I feel like this is a topic that absorbs my thoughts and oftentimes arrests my ability to move forward. I am awe-inspired by those that have happened upon a place on their journey in life that is meaningful and gives them a deep sense of purpose. I am drawn to their thoughts and their writings, ever searching for the hidden messages and quiet lessons within. One such person, Esther Meinel Zottl author and photographer behind the beautiful and heartfelt Instagram account @ourlifeinthealps speaks of following your heart, your intuition, and that to step out in faith and trust…will…lead you to the right place. I believe her words because I have seen this happen to others, and in smaller ways, I have experienced this myself. I think we have all had those moments or occasions where we feel so deeply connected to what we are doing, that it is an almost ethereal experience. A feeling of floating gracefully through existence, connecting our inner light to a higher plane. I long for this spiritual connection and am seeking the answers to this question of life purpose.
At this point in the conversation, I have to confess to being so far out of my depth on this subject, that I would feel immensely guilty if anyone was to think that this is an informative post. It is at best a messy attempt at creating something tangible out of my thoughts and very meagre understanding. Words are tangible. If I can read my feelings, I may better understand them. What I have read about spirituality is that it is composed of the three interrelated and tightly interdependent aspects, of relationships, values and life purpose. This is probably a very simplistic view, further evidence of my meagre understanding, but I have to start somewhere.
I don’t feel disconnected from my values. I know what my values are, and aside from the natural revision of beliefs and convictions that follow human interactions, my values do not waver. I also feel quite confident in my relationships with others, regardless of the challenges sometimes faced. Where I shrink in fear is at the concept of exploring my relationship with myself. That sounds like some form of meditation, a skill for a more disciplined person than myself. I need a step-by-step program, something structured, a list I can tick, something concrete that doesn’t depend on inner reflection. I live in the world of facts and concrete. Show me and I will believe. I understand now that it is this fear of inner reflection that has informed and coloured my previous view of spirituality.
My long-held belief that exploring one’s spirituality was unnecessary has been seriously challenged. I had previously believed that it is the mind and intellect that provide answers to the big questions. Certainly, this is the case when considering the great advances and revelations made in science and medicine. But I am beginning to understand that our sense of connection to the world can not always be so consciously or explicitly defined. Instead, it is deeply intuitive. I have awoken to this subtle realisation and am eager to experience the nurturing and transformative powers of connecting with my spirit. As I embark on this intimate examination of my inner light and warmth, I have hope and faith that I am on the right path to finding meaning and purpose in life.
Despite an almost endless offering of resources and teachings on spirituality, my greatest challenge is still where to begin. Akin to learning a new language, or learning to walk, I need to start small, building on the foundations of understanding. So where does one go to start on their journey to self-discovery? I had previously mentioned @ourlifeinthealps which has been a very uplifting introduction to a spiritual mindset. Esther’s page is full of positivity and beauty, and when you read her words you can feel her honesty and gentle gratitude for life. A faithful account of herself and her family, there are joyful sentiments and words throughout expressing what she holds dear, her values, her faith, and the love and inner light and warmth she seeks to find. Her consistent messages about staying honest and faithful to yourself have been my biggest awakening. It has made me question if I have done the same. Do my actions reflect my values and my relationships? Do I know myself well enough to make decisions that are faithful to me? It has hit home in the most heartening of ways.
Another avenue, and an unexpected one, on my quest to seeking truths of myself, is in reading classical literature. I am not uninitiated in the works of classical literature. I studied it for a time at university and fell in love with the writings of Thomas Hardy, Kate Chopin, the Bronte sisters, and many others. But time and experience have a way of furnishing your understanding, and how words impress upon you in your 20’s is vastly different from that in your 40’s. In short, I have discerned meanings and messages not apparent to me before. Classical literature often reflects views on faith and hope, generally from a religious perspective, nevertheless, the writings demonstrate that the characters of depth and conviction have a true sense of their powers. In Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte talks about the heroine’s powers being in play and force, as the works of nature summoned her senses and her true nature to wake. In this enlightened state, Jane is in full command of her intuition, her soul connecting with a “Mighty Spirit”. Many other works reflect this unbridled faith in a higher power or spirit that helps guide the character’s passage through life. There is much comfort to be derived from that concept.
I will continue to seek guidance on this question. I want to feel that innate sense of being in the right place, and finding my inner light. This is such a new place for me, I welcome your thoughts on this matter, so please share your thoughts in the comments below.