Can Spirituality Be Measured?
A study conducted in 2013 examined the possibility of measuring spirituality by self-measurement. The study found a way to measure and visualize what many in the spiritual community have been saying for years; effectively that spirituality can reduce stress and create feelings of connectedness. [Sources: 3, 14]
In summary, the results show that a high level of spirituality or religious beliefs are associated with lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression. It’s an interesting idea. We aren’t saying you are more religious because you go to church more than anyone else or pray more than your neighbours. And conversely you aren’t ‘more spiritual’ by conducting a gratitude practice or meditating regularly.
But, these actions, help to make you feel more connected and help to improve your overall wellbeing. So yes, you can measure your spirituality or religious connection by how good you feel.
And what a simple concept. Simply by tapping into how good we are feeling, is a sign of how truly connected we are to source, God, the universe whatever you may wish to call it.
When people have health or mental health problems, spirituality and religious practice can be used as a fantastic form of coping. Secondly, it can shape the coping process, i.e. using prayer to overcome the challenges associated with health and psychological problems. [Sources: 6]
Spirituality and religiosity are also components of people’s psychological well-being. By showing that the application of these spiritual principles is both practical and measurable, acceptance and spirituality can be promoted even in their own spiritual development, not only in terms of health, but also in the development of one’s own mental health. [Sources: 5, 6, 13]
The willingness to let go and allow what ever is meant to be, be – is a great way to measure spiritual growth, as well as a measure of one’s own sanity and well-being.
And on the flip side. There is some thing to be said about the coping mechanisms we turn to when something painful or something that causes suffering to occur in our lives.
One of my favorite Tony Robbins quotes is ‘what if this is happening for me and not to me?
That shift from a victim mindset to a more empowered guided mindset has helped me personally transform my own way of thinking.
By turning those thoughts from helplessness into guided action from the lesson you are learning. You take back so much power from whatever those distressing events may be.
Believing that you are guided by a higher power, is incredibly powerful at shifting your mindset and leading to a happier and healthier life.
At this point, it seems to me that the best thing we can do is to describe the different ways in which people experience their spirituality and exercise their spiritual or religious beliefs.
In meditation for example, we experience deep inner peace and harmony, and a feeling of selflessness. That’s a feeling generated by a practice that helps to bring us closer to source.
But constantly meditating, and ignoring the world around you is not a sign of spiritual growth, it’s a sign of neglect.
The drowning man
I love the joke about the drowning man and God.
There was a man living in a house by a river which began to flood. There were warnings to evacuate as the waters were expected to continue to rise. A large car drove past the man’s house and the driver said:
‘You need to evacuate, get in the car and we will take you to safety.’
To which the man refused saying that God would save him. The car leaves and the water continues to rise.
The man has to go to the second floor of his house as the water rises. Then a boat comes past and the captain says.
‘You need to evacuate, get in the boat and we will take you to safety.’
To which the man refused saying that God would save him. The boat leaves and the water continues to rise.
The water rises so high, the man has to climb onto the roof of his house. Then a helicopter comes by, drops a rope and the pilot calls out on the tannoy.
‘You need to evacuate, get in the helicopter and we will take you to safety.’
To which the man refused saying that God would save him. The helicopter pilot reluctantly leaves and the water continues to rise.
The man drowns. And as he goes heaven, he gets to speak to God.
‘What happened? I had faith that you would save me from the flood.’ He says
To which God replies. “What are you talking about? I sent you a car, I sent you a boat and I sent you a helicopter.”
The point of the joke, is that true belief whether that’s religious or spiritual sees God or source in all things good and bad. It is our practice, that helps us to identify these lessons and how to improve from them. This in itself, this constant improvement in ourselves is in fact a measure of spiritual or religious growth.
And living your life with the belief that you are guided, that you are protected. That everything that happens can be a lesson that you grow from, in turn helps you to grow as a person and a soul.
I invite you to share your thoughts on how spirituality can be measured and how we can deepen and strengthen our relationship with source.