REV. BRYANT OSKVIG
“Spiritual well-being is the integration of experiences into a sense of self related to meaning and purpose in relation to others and the world. Our religious traditions give us a rich symbol system, a language and methods to examine and develop this integration. Such integration is not done quickly but requires developed habits that serve as foundation. Spiritual wellness then is thoughtful attentiveness and requires time for reflection. In the midst of all that needs to be done or could be done, it is easy to push off or avoid introspection. The questions of, ‘Where have I felt most alive in this past week, or in my friendships, or from my course work; and from where have I felt most drained and most consumed?’ get removed from calendars or never even incorporated into one’s days or weeks. Like other practices of wellness, spiritual wellness requires exercise. Just as you can’t run a marathon without training and suddenly become heart healthy — I have tried — you can’t have one significant moment of self-awareness and be spiritually well. One’s sense of meaning and purpose in relation to self and others is ever evolving as we experience new things, which requires continuous reflection and nurture.”
REV. BRANDON HARRIS
“For me, spiritual health means being in a place of living in right relationship between God and others. When I ask if someone is spiritually healthy, it’s: ‘How is your life in relationship to God, and how is that lived out in your relationship with other people?’ I think here at Georgetown, because students are so busy, when I talk to students about spiritual health, it’s about: ‘How do you find space in your daily life to remind yourself of the larger purpose of life, the reason why you’re here?’ Again, it’s: ‘How are you living in relation to God and other people?’ So, ‘Am I being snappy? Is it because I’m tired and not resting? Am I failing to see someone else’s worth and value? Am I taking time in my busy schedule to pray or to meditate or to just sit in silence?’ For me, it’s taking time in the morning for my own personal devotions, so reading scripture or prayer. In my tradition, we believe that our spiritual, mental, emotional, psychological health is all intertwined. When I’m spiritually healthy, I should be physically healthy. If I know that I’m loved, that’s part of spiritual health in my tradition — I know I’m loved by God — that’s going to help my mental health. It’s going to help me to think about how I’m taking care of my body, so that’s how, at least for me, it’s all intertwined.”
IMAM YAHYA HENDI
“Being spiritually well means, to me, a few things. Number one: being balanced in your life, being balanced between your material needs and your spiritual needs, your intellectual needs and your emotional needs. According to Islam, every human being is made of the four components: the body or the flesh; the mind and the intellect; the heart and the emotions; and the soul and spirituality. Therefore, to have a balanced person, you need to take care of the four components. So sleeping well contributes to spirituality and eating well, eating healthy, eating a balanced diet, eating what’s good. Reading contributes to spiritual well-being. For me, walking by the Potomac contributes to all of that. It’s exercise, you walk, you see God’s creations — it contributes to one’s spiritual stillness, peace. Being in good company, that contributes to spirituality also. Being in a love relationship, I don’t mean man and woman, or woman and woman or man and man — you can love yourself, you can love the trees around you, you can love your cat, your dog, you can love God, love His creations, love others. There are people who can be spiritually balanced by going to a certain religious service. Wake up in the morning and take a walk. Don’t sleep until afternoon, then rush to class, rush to the library or to the cafeteria to eat. Give up on the fast culture. Don’t rush through your lunch or dinner. You don’t have to always be on your cellphone. Enjoy your food, don’t turn on the phone. If you are reading, enjoy the words, the paper, the writing. If you are watching television, enjoy it, enjoy the moment. If you are with your friend, out for lunch or dinner, just give up on anything called ‘technology.’ Enjoy the moment. Balance your life. One of the distractive elements of our spirituality is what I call ‘boxism.’ We are born in a box, our room looks like a box, we grow up in a box, we go to school in a box, we pray in a box and when we die, they force us to be in a box down there. I say, get rid of ‘boxism.’ Get out of that box. So walk, run, swim, jog, go and enjoy.”
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