Have you ever had a spiritual feeling? Most likely, you have, but can you describe it? Well, recently, I was faced with trying to find the appropriate vocabulary for describing and identifying the spiritual feelings I have had.
I believe that we, as humans, have at least three “parts” of our being: mind, body, and spirit. If I’m asked to identify/describe mental feelings, there is a rather extensive vocabulary readily available to do so. Consider the following words: anger, glad, mad, happy, bored, afraid, sad, delighted, furious, disgusted, elated, … In some ways, the list seems to be unlimited.
If I’m asked to identify/describe my bodily (physical) feelings, again there seems to be a rich vocabulary that makes it easy for me to communicate how I feel. Some of these words/phrases are: sore, tired, nauseous, energized, cramped, pinched-nerve, numbness, tingling-sensation, Charley horse , muscle-spasm, and all of the “aches,” i.e. headache, backache, toothache, groin-ache, neck-ache, …
But, when I want to identify/describe a spiritual feeling, what are my word/phrase choices? Well, we do have a few good ones, such as: awed, secure, joyful, and uplifted. On the other hand, I feel limited when I’m attempting to describe spirituality and the feelings associated with that aspect of my being.
Is the feeling of being limited, when I attempt to describe spiritual feelings, a spiritual feeling? Hmmm….. I’m unsure, but it does beg the question: “What is a spiritual feeling?” In order to answer the question, let’s first consider the meaning of feeling. Feeling has many definitions, but for my purposes, feeling is: “conscious recognition.” So, if I’m in awe of a beautiful landscape, then I am experiencing a conscious recognition from the spiritual aspect of my being.
What is a spiritual feeling? So far, I have it defined as: “Spiritual feeling is a conscious recognition of an aspect of spirituality.” If I know what spirituality is, then perhaps, I’ll have this elusive topic nailed-down.
Recently, a friend introduced me to the following description of spirituality: “Spirituality is the individual, subjective experience of and from which a person derives purpose, meaning, and hope.” Using this description of spirituality, what would a spiritual feeling be? Let’s consider the feeling of awe. Previously, I wrote that awed describes a spiritual feeling. If that’s true, then awed is a conscious recognition of an individual, subjective experience of and from which I derived purpose, meaning, and hope. Hmm…, It doesn’t seem to fit. For example, if I look at the Grand Canyon and have a feeling of awe, then am I deriving purpose, meaning, and hope from that individual, subjective experience? I don’t think I am!
There must be another way to view the “spirit” part of my being. Let’s do some more exploring. Spirit is from the latin word spiritus, meaning breath OR spirare, meaning to breathe. When a human-being is breathing, we often consider the human to have the Qi, (Qi is not Quite Interesting:-) or energy of life. In other words, the spirit aspect of a live being is directly related to the being’s energy of life. Using the root meaning of spirit, I think it is reasonable to imply that a spiritual feeling is a conscious recognition of being alive. From my point of view, the words: awed, secure, joyful, and uplifted, seem to fit better with this view of spirit.
So, what is a spiritual feeling? For now, I’ll settle on spiritual feeling is a conscious recognition of being alive. When I have a spiritual feeling, I’m experiencing a feeling that comes directly from my energy of life. Having stated that, I’ll now try to find more than the before-mentioned four words to identify/describe a spiritual feeling. Consider the following: content, calm, alive, frail, insecure, peaceful, quiet, shaky, tough, solid, bold, adequate, immortal, empty, relaxed, exhausted, vivacious, helpless, …
Perhaps, there’s always a spiritual feeling that precedes any other type of feeling. After all, the spiritual feeling comes from our life energy and we must be alive in order to feel. Think about it! If you are feeling angry (mental feeling), then perhaps you first felt inadequate (spiritual feeling). Or, if you have a headache (physical feeling), then perhaps you first felt exhausted (spiritual feeling). This could help explain why spiritual health is so important to our overall health.
What do you think or feel? :-)