Spiritual in the Ordinary

Spirituality is often thought of as something special or mystical. This depends on one’s interpretations, beliefs and faith as well. However spirituality is also found in the ordinary.

A different view of Spirituality can be thought of as what the world or life is trying to teach us (depending on your orientation, world or life can be replaced with higher power or God). When someone takes a walk in a lush forest, it is rife with plants and animals whose ancestors adapted to survive. Their environment continuously pushed them to find the very best design to survive in that environment, and then to improve on that.

Life seems to continue to ask us these same questions. What is the best way to adapt to this environment? To adapt to this struggle or challenge? What is the best way to live? When we talk about spirituality, it can speak to the way we live our lives on the outside in the physical world, and for sure it speaks to how we live our lives on the inside. The inside meaning our head space, our mental hygiene, the habits around belief and our sense of or lack of having peace. So, what is the best way to live on the inside?

Perhaps it is to do the next right thing. This is a phrase borrowed from 12 step. It speaks to a consistent taking of inventory of ourselves, our condition and where we are in our lives. And, there are mental rewards for us doing the next right thing. These come about when one does what is right, even when doing the other option may be more lucrative, popular, socially sanctioned etc.

Through this practice one can approach having a sense of spirituality through ordinary acts.

It may also be, that part of what makes up this sense of spirituality is failing forward. This is idea that no one is perfect or does the right thing all the time, and that we can learn from mistakes. Part of being spiritual is being very familiar with the hard feelings of not having done the right thing. Or despite one’s best effort to do the right thing, to feel like one failed at it or failed to bring about the change desired by doing the right thing.

Important as well is that doing the right thing is always constrained by culture and social norms. The right thing is an ideal about how to live life. Much harm has been done in the name of God in the attempt (or sometimes as an excuse) to do the right thing. So in trying to do whats right, having a mandate to do no harm is important too.

If we wait for the clouds to part and the divine to come down to us, we may miss our opportunity to connect spirituality through the practice of making the right choices as to how to live and respond to challenge.

Article by Elijah Bedrosian, LPC