Spirituality can be a tricky terrain to navigate. A lot of us have maybe had negative experiences with the idea of it from conventional religion, or just find the whole thing a little too “woo-woo.”
Considering spirituality in our everyday lives can also bring out one of our core human traits—vulnerability.
I think it’s largely because irony—something we value very highly these days in our art, media and humor—is lacking in spirituality. It’s not “cool” to believe in the Universe-with-a-capital-U. People can get very squeamish about being seen “falling for it,” believing that there is more to life than what we see in front of us, than what we can touch or explain with science.
Essentially: hipster, yes. Hippie, no.
I read a great quote recently that I think sums up my response to that:
“Your fear of looking stupid is holding you back.”
I think it’s important to not live at the extreme end of any ideology, not only because nothing is 100% but because it closes your mind to all of the possibilities in between. And that has nothing to do with what’s “right” or “wrong,” but what we can learn about ourselves and our relationships, how to interpret and understand our pain and how to better understand love.
I firmly believe in approaching life with a positive attitude, and that the energy you put out is returned to you. I have seen it and felt it in action, and I am by no means the first, last or only person to corroborate on this.
Do I believe that positive energy will cure cancer or that people in war-torn countries are bringing their plight on themselves because of negative attitudes? Of course not. I think life is much more complex than that. And at the end of the day, I can only truly speak to my own experience, to what I’ve found “works” for me.
For example, I don’t think The Secret is entirely accurate on its own, but I believe that it’s based on some really interesting ideas regarding the Law of Attraction. And beyond even any of the spiritual aspects of it, I think it provides some really smart, logical steps towards making good things happen in your life.
One of the key teachings around the Law of Attraction is the importance of having really clear intentions about your life. I’d venture to say that a lot of people don’t really know what they want. So even if you don’t believe the Law of Attraction exists, it’s hard to deny the importance of getting clear with your goals in life.
We know we want to be happy, we know we want to be “successful”—in whatever way we choose to define success—we know we want to feel good, or more accurately, better. But how do we attain that? What does the job or the relationship or the state of our physical and emotional health look like that will support us attaining that happiness or success?
You simply can’t sit in your present life situation and say, “I want more than this!” without having some idea of what “more” means. We may not always know how we’re going to get there—which is true about life in general—but knowing where we want our journey to take us is vital.
So people write out their intentions, they create vision boards, they meditate on a clear picture of what they’d like things to look like. They focus their energy towards the positive instead of dwelling on everything that’s not working.
If you’ve ever been in a job you just hated, then you know that sitting there stewing about how miserable it’s making you just compounds the misery. It just doesn’t do you any good! And what a hopeless way to live, right?
That’s largely why I’ve embraced a more spiritual view of life. I choose to believe that everything happens for a reason, that the Universe is listening, that the intentions I put out are returned in some way. Maybe not as I envisioned 100%, but again, nothing is 100%. It makes sense in my life, it explains a lot and it costs me nothing.
Yet what I’ve gained is immeasurable. Putting down the need for cautious skepticism and resisting the urge to turn my nose up at all of this in the name of being “cool” has made me so much happier, healthier and more at peace with my life than I could have imagined.
And while I can’t offer you any cold, hard evidence that what I believe is “real,” I also know I’m not striving for a cold, hard life.