In our complex world it is easy to divide "reality" into separate components, thus fail to see the interconnections between them all.
What is most exciting for me is to watch people beginning to understand the bigger picture as the dots increasingly get connected between all of these "specialities." This is happening in the field of medicine, for example, as researchers discover just how profound an effect the mind has over the body, disease, healing, etc.
As this magazine illustrates, there are also connections between our bodies, emotions, spirituality, and more.
Due to the way some Christians broadcast their faith it is sometimes surprising to some that I, as a Christian, espouse the kind of interconnectedness that includes wholistic energy, environmental stewardship, sexuality, and an appreciation for the views of other faith traditions. To me, this interconnectedness is called "life."
Not long ago I explored the scriptures to better understand the meaning of the word "spirit." While it has many nuances that include such aspects as what we would call "intelligence," "wisdom" and more, one of the more fascinating contemporary words that emerged is that of "energy."
This concept is quite at home in the Eastern traditions and philosophy. They see energy as being the core issue when it comes to physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Scripturally-speaking, spirit is necessary in order to have life. When one’s spirit is engaged then one is truly alive. Indeed, the author of all creation is sometimes called Spirit, the great Animator.
As a therapeutic counsellor I know that people are more likely to really connect with others, themselves, and the Spirit of the Universe when they move beyond fear and so open themselves to life, relationships, love, passions, and more. While opening up is quite frightening (at least at first), it is also amazing to see the kind of energy that is then released!
This process of releasing one’s energy (spirit) is known most powerfully when a person falls in love. Fear is gone and one’s heart is opened to meet the heart of another.
But this isn’t the only place one opens up to. When people engage in any activity that enlivens them, whether it be gardening, writing, doing the laundry (yes, written on these very pages!), playing with children, being in nature, supporting a worthy cause or singing a favourite song, these people are connecting to something bigger. They are being spiritual.
Very recently we have witnessed a growing concern for the well-being of the planet we call "home." Increasingly, we are realising that unless we have a healthy planet, we cannot have healthy economies, communities, bodies, etc.
My pursuit of ways to lower our demand for non-renewable energy, lower pollution, and increase the connections between people and the planet have taken me in a variety of directions. Why? Because of these activities involve the word "spirit." For me it is not only a way of saving money and trees; being passionate about the planet and human relationships is an act of spirituality. Not a pie-in-the-sky variety, but a concrete here-and-now effort to free up energy so that we might live well.
This is why I ride a bicycle more than I drive a car, why I help couples connect to each other, why I encourage people to better insulate their homes, and why I seek God’s Spirit in all that I do. All of these activities involve spirit, freeing others and me to be who we were created to be.
What could be finer than to watch energy released and life made whole?
Ian Gartshore is a therapist, minister, volunteer with a non-profit energy conservation organisation, (www.esvi.ca) and above all, a human.