members of the group explore what it means to be a spiritual person and deepen their spiritual connection, regardless of the religions they belong to.
Although we don’t focus on religion in our community, we do focus on spirituality, I believe that our spiritual exploration process integrates well and strengthens any religion.
If you are interested in deepening your spiritual connection and exploring what it means to be a spiritual person, that’s exactly what we’re focusing on, and you are invited to join us.