Can Spirituality Make Us Happier?
I am not sure if there is any scientific proof, but I can speak about myself. The answer is, “yes.
I guess the magic trick here is that spiritual practice gives me hope, calms my mind, and works as a safe harbor when I am in distress. It works in the present moment and for what’s about to come.
By calming my mind with prayer and meditation, I can get out of the fight-or-flight cycle and decrease my anxiety level. By giving me hope, I feel more confident when looking towards the future and know things will get better.
I have experienced that scenario several times in the past few months. Between COVID-19, homeschooling, managing lupus, and cancer in the family, there were moments I felt absolutely overwhelmed.
I felt like I was drowning several times, and my spiritual practice was the secret sauce to bring me back to a safe place, a refuge.
We live far away from our family, and there are limited people I can count on around me to help. Balancing my health and my family needs has been challenging some times.
My spiritual practice has varied from virtual group prayers to walks in nature, listening to meditation gurus. Different sources, a common goal: get more centered, and it has worked.
“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh.
The Power of Prayer
I have realized that it does not matter what religion one believes; prayer can significantly impact how we deal with adversity.
Living abroad meant meeting people from different cultures, beliefs, and faiths. It also meant finding out that our commonalities are more extensive than our differences.
We all want to be happy, healthy and be loved. We look for respect and a life with dignity. We want to have our rights to be preserved and our choices to be respected.
I have often found myself closing my eyes and asking for help in silence, knowing that I was being heard even though I could not see it. Connecting to my higher-self has helped me deal with uncertainty and adversity during challenging times.
These past 7 months have been unforgettable. Almost all of us had to re-learn how to work and study and live with our family and our community. I had to show up and put on my bravest face to continue to fight against an invisible, microscopic being called COVID-19, besides lupus and cancer.
I had to show strength for my family when I was losing control of my familiar routine – which is essential to me. Outside dynamics have disrupted parts of the foundation of my known reality, of my new identity as a lupus warrior.
While feeling in the middle of the crossfire, the calmness of a silent prayer or the solitude of a short meditation has brought me back to base 1. It gave me the clarity to deal with the unknown as an observer without getting tangled in the madness of fear.
Each one of us has our own path and definition of what happiness is. For me, it is finding my inner calm space amid life bump. It is being able to settle when things are unsettled.
It’s being able to smile with my heart, believing everything will be alright.
There is no way to happiness – happiness is the way. – Thích Nhất Hạnh