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Communication Difficulties in Spirituality

May 25, 2013

I was just realizing a theme that is a constant undercurrent for us all: the problem of what words mean… what they may convey… in areas we tend to call “spiritual”.  Already, with that term, confusion can enter.  What do I mean, you mean by “spiritual”? Or “spirituality”?

But lest this bog down, we’ll not enter that discussion for now.  A bit more specifically, I’ve long pondered what may be conveyed to different people by terms like “spiritual disciplines” (yuck, to some) or “spiritual practices” or  “habits” or “rituals”, etc.  There is a lot of overlap and generally not much defining when such terms are used, either in speech or in writing.

Does “spiritual disciplines” seem like a contradiction in terms to you? (I think it does to some, because “discipline” sounds negative, confining, or somehow odious to them. To others, it may be a positive, even inspiring term).  Whether you prefer “disciplines”, “practices” or some other term for those things done regularly and intentionally, it does seem clear that they are vital to an actively growing life.  And, to me, all of life is “spiritual” on one level or another.  I see “spiritual” as the larger category and term, including the “mundane” or “secular” or “ordinary”, not the other way around.

I don’t mind “disciplines” because the kind of regularity and intentionality implied is part of the power involved.  And it rightly implies that we may need to do whatever it is we have decided (and generally like) to do at certain times out of mere habit or commitment, not because we feel like it at the moment….

Your thoughts and experiences?

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