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My passion is to explore the writer’s journey and to support writers, wherever they are on that journey. At the New Year, I revisit my vision and my mission. I restate my manifesto. That is what I’m doing today.
I think of writing as a spiritual adventure. But what does that mean? When I say “spiritual,” what am I getting at? Here are some thoughts about what the word does and does not mean as I use it.
What Spirituality Isn’t
Spiritual does not necessarily mean religious. Many of my readers follow traditional religions. Many do not. It is all good. Some people are called to specific religious paths. But you don’t have to be affiliated with an organization or believe in an established faith to be a spiritual person.
Being spiritual doesn’t necessarily mean engaging in spiritual practices. You may pray, read sacred texts, or meditate—and all of those are important actions if they are right for your particular path. But you don’t have to do any of them to be spiritual. Spirituality is a way of viewing and being in the world which may or may not include specific practices identified as “spiritual.”
Being spiritual does not necessarily mean you believe in God or anything supernatural. Is God the male being depicted in the Western traditions? Is there a Source, a Force, or an Intelligence that unifies us all? Are there beings who exist on planes we do not have access to? Or is there just us, humans and other living beings, getting by as best we can in the material universe? Any of these ways of viewing existence can be spiritual. Among my readers are people with deep beliefs in a personal God or Goddess. There are also pantheists, spiritual agnostics and spiritual atheists— I fall in there somewhere. We are people who don’t believe in a traditional God or who just don’t know what exists beyond the evidence of our senses. We are still deeply spiritual.
Being spiritual does not mean you have all the answers. I’m very skeptical of people, faiths, and organizations that claim to have answers, especially ones who believe they have the only answers and that everyone else is wrong. In fact, I think those people are not spiritual at all. I don’t think any of us has answers. I believe what we have are questions, hopes, speculations, and guesses.The questions are what guide us, not the supposed answers of particular teachers, books, or groups.
What Spirituality Is
So, if following a particular religion, engaging in spiritual practices, believing in God, and having answers aren’t requirements for being spiritual, then what does spirituality mean? In my view, it means this:
Spirituality is a search for meaning and purpose in our lives. For writers, that search is intimately tied to writing. Writing is a means of seeking to know our place in the Universe and finding our purpose for living.
Spirituality is a commitment to doing good. That means living with compassion for all beings, human and nonhuman. It means being a good steward of the Earth. It means being honest, forgiving, and generous. It means practicing nonviolence in all things we say and do. For writers, it means bringing those commitments to our writing. It doesn't mean writing tracts declaring our beliefs or essays trying to teach people how to live, but writing from a place where our values lie even as we pen horror stories, erotic novels, humorous essays, and Facebook posts.
Spirituality is living and writing authentically.
Spirituality is living and writing mindfully.
Spirituality is living and writing with gratitude and joy.
As we start 2014, I hope you will share your spiritual writing adventure with me.
Throughout the year, I will be focusing on life strategies for writers. If you are on my mailing list, you will receive a strategy in your email weekly. If you are are not and would like to receive an inspiring and eye-opening strategy each week, click here.
Causes Jill Jepson Supports
Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife, Interational Society for the Protection of Burros and Mustangs, National Wildlife Federation,...