Whatever is at the center of our life will be the source of our security (sense of worth), our guidance (sense of direction), wisdom (perspective/attitude), and power (capacity to act). ~ Stephen Covey
Spirituality is often used interchangeably with the word religion. For the purposes of this discussion, I would like to make clear from the start that the use of spirituality in this context has nothing to do with religion. Religion may serve as a vehicle toward greater spirituality for some, and for others not.
Spirituality in the context of one of our five life dimensions is about that which is at the center of our life. Spirituality is that which everything else revolves around. Our center, or our spirituality, provides us with a foundation, a context, a central place for which everything we seek to incorporate into who we are, and who we are becoming, can attach it’s self. The essence of who we are and what we are about can be found in this deepest, most defining part of our self. This is what I mean when I refer to spirituality, or our center.
From our center – the hub of our values, our wants and our needs – we gather information about each next step we take in life. When our center is made of solid guiding principals, values and beliefs, we have a rich resource from which to draw when we are faced with difficult decisions and situations in our life.
There are many misguided centers on which we can live our lives. As Covey describes in his popular book, “7 Habits of Highly Successful People.” To read about 8 examples of centers that can lead to destructive outcomes, click here.
By centering our life on meaningful principles, or core beliefs that guide our actions, we become grounded in who we are, what we believe, and on what foundation we will build our life. Upon your death, how do you want others to remember you? In his book, 7 Habits, Covey encourages the reader to think of three people who will speak at your funeral and what you would like them to say about you. What is said about a person after they die reflects the meaning conveyed about their life – the meaning of their character.
Pause for a minute. Think about how you want to be described – the characteristics (adjectives) that you would like others to see in you – the “kind of person you would like to be” whether or not you are that person today. For example, I might want others to say: “she is honest, respectful, curious, joyful, compassionate, and responsible.”
In the example above, the principles of honesty, respectfulness, confidence, compassion, curiosity, joyfulness and responsibility are solid, unchanging principles. These principles don’t react to anything. They are deep, fundamental truths, classic truths, and generic common denominators. By centering our lives on timeless, unchanging principles, we create a fundamental shift in how we live. A principle- centered life puts everything else into perspective. Around these principles you can build solid relationships with an intimate partner, family, friends, churches, work, and any other area of interest in your life. All of the relationships you have can then be guided by you and the fundamental truths of who you are.
These principles, whatever principles you incorporate into the center of your life, can repeatedly be validated through your own experiences. As you explore various principles, testing them out, living from them – you can begin to understand your own development – you can see the changes that stem from this shift in focus. With each success you experience from living a principle-centered life, you can begin to increase your knowledge and understanding of yourself.
Your center can serve as a source of security and provide you with an immoveable, unchanging, and unfailing core that will enable you to see change as a concrete possibility. Discovering what is at your center and defining your spirituality offers you a destination for your life. Our spirituality serves as a map for our life, with our principles defining the way.