LQ Partner Annie Perrin continues her series on effective management of energy. In this post, she explores spiritual energy, which is drawn from purpose, meaning and alignment with individual values. Says Annie: in its simplest form, it's derived from love.
To be at their best, human beings need four sources of energy: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. All four are interconnected; none are sufficient on their own. The focus of this blog post is spiritual energy.
What is spiritual energy?
In its simplest form, it's the energy that derives from love. Love of self, love of others. A virtuous cycle of self-care in order to care for others.
Here are some components of spiritual energy:
- A connection to something greater than ourselves.
- A sense of meaning and purpose in our life.
- An alignment between what we believe in (our values) and how we live (our behaviours).
For some, a connection to something greater involves a belief in a higher consciousness. It might be referred to as the Divine, God, Goddess, Nature, Mystery, etc. This is highly personal and individual. People who believe there is something beyond themselves can derive a source of energy that fuels them – particularly when faced with uncertainty or adversity.
Many (famous) people are vivid examples of this: Martin Luther King Jr and Gandhi, for example. Their belief in a higher being was a source of energy, enabling them to endure hardship. In spiritual terms, a relationship to a higher power is referred to as ascent – an orientation to an idealised source of love and light.
Research tells us that people who believe in a source greater than themselves are more resilient. Belief in a higher presence provides the opportunity to tap into a source of unconditional love and support.
Many people who participate in organised traditions also have access to a community (a sangha in Buddhism). Being in a community can offer additional support, connection, and a sense of belonging, that fuels spiritual energy and resilience.
The energy paradox
The second source of spiritual energy comes from the sense that our lives have meaning. That what we do matters. A meaningful and purposeful life is one that contributes value to others. A life that makes the world a better place. When we contribute and serve others, we paradoxically feel better about ourselves. We have more energy. Just as when we exercise physically (even though we expend energy when we work out), we are simultaneously building our physical capacity.
Spiritual energy is the same – we generate it by giving to others. Typically, the expression of our purpose is connected to the unique gifts and talents that each of us possesses. When we use these gifts to serve others, we derive the most powerful source of spiritual energy.
Sometimes, identifying these gifts and putting them to use is a lifelong process of discovery. People who are fortunate enough to find alignment between their talents and their work report a joy – and boundless energy associated with their work. The process of discovering our unique gifts – or our essence in spiritual literature – is often associated with the soul. This soul work is associated with descent – going deeply inward to discover our true nature.
Belief and behaviour
The third source of spiritual energy comes from alignment. The alignment between our values and our behaviour, or “walking our talk”. The greater the alignment between our beliefs and behaviours, the greater our spiritual energy.
In contrast, every time we violate our values it’s a big drain on our energy. But when we act in alignment, we feel good about ourselves. This fuels us in such a way that we are likely to continue the pattern – thus creating a virtuous cycle.
Some ideas to help you develop your spiritual energy:
Questions for spiritual reflection:
- What are my unique talents and gifts?
- How might I serve others?
- What brings me joy and fulfillment?
- What is life’s purpose for me?
- What are my values?
Tips and practices:
- Create regular time for quiet reflection, meditation and/or prayer (preferably in the morning).
- Spend time in nature.
- Spend time in silence.
- Clarify your values. What do you believe in? What is non-negotiable?
- Align your behaviour to your values. The greater the alignment, the greater the energy.
- Identify your unique gifts. How can I share these with others?
- How do I regularly care for myself in order to care for others?
For my next post, I'll be looking at emotional energy, and its place in our life journey.