• Sarah M. Neal

Spirituality In Times of Crisis

During times of crisis and trauma, our spiritual beliefs and practices are not only incredibly important, but for some of us, incredibly difficult. Faith is the most difficult to obtain while our worlds feel like they are caving in on us, but that is also when it is the most important.
Photo by salem abu al qumsan on Unsplash

If you know me or my work, you know that I am a deeply spiritual person. I have been all my life. Like everyone, I had ups and downs. My spiritual beliefs and practices have changed quite a bit since childhood (I was raised Methodist and attended an Episcopal Youth Group). However, I have always sought ways to try and strengthen my connection with Divine. When I say “Spirituality” I refer to one’s own personal connection with Divinity – whatever that may look like.


I have been fortunate enough to have some wonderful teachers along my journey. At some point along the road, I even found myself in the role of a spiritual teacher and guide working with people of various faiths helping them find their own connection with Divine, even if it isn’t the same as mine.


During times of crisis and trauma, our spiritual beliefs and practices are not only incredibly important, but for some of us, incredibly difficult. Faith is the most difficult to obtain while our worlds feel like they are caving in on us, but that is also when it is the most important. It’s easy to have Faith when things are going well. It is quite another to have Faith when you feel like the world is ending.


Our futures are unknown. We may think we have some sense of control over our futures, and to a point we do, yet in reality, the future is a field of possibilities where anything can happen. Sometimes we are blessed to have wonderful things happen and reap the rewards of hard work and of miracles. Sometimes, we are struck by a sudden tragedy that throws our personal world into what can feel like Hell.


This terrifying, viral pandemic is causing a worldwide quarantine. People have lost and will continue to lose jobs, panicking consumers are hoarding groceries and supplies, our government leaders continue to disappoint and people are preaching about the End of Days.


Right now, our spiritual belief and practices are vital. Our Faith is VITAL.


Spiritual Beliefs and Practices can be a life raft in this tumultuous sea of what can seem like terrifying unknowns. Our spirituality can help us find some sense of purpose or meaning to our lives by helping us figure out what is most important to us.


When we find common ground with others concerning spiritual beliefs, it can help us feel less isolated -even while in quarantine. Finding this sense of community allows us to share what we are feeling and helps us to be able to work through those feelings instead of keeping them bottled up.


Faith can help us to find that silver lining, and it can help assure us that everything will be okay in the end. Whatever the outcome, we will find a way through it. There may be fear, pain and grief along the way, but we will get through it.


Our Spiritual Beliefs can help us release that need to “always be in control”. Not having a sense of control right now is beyond terrifying for many of us, and to be able to release that need to control everything, can take a huge weight off our shoulders. Especially when at the end of the day, we can really only control so much.


Finally, but certainly not least, studies have shown that spiritual practices such as prayer and meditation can actually help improve our physical health and even boost our immune systems. Now, I’m not saying that meditation and prayer is going to keep COVID-19 away from you, but if your spiritual practices help you release anxiety, fear, stress, and the need to control your body, mind, and spirit are spending less energy fighting those emotions and have more energy to keep you healthy. How many of us have been under so much stress at one point in our lives that we ended up getting sick? How many of us have learned the hard way that if we don’t slow down, our bodies will make us? Spiritual practices can help us do just that.


Spiritual practices can vary as much as spiritual beliefs. For some people, that may mean sitting in front of an altar and praying. For others, it may mean taking a walk in the woods or on the beach. Some people find that spiritual connection through dance, singing, playing an instrument, or creating a piece of art. Others still may find that time through gardening, knitting, or building something out of wood or metal. Spiritual practices don’t have to be sitting in silent meditation for hours on end thinking of nothing. Maybe yoga, coloring, or listening to a guided meditation works best.


Experiment. Try a variety of things. One thing this quarantine has done is provided us with access to free or inexpensive tools for spiritual practices of all types. Maybe something works for a little while and then you find something else that works better.


While I encourage everyone to do SOMETHING every day, don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day or two. These are strange times and sometimes it is really difficult to muster up whatever you need to do those practices. It’s okay.


Life is a continuous cycle of Death and Rebirth. We go through it more often that some of us may realize. Think back to the times when you felt that your own world was falling apart and then as you adjusted, things started falling into place that made things a little better. That is a death and rebirth cycle. Death doesn’t always mean a physical, biological death. Death comes in many forms.


I have no doubt that we are going through an individual and collective Death and Rebirth Cycle right now. I know it is terrifying. But I also know that these cycles are necessary for Growth and Evolution. We are here to Grow and Evolve and right now. We need a serious overhaul. In order to clear out the way for Rebirth, there must first be Death and that can seem so frightening. Change and the Unknowns can be equally daunting. However, all of that is part of the process that helps us get to that beautiful Growth and Evolution.


Our Faith, our Spiritual Beliefs and our Spiritual Practices can help us navigate through all of that frightening stuff so that we come out on the other side better than we were when we started.


I am here with you, Beloveds. We are in this together.


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