Ask a Therapist: On Spiritual Rest
Q: I feel disconnected and aimless in my life and I am struggling to feel like there is any purpose in my days. Can you help me find some meaning again?
A: When people express that they are listless and feeling apathetic, it could be an indication that they are spiritually fatigued and in need of some care in the spiritual aspect of their lives. Spiritual rest has less to do with any particular spiritual belief system and more to do with the sense of connection with something bigger than themselves to provide purpose and meaning to their lives.
People who are spiritually fatigued are often searching for answers to existential questions about meaning, purpose, and significance. Often people who are fatigued in the area of spirituality are feeling disconnected from their current spiritual connections or beliefs or they may have never explored this part of themselves in any kind of meaningful way and so they have a deficit of energy in this area of their lives.
There are many ways to restore what is depleted in this spiritual realm of your life when you are feeling lost or weary. One way is to simply make some time in your schedule to reflect on (and possibly journal about) your spiritual journey so far - what does that mean to you in this season? Where do you see purpose or significance in your life now? Where have you felt most connected to meaning or transcendence in the past? Who are some of your closest spiritual connections - family, friends, mentors, authors, speakers - and how have they influenced your thoughts about spirituality? In what ways do you feel tired in this area of your life? Where have you felt or do you feel closest to spiritual things?
After some initial exploration and building awareness about some sources for your spiritual fatigue, you may want to take additional steps in response to what you uncovered. Perhaps you want to connect or reconnect with a church or faith community. You may be inclined to take a course, join a group, or follow along with a podcast exploring spiritually-relevant topics. You may want to explore prayer or meditation, read some sacred texts or books, or spend some time in solitude or stillness in nature. You may feel compelled to reach out to a trusted friend, spiritual mentor or director, or to connect with a therapist for some conversations around this important aspect of your overall well-being.
We all have a need to make meaning of our experiences and often applying this spiritual lens to our circumstances can result in tremendous comfort and clarity. Just like the other forms of rest we have been discussing, spiritual rest is something that can be forgotten in our daily lives and yet it has a significant impact on our health and wellness because it connects us to something bigger and leaves us with fewer feelings of isolation and despair. If you listen to your feelings of disconnection by seeking to honour and understand this part of yourself, you may just find a pathway to restore that spiritual vitality that has been missing.
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