Religion and spirituality can make midlife a happy and fulfilling experience
I was born a Jew and relate to Judaism more as a culture than a religion, which is based on belief and following proscribed rituals. Up until 1980, it never appealed to me.
In that year, I had a transformational experience, in which I was able to distinguish my Self as an "observer" of my thoughts, emotions, feelings, points of view and body.
This led me to start a lifelong spiritual (connecting to something greater than ourselves) journey into discovering my true nature. I began studying and practicing different religious and spiritual traditions from the East, especially Buddhism. It appealed to me because it wasn't based on a belief in a God, but rather based on a direct connection with life.
It became clear to me that while I haven't been religious, I do consider myself to be spiritual. This is a common distinction made by North Americans that isn't common in other cultures. Maybe that distinction isn't important.
Now in my early sixties, spiritual practice has given me a greater sense of comfort and freedom. I've come to realize that I'm not the "I" that I've always considered myself to be. Spiritual practice or religious rituals, if you prefer, are part of the larger game I'm engaged in, called waking up.
Whether it's through faith or spirituality isn't important. Engaging in either one can be a source of liberation and happiness.
Some studies on
show that past the age of fifty, participation in faith and spirituality increases.
The role of faith and spirituality in midlife: some questions to consider
1. What does faith mean to you? 2. What does spirituality mean to you? 3. What's your resistance to the notion of religion? of spirituality? 4. What role does each play in your midlife transition? 5. What are the benefits of developing your faith? 6. What practices are you willing to take on to develop your religious orientation and spirituality?