Spirituality can help increase a person’s psychological health

Q: I read your column regularly and for the most part agree with much of the advice you give to your readers, but I have a concern.

I have noticed that you never refer to the church when you are giving your advice and that you seem to refrain from any and all spiritual references.

That is puzzling for me. My church has for all of my life been a major life support system. It nurtures my spirituality, and when life itself takes a turn for the worse for either me or my family, it is my church that pulls all of us through and encourages us to resume a more righteous lifestyle.

I am not sure that I could continue on without my church, so I am interested in why it is that you avoid the church in your writing.

I have noticed that I most often get into difficult chats when I ignore my mom’s advice and charge ahead with my opinions on the government or the church. However, I am going to take a chance, and despite my mother’s advice, talk about spirituality.

Part of the problem with spirituality is that it is at times difficult to know what people mean when they say that they are spiritual.

As best as I can understand it, being spiritual means being able to look beyond our own personal or even selfish desires and see the beauty of the universe for what it is. It is that early morning on the deck, sitting with a cup of freshly brewed coffee in the effervescence of the rising sun. It is that moment of silence for capturing the love of one person for another, and it is that complete awe of every little piece of magic that nature has to offer to us.

The problem in today’s world is that spirituality is not shared to the extent that it once was. Apparently, the number of people channeling their spirituality through the church is dwindling.

In 1971, 88 percent of us claimed an affiliation with a Christian church. By 2011, it had dropped to 66 percent.

At the same time, those saying that they did not have a religious affiliation rose from four percent to 24 percent.

The figures about non-Christian churches are a little more confusing.

Other religions have risen from four percent to 11 percent in the same time period.

At the same time, the number of new immigrants to Canada affiliated with other religions rose from 22 percent to 39 percent.

We are not sure if the number of those affiliated with other religions is higher because more of them are affiliated with their churches or if their percentages are higher because more of them are choosing this country for their home.

The problem throughout all of this is that people who claim some sense of spirituality tend to be psychologically healthier for having done so. They accept responsibilities for their own well being, they are more sensitive to the needs of other people and they tend to offer more guidance to their children.

However spirituality plays itself out, either through the church or personal meditations, other people have found that spiritual moments support them through their more difficult challenges.

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