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The Primary Element Of A Spiritual Experience

By Stephanie Reed

One, if not the most important element when looking to create a spiritual or religious experience is that of focus. Religion often requires continued study of the bible and other biblical texts. Spirituality, being content and process, often requires the individual be focused on body, mind and spirit. Once the individual is focused, it can be much easier to achieve and maintain a spiritual experience.

The search for truth is a difficult journey. For, while some individuals claim to have found the truth, the light and the way, it remains something which has to be taken as blind faith. As such, there are believers, non-believers, searchers and skeptics living in most communities.

A number of individuals find it difficult to define religion versus spirituality. One of the best definitions is that spirituality is something that can be felt and not seen. Whereas, religion is often something that can be seen like the bible or other biblical text, or shared like hymns during a traditional church service.

In some cases, there are churches in which religion and spirituality can be seen, felt and heard at every service. While, there are other churches which simply go through the same ritualistic process each time people gather. Yet, it is often those who celebrate outside the church and church walls who often proclaim having had the most magical, mystical or spiritual of these experiences overall.

Gendlin, a philosopher has one of the best definitions of spirituality to date. In this definition, Gendlin believes that spirituality is a feeling or an essence that grazes the body with a soft brush like feeling. As such, this physical aspect then merges with an emotional response to create an overall release of negativity from body, mind and spirit.

Spirituality could also be defined as an overall feeling of newness and transcendent growth after having participated in a physical experience which created an emotional response. While some believe this experience can be felt as a bodily sensation, others believe the feeling is psychological. Whether emotional, or physical, feeling any aspect of bodily change most likely also indicates an emotional response.

An emotional response can be brought about due to happiness and joy, sadness or sorrow. Some of the deepest of these experiences have often been felt due to the loss of a loved one, the loss of a pet or having to move away from friends at an early age. Others, when children are born, graduate, get married or move away. Whether a new couple, a new home, a new baby or a lost loved one, all can be considered spiritual or religious experiences.

While there have been attempts by mental health professionals to use spirituality and religion in treatment, most have now moved away from the idea. For some, recalling religious childhood memories has been known to create more psychological issues. While in others, it just seems less than ethical to question an individual about religious or spiritual identity unless directly associated with an on-going mental or physical issue.

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