What is important to you?
Which areas of your life offer meaning and purpose?
How do you connect to bring joy and inner peace into your life?
In this article, the areas of your life where you draw strength, hope and happiness are called “realms of spiritual connection”. They are the important relationships that you can develop to nurture and support yourself, and be healthy and happy.
Being with other people is not the only way to get connected.
As social creatures, we like to spend time with other people. We put a high value on our relationships with others. However, research has found that personal relationships are not the only source of connection (Fletcher 2020, Fisher 2011, Sessanna 2011, de Jager, Meezenbroek et al 2010, Chao et al 2002).
There are at least five (and possibly six) types of relationships that can increase our spiritual connection.
- Yourself (being alone, meditating, running, swimming, reading, writing)
- Others (friends, family, children, pets, neighbours, work mates, counsellor)
- Nature (parks, gardens, rivers, creeks, beaches, forests, mountains, lakes)
- Creativity (knitting, drawing, painting, photography, making, singing, playing)
- Something bigger (cosmos, universal love, self-compassion, forgiveness)
- Religion, for some people (God, Allah, Buddha, Jesus, faith, prayer, worship).
As this model shows, spirituality is not just about religion. For some people, connecting with these domains may include religion. Many people connect spiritually through five realms and do not belong to a religion or a faith community. It is up to your personal choice. You know yourself better than anyone else!
Connectedness helps physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
We can experience connectedness or disconnectedness in each realm. Our capacity for connectedness has a positive affect on our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. If we are disconnected for some reason in any of these realms, we are likely to experience negative physical, mental, emotional and spiritual side-effects.
The message is clear. Develop and maintain your connectedness in all five or six realms. Keep the energy flowing and the relationships alive. If you recognise disconnectedness in any of the realms, try doing some of the activities listed in each realm. Seek support from a counsellor to reinvigorate your connectedness if you are disconnected.
Self to Self
Activities: Being alone, meditating, running, swimming, reading, writing.
|Comfort / comfortable||Exacerbated pain|
|Contentment||Focus on weakness or mistakes|
|Forgiveness of self||Frustration|
|Gratitude and thankfulness||Guilt|
|Integrity||Purposeless or lost|
|Self-knowledge||Uncomfortable with self|
|Serenity||Who am I?|
|Valuing||Why am I here?|
|Wellbeing and wholeness|
Self to Others
Relating to friends, family, children, pets, neighbours, work mates or a counsellor.
|Accepting others (including differences)||Accusation|
|Being of service||Alienation|
|Belonging||Communication break down|
|Feeling supported||Feeling unsupported|
|Forgiveness of others||Isolation|
|Giving & receiving love||Misunderstanding|
Self to World (Nature and Creativity)
Visiting parks, gardens, rivers, creeks, beaches, forests, mountains, lakes.
Activities: cooking, knitting, drawing, painting, photography, making, singing, playing.
|Appreciating art||Blocked by inner critic|
|Craft||Lack of expression|
|Creating/making art||Lack of place|
|Curiosity||Missing the outside & nature|
|Embodiment||Unable to engage in arts practice|
|Environment||Unable to see the beauty of life|
Self to Something Bigger
Dwelling in the cosmos, universal love, self-compassion, forgiveness.
|Able to hold paradox||Aloneness|
|Bliss||Inability to transcend the present|
|Celebrating life||Lack of hope|
|Expansion||Lack of faith|
|Reason to exist and live|
Self to Something Bigger (Religion)
Believing in God, Allah, Buddha, Jesus, faith, prayer, worship.
|Belief / afterlife / reincarnation||Backsliding|
|Faith meeting place or community|
(e.g. church, temple, mosque, synagogue, sangha, forest, etc.)
|Loss of connection with religious peers/leaders/rituals/god|
|Heaven||Loss of religious faith|
|Holy||Questioning ‘why did the Divine allow/cause this? ’|
|Living in accordance with law/lore/guidelines for living|
|Prayer / prayer group|
|Religious leader / spiritual director / teacher (clergy, imam, monk, nun, priest/priestess, rabbi, spiritual friend, etc.)|
|Rituals (e.g. mass, sabbath, prayers, puja, mantras, ceremonies, etc.)|
|Sacred texts (e.g. Bible, Koran, Torah, Bhagavad Gita, The Vedas, Tibetan Book of the Dead, Scriptures, etc.)|
Spiritual connection is important for our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Being disconnected in any of the realms can make life a struggle. To ensure that your life is happy, safe and healthy, make solid and well-worn paths between self and the six realms of spiritual connection.
Have a daily routine. Spend time in each realm. Do some of the suggested activities. Strengthen the links between your self and the realms of spiritual connection. Bring more balance and peace into your life.
I welcome your feedback on this article. Let me know your ideas. Suggest other activities in each realm. Please leave a comment below.
Let’s keep the conversation going.
Strengthening ourselves while supporting each other is a true expression of spiritual connection.