When it comes to our healing journey, there’s one aspect that oftentimes gets overlooked—spirituality. Spirituality often gets mistaken for religion, but spirituality is broader than religion, it’s a simple belief system that helps us connect to ourselves, others and things beyond us.
It’s this path to finding spirituality that inspired the chapter, ‘God of My Understanding’ in ‘Conversations with a Rattlesnake’, the book by Kim Barthel and Theo Fleury.
“To me, spirituality is all about relationship. Most addicts are traumatized in their family of origin situations, so what they really lose faith in is relationship. That’s a setup for addiction. The trauma causes emotional pain for which the best answer is spirituality.” — Theo Fleury from ‘Conversations with a Rattlesnake’
There is now even more evidence to support the importance of spirituality for those who have suffered trauma or are dealing with addictions and mental health issues, as a new research study shows that spirituality activates the brains reward circuits.
Religious and spiritual experiences activate the brain reward circuits in much the same way as love, sex, gambling, drugs and music, report researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine. In addition to the brain’s reward circuits, the researchers found that spiritual feelings were associated with the medial prefrontal cortex, which is a complex brain region that is activated by tasks involving valuation, judgment and moral reasoning. Spiritual feelings also activated brain regions associated with focused attention. [Science Daily]
So what is spirituality to you? If you’ve not yet found it, let’s just look at the mere definition of spirituality:
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of their being; or the ‘deepest values and meanings by which people live. Spirituality is often experienced as a source of inspiration or orientation in life. It can encompass belief in immaterial realities or experiences of the immanent or transcendent nature of the world. [Wikipedia]
If you don’t identify with “God”, that’s okay. That’s why Kim and Theo titled a chapter in their book, ‘God of My Understanding’, because that’s what it is. Spirituality is all about connection with others, connection with yourself and connection with something greater than yourself.
– Written by Amber Craig