And from that second firing the potter cracks the kiln open seven days later with her chisels, removing the graceful vase, tortured twice by fire after fire. Suffering is like that fire. We are lied about. We are betrayed by the shallow, the silly, the frightened. We are diagnosed. We are operated on. We are bullied. We are whispered about. We are manipulated by power. We are exposed to so much suffering. We regret. We grieve. We envy. We betray our best selves. And we suffer.
Oxytocin, a hormone that is associated with feelings of love and contentment and crucial to the mother-newborn bond, may also promote positive feelings of spirituality, according to a new study. Duke University social psychologist Patty Van Cappellen discovered that study participants receiving doses of oxytocin reported more enhanced feelings of spirituality than those who received a placebo. Van Cappellen stated “Oxytocin appears to be part of the way our bodies support spiritual beliefs” but went on to note “spirituality is […]
Because of this otherness, spiritual practices both satisfy a yearning to connect with the music of our life, while at the same time, fuel a yearning to be in a group who shares and rehearses this sense of otherness. We can say “I’m spiritual” as a result of a practice, but until we connect with others in a meaningful way, we don’t hear how our part fits into an even bigger spiritual picture.
How do you stay engaged when troubles come, when the answer isn’t the one you wanted? It may be that it’s that beautiful liturgy. But, it might also be a nagging question that you’d like to bring out into the open. It might be joy, or creativity, or weeping, or anger, or sadness. These are all ways that we stay engaged. And whatever it may be for you, it’s a step up from walking away.