There is something fascinating that happens in the cells of the heart. There is an electrical spark that is generated from somewhere in all the cells simultaneously that causes all them to work as one unit to make the heart beat. It happens in regular intervals that pumps oxygen enriched blood to all areas of the human body keeping that person alive. There is an unseen force that does this. The more medical science explores this force and answers questions about it, the more questions arise.
Thank God! How boring would life be if we had all the answers?
There is something in all of us that connects our cells together, gives them the energy, the spark of life, to run and function together as a unit, and connect together to function as a larger unit. From cells to organs to a body to an entire functioning society. Something unseen connects us all.
Spiritual attractiveness, the S in the PIES I've been practicing, isn't about what religion I subscribe to. I am deeply Christian. I have full faith and belief that Jesus is the Son of God.
The point is, am I happy with my spiritual level, growth, aspirations?
Let's get more basic. What does Spirituality mean?
Back to Brene Brown who I feel has great definitions. She defines Spirituality as: "...recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to one another by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and belonging. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives."
As a Christian, she doesn't even mention God, or any god or religion for that matter. She talks about our connections with each other.
For me, as a Christian, that starts with God and ends with God, but it can veer off from God just enough to reach others who are not connected with God as I am. In other words, it can include that as humans on this rotating marble we have commonality just from the point of living on the same planet breathing the same air. That is reason enough for connection.
For me, the S of PIES is the easiest to measure because I read the Bible, pray, and journal every day. How many chapters I have read, did I learn anything from them, how do they apply in my life today, did I remember to say my daily prayer, did I learn a new one, did I feel my spirit moved by God, and did I write in my Dear God, my best friend, journal at the end of the day, and did I make a point of listening to God speak to me as I wrote. These are all measurable. I have seen definite growth in all this.
But, it isn't enough. There is more to spiritual attractiveness than Bible thumping, or we wouldn't have so many high-minded gossiping Christians floating around from pew to pew passing judgment where their noses don't belong.
S connects with E, emotional attraction. Do I see people I encounter around me as individual human beings or as objects? Was my anger in that situation appropriate or a miscarriage of justice? Did that person earn my forgiveness? Can they earn it anyway? Did I listen before I spoke? Did I share the love of God to someone when I was given that chance without shoving God down their throat? Have I practiced acceptance of others and myself? Have I remembered that we are all worthy because we are all made in the image of God?
It still doesn't have to be that complicated. In even more simple terms, have I stopped to smell the flowers? Did I appreciate today the health and safety of my family and friends? Did I do something to uplift another? Can I volunteer in some way to help make the world a better place?
Here is where I believe the rubber really meets the road. Do I accept the people around me without feeling the need to change them? The deeper I dig into spirituality, the more I realize it's really about our relationships with those around us. Looking back at Brene Brown's definition, it's about our spiritual connections with the people around us, even the strangers.
I walk almost every morning. One of the reasons I love my walks is because it covers P, E, and S in my PIES. It's great exercise for P, the scenery and fresh air rejuvenates my emotions for E, and it gives me ample opportunity to see the people I encounter and take the opportunity to look at them and say a simple hello. When I started my walks, most people did not greet each other. It didn't take long and now there are regulars on the path who try to beat me to saying it. I love that!
The most important thing with S is to recognize our connections. Six degrees of separation, the idea that we are all six degrees or less away from everyone else. Does knowing we might all be that close to each other help you see people differently?
Tools for growing spiritually are abundant. Meditation, prayer, podcasts, books. One particularly overlooked tool is intentionality.
The first time I heard intentionality in terms of PIES growth, I thought it must have a long, drawn out definition of what it means to be intentional. No. It doesn't. It simply means to be present. The meaning is simple. The action might not be so simple if we are out of practice. I was definitely out of practice.
Dwelling on the past or worrying about the future are the opposite of intentionality. To be intentional means to be present, be in the moment, be consciously available to yourself and those around you in the here and now. Be deliberate in your words and actions at this specific moment in time. Be here.
Here I am!
Thanks for reading!