Spiritual Well-Being is critical. We often hear more about physical and mental well-being because it seems more practical in application. However, spiritual well-being also has practical application… and this is the sole purpose of this site. I would like to share with you many sources that can support you in achieving greater balance in your life.
First off, I would like to make the distinction between religiosity, spirituality, and spiritual well-being.
Spirituality and religiosity are considered as independent, but overlapping constructs. Many definitions have evolved over the years that vary among disciplines and individual research studies. Religiosity includes institutional beliefs, practices, rituals, and symbols that facilitate closeness to God or a higher power (King & Benson, 2006). Religiosity attaches importance to a higher power and usually involves growing within institutional beliefs and practices. Furthermore, religious development is a developing relationship between the individual and a particular institution or community, seeking truth and knowledge related to a higher power.
Spirituality on the other hand is more individualized in nature and is often expressed in experiential forms. John E. Fetzer (1999) states that spirituality refers to a universal human capacity or a quality of a person’s character, personality, or disposition with tendencies towards transcendence or connectedness beyond the self. It is often related to a manner of living that is carried out with a deep awareness of self, others, and the Divine (as cited in King & Benson, 2006). Spirituality is a personal mission statement derived from understanding personal meaning and purpose that direct one’s actions. Personal conviction of self and one’s role or purpose within a larger context are of a spiritual nature. Yet, spirituality is hard to pin down. It is different from person to person and therefore, a very abstract concept that is hard to teach.
Both spirituality and religiosity are respected, and are set out as previously described to provide a premise for spiritual well-being as a form of health that anyone and everyone should be aware of and tend to.
Spiritual Well-Being acknowledges spiritual development as a lifelong effort, but contains separate and distinct domains, serving as a more pragmatic way to reach SWB as an outcome. Ellison (1984) interpreted SWB as a lifelong pursuit of spiritual growth in these four areas: a) personal, b) communal, c) environmental, and d) transcendental.
Growth and understanding about these domains does not move smoothly from one to the next throughout life. But simply understanding each of the domains may be an enlightening experience for some. So here goes:
Personal Domain: Progress in this area means understanding oneself, developing a sense of identity, self-awareness, inner peace and joy and meaning in life.
Communal Domain: We are not alone. We should each be part of a community helping and cultivating meaningful relationships. This includes developing a love for other people, forgiveness, trust, respect, and kindness towards others.
Environmental Domain: Despite our knowledge or personal experiences, we are part of something bigger; inhabiting a living planet with numerous plants, animals, peoples and cultures. Development in this area includes oneness with nature, awe at breathtaking view, and harmony with the environment.
Transcendental Domain: Development in this area includes developing a personal relationship with the Divine, worship of the Creator, and mediation.
Now this all sounds academic and wordy. In future posts, I will make sure to give tips and application to achieve greater spiritual wellness and obtaining a healthier outlook on the meaning of life.