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Is Spirituality Inherent or Learned?
Each of us has a spirit, a distinct inner being that makes us who we are. Our spirit is more than just a personality. It encompasses our beliefs in what is right and wrong, our values and morals, our religious beliefs, our internal driving force, our deepest feelings, and the elements that make us peaceful, fulfilled, and happy. We come into this world as a spiritual being, but we also learn about and develop ourselves along life’s journey.
We all have a voice inside of us that makes us unique. Call it a soul or a conscience, this voice is a sense of "knowing" that we’ve had since we were young. It feels right, it feels like it belongs to us, and it’s always been there since we can remember. As children we already have a distinct self, which incorporates a natural curiosity, energy, and a desire to love and be loved.
Our parents’ nurturing and guidance promotes confidence, and with that confidence comes self-esteem and the need to discover more about who we are, what makes up the world around us, and how we fit into that world. Our parents share their spiritual beliefs with us, and we are included in relevant practices and rituals. Faith in a higher power or universal energy source gives us a sense of connectedness, purpose, and comfort.
As we mature we start to understand what makes us happy, what we are drawn to, and what gives us satisfaction in our lives. We establish our likes and dislikes based on what feels right to us. We start making choices as we enter adulthood that reflect who we feel we are as individuals, starting with choosing courses of study and career paths, engaging in hobbies and other pleasurable activities, and associating with people who make us feel good and bring out the best within us. Through the years we come to understand more about ourselves through these interpersonal relationships, individual abilities and talents, and religious or other spiritual affiliations.
Through reflection we can see that we have a sense of self that has always existed, and as we follow our path we learn from others and from the world around us. This enhances our experiences, helps us to understand our true oneness, and clarifies our connection to all living things. During the course of our lives we continue to get to know the very essence of who we are by taking the time to tune in to our inner voice, by living fully in the moment, and through the lessons we’ve learned along the way.
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