Is it just me or are have you noticed a rise in popularity of spirituality? A small but significant proportion of the population seem to be speaking more openly about their spiritual practices and beliefs. And it does make a refreshing change to hear people talk about intuition rather than intellect, connection rather than competition and presence rather than pursuit.
Yet for some, the idea of spirituality turns them off. Perhaps they picture hippy-style, self-proclaimed gurus sitting crossed legged on the mountain top meditating and chanting! Using the “s” word in public, and most especially in the business world, can still leave you open to judgment and questions around your competence and reasoning capacity.
We probably won’t hear of many CEOs declaring their allegiance to angels or asking for advice from their guides. It’s simply not the done thing — well, certainly not out loud! Recently I was asked to delete the ‘s’ word from a consultancy proposal and make it more corporate-like! Are we really saying that bringing more spirit to business is unacceptable and unwelcome?
It leaves us with an interesting predicament. Sharing that you believe in more than this physical realm won’t always win friends and support. But if we are going to live spiritual values of authenticity, integrity and honesty, then we need to find ways to share the truth of who we are — even if we risk being labelled as weird or freaky.
As a coach, I hear too many clients describe the division in their lives — how they can be their true selves at home or with friends but have to assume an appropriate work persona in order to be accepted and respected. This often means leaving any type of spiritual philosophy at the office entrance.
Maybe it is time to end this personality split and officially come out and declare that we are proud to be spiritual?
So what is it that gets in the way of this openness and ownership of who we are?
Without a doubt, the biggest obstacle is perception. If someone associates spirituality with religion or cults and fears that by engaging in spiritual conversation they will be sucked into an endless stream of dogma and righteousness, they will naturally do everything they can to avoid such discussions. Maybe they picture the door-to-door caller who won’t leave until you have agreed to their principles. No one wants this level of uninvited intrusiveness.
But the true essence of spirituality couldn’t be further from this representation. Spirituality is always a personal interpretation. I can only ever know my version, never decree what you should or shouldn’t believe. As soon as I ask you to think or do something against your own values and principles, I am no longer led by spirit but firmly attached to the ego’s needs for validation. Spirit never requires external corroboration. It knows its own truth.
I like to think of spirituality as being the absolute em-body-ment of living an inspired (in-spirit) life. It is the ability to move out of the analytical mind and drop into your core inhabited by your heart and soul. It doesn’t discount intellectual reasoning but uses its functionality to fulfil a deeper level of purpose. It is where you will find your passion, peace, joy and contentment.
The rules about spirituality are that there are no rules! Being spiritual doesn’t require you to meditate daily, visit a church or temple, take up yoga or change your diet — unless you want to!
You are just as likely to connect to your heart centre and spirit whilst walking your dog, playing sports, listening to music, baking or gardening. Any activity that brings you present to the moment and in deep rapport with your self could be described as spiritual.
Perhaps it is time to ditch the prejudice and allow everyone to express their truth however crazy it may sound. Let’s make using the ‘s’ word acceptable both at home and in work.