Welcome to Spirituality and Your Health! In the months that follow we will be exploring the role spirituality has in healing and maintaining health, both physically and emotionally. But before we jump into the health aspect, we need to define what spirituality is. By default, many people think “religion” in association with spirituality. A spiritual person is thought of as someone who prays a lot and sings hymns and is generally very devout. So taking care of one’s spiritual side means dressing in our Sunday best and sitting in a pew for an hour, right? Yes. And no. It depends on who you are.

Let’s begin with the basics. Every person on earth has a longing. There’s a desire, a fire burning in our hearts, a pull that lives deep within us telling us we need to do something, be somebody, find our place in the world, define who we are, to belong in this life. This is the spark of creation itself. It is the driving passion that makes us feel alive when we are indulging it. All people have this longing, it is with us when we are born. We cannot choose to have this fire, we can only choose how it manifests. That choice–what we do with our fire–is spirituality.

Spirituality can be affirming or it can be destructive. Some spend their fire energy, or eros, doing good for others: teaching, volunteering, healing. Others use their eros to satisfy something for themselves: painting, taking classes, rebuilding engines, praying. And some people waste their eros on drugs or alcohol, being a couch potato, indulging in meaningless relationships. These people who neglect their spirituality often feel lost, listless, and lacking in purpose and identity. Neglecting spirituality is the same as neglecting your body–eventually you’re going to get sick.

To find your eros you must look within. Having money and power are common passions in this world but are not spiritual pursuits. Whenever you are looking outside yourself for happiness, you have left your spirituality behind. Getting that promotion or buying that new home may make you feel good for a while, but you are not expressing yourself with those things. Sharing, creating, nurturing, appreciating, wondering–these are spiritual activites. You know you’ve found your eros when you like something so much you wouldn’t ever regret spending money or time to do it, because to give it up would mean giving up a piece of yourself.

This fire is your gift to the world, it’s what you’re on this earth for. Nurturing your spirituality keeps your inner Self happy and in balance, which strengthens your physical body against disease. How? Disease is really dis-ease. If you are not at ease with yourself you become more susceptible to outside influences, including viruses and bacteria. We all know it is easier to get sick when we are feeling stressed. Stress is a result of imbalance, too much of an emphasis on one area of life. Stress creates dis-ease which leaves us open to disease. That is why an entire office can be exposed to a virus but not everyone will get sick. Those who stay physically healthy tend to be the people who are also spiritually healthy.