Spirituality as task
When I was a child, what I now understand by spirituality was linked to religious practices. I used to pray every night before going to sleep and every morning upon waking up. Rather than connecting to the prayer, I remember doing it as a very important task that, if I didn't perform, bad tings might happen to me. I remember also being afraid of God, this angry old man who can see you even if you hide, even if you are under the table. What thoughts might I think so that I please him and he does not wreak havoc on me and my loved ones?
Until one day someone shared this image of Jesus in a prayer - what if Jesus were your friend, someone who is always by your side, sharing each experience you have and guiding you gently. I started speaking to this friend, and given my religious education and my understanding of God and Jesus, my relationship with God might have started to shift. Prayer seeped through and it became less of a task.
Spirituality and nature
Later in life when the practice of daily prayer as task slid away from me, where opening my mind to other religions stirred various emotions, when I stopped going to church - something else happened. I remember reading somewhere 'What if God was in Nature'. This thought really spoke to me because I did not seem to find him, connect to him in overly decorated buildings, in rituals that sounded tired and were done awkwardly rather than joyously.
Around that time, this might have been my spiritual awakening, freed from any religious dogma and fear attached to it. I started questioning who god was and how might I invite such an entity to bring joy, ease, love into my life. Could it be that this god was not one but many? Could it be them in the fresh grass I could step on barefoot, in the rough feel of a tree trunk, in the melodious chirp of a bird? Could it be god, a god, in the food I tasted and cherished while it nourished me, in the water that clenched my thirst?
Spirit and Soul
I seem to have experienced it as such and recently read about it too - It is the Soul that gives birth to the Spirit. In a way, we create gods in the same way we are created by them.
My most recent spiritual encounter has been with The Wise Mother. I do not wish to share too much for fear of reducing the encounter to words. At the same time, I wish to create an image that we might all recognize so that we remember our spiritual experiences.
The Wise Mother is small and old and brown. She holds a thick stick, not so much for support, it seems, but more for mimicking a straight and strong spine. There is an immortal age shining through her bright eyes. I found peace and joy looking at her loving smile.
This is a Mayan Doll. I am using this photo from Trama Textiles website where they explain the symbolism of these objects. Until I find the courage and clarity to draw The Wise Woman, these other symbols might do.