Spiritual communities offer more than solace in troubled times
The December massacre at Sandy Hook school in Connecticut carved a swath of inexorable pain through all of us. Thousands reached out, flooding the city of Newtown with love and support. Those living far from Newtown were left to seek solace with each other.
Many found support through Facebook and other online sources, and many through their churches, temples and mosques. The advantage of having a spiritual community in which you are already integrally involved is enormous when troubled times appear. You have somewhere to go and kindred spirits with which to connect while feeling safe to talk, pray, cry or swear.
At this time of year, people flock to fitness centers, the fruit and veggie section of supermarkets, smoking, drinking and drugging cessation programs, and other such places for support and inspiration to live better. Perhaps an even better choice for the New Year is seeking a spiritual community where you can find support for your challenges or desired improvements, as well as new and interesting people who might introduce you to fresh ideas or activities you've never tried.
Every year, the number of people who say "I'm spiritual, but not religious" is increasing. Many turn away from dogma that they cannot relate to, searching for an identity of self through teachings that make sense. Most people want to live in congruity - believing and acting in harmony with themselves, looking for ways of cooperation rather than an existence of separation.
Identifying as "spiritual but not religious" is a way of honoring your inner truth and the realization that surely we are more than physical beings. It's hard to grow however, when we stay to ourselves and avoid nurturing that spiritual aspect. Plus, the human need for companionship and the exchange of ideas runs deep. Humans of every age thrive when they can share their innermost thoughts with understanding, non-judgmental people and be supported in their quest for meaning.
So in addition to all your other resolutions or intentions for the new year, consider searching for a spiritual community of which you can become an integral part. The rewards will surprise you.
Marketing Director of Unity Spiritual Center