Spiritual language is an unexplored concept for many seeking support in specific areas of their lives. Quite often these clients were senior leaders who had a great deal of responsibility and were feeling the struggle, stress and burnout of their work. Many times the coaching process was a great opportunity to have a sounding board for issues impacting the work environment. Professional issues may top the list for why someone needs a coach, but it may surprise you to know how often a sense of longing, dis-ease or restlessness surfaces while exploring these issues. These can be signals for issues actually at the core of the client’s spiritual dimension (for more on the dimensions of well being, read our previous article). One of the reasons a client may be unable to self-identify the root of the problem is they have little to no language to describe what they are experiencing.
At times, an emerging spiritual crisis is paralyzing. This paralysis can manifest in an inability to make decisions or can even result in untypical behaviors. Physicians, CEOs and even Pastors experience this. When a spiritual coach or counselor begins to help articulate what is happening, there is a tremendous sigh of relief. “Oh thank goodness. Someone knows what I’m talking about” becomes a common response. So, what is this new spiritual language?
"When the act of reflection takes place in the mind, when we look at ourselves in the light of thought, we discover that our life is embosomed in beauty." -Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spiritual Laws
This is where conversation is so valuable. As client and coach navigate this dimension, a new spiritual language emerges. One concept of this is found in the spiritual world of Zen and is named the Beginner’s Mind. Beginner’s Mind is about discovering the essence of our humanness. It invites an “unaffected curiosity—unclouded by conditioning.” As Zen master Shunrya Suzuki notes, “Voicing innocence, like children, unafraid to admit their status as a beginner, to say to the world, ‘I don’t know. Please show me.’”
The poet Rainer Maria Rilke described Beginner’s Mind like this: “Be patient to all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. Resolve to be always beginning—to be a beginner!”
Rilke reminds us our spiritual journey is a tremendous opportunity to just ask questions. To enter this time as an adventurer, an explorer or even pioneer, especially when we bring this new conversation into the workplace. Remember, this is not a religious conversation; rather a spiritual conversation traveling to a space of new awakenings for renewal and hope for all aspects of life.
A new American Spirituality shows our spiritual and psychological lives as merging together. This has been seen as a powerful way to understand and work with our human nature that can often be very ego-centric. It is through the combined strength of these two disciplines—psychological therapy and spiritual practice—the seemingly incompatible quests of developing healthy ego and transcending a separate sense of self actually become one and the same.
Ready to get started on your Spiritual Language? Read Part 2 for questions to ask yourself as you begin your journey into this mystery of your soul, your spiritual dimension.
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Need help with your spiritual dimension, or any other dimensions of your Wheel of Well Being? Give us a call 24x7x365 for the support you need or to schedule an appointment with a counselor or peer coach.
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About VITAL WorkLife
VITAL WorkLife, Inc.™ is a national behavioral health consulting company providing support to individuals facing life’s challenges, while also assisting organizations in improving workplace productivity. This approach of helping employees and their families, while also guiding organizations, builds healthy, sustainable behaviors. Visit us at VITALWorkLife.com.