Person-centred Spirituality for everyone!

– this focus is to allow us all to feel important within the community of faith. We each bring great wealth and wisdom which are often overshadowed by the undue influence of the Church’s ‘important’ people – the professional clergy; the Early Fathers, the Saints, and Jesus himself.

The anima – the spirit of life which gives energy to our being – is not confined to any religion. It may be a part of one, but its nature is beyond the strictures of any faith. Many people of no faith have sensed this part of their being, and have not subsequently been drawn to religion. It is a subjective reality which underpins a core part of our existence.

Because religions are so influential and politically powerful, they instinctively react negatively to anything spiritual which is beyond their control. For this reason it is necessary to promote person-centred spirituality as a common theme, which may be developed as an aid to wholesome religious life. Its value to people of no faith tradition should not be underestimated.

The ‘person-centred’ part of this process has evolved naturally out of my experience of psychotherapy and counselling – as a client. The basic tenet is that each person is the author of her own life. What tiny particles make up the whole person I am are at least as valid as the total of the cosmos. The micro entity belongs with the macro, but is not subsumed by it.

All Faiths  –  within the prison or hospital community a person’s faith will often be important to him. Yet because of the circumstances, the person may feel drawn to explore other traditions and practices. I think particularly of prisoners who choose to join in with the Buddhist meditation, even though it’s something they may never before have done. Or a Methodist lady facing a terminal diagnosis, who invites the RC priest to hear her Confession. All faith traditions have great value for many people, and they can provide space to explore reality. Their community context often provides ‘shelter’ when people are feeling vulnerable.

Atheism   –   has too long been seen as an enemy of faith. On the contrary it has provided some helpful challenges to Christian thinking from outside. People who have no God-faith are as key to the whole of Life as believers in any religion. The ‘A-‘ before ‘theist’ suggests something missing in their make-up. Yet most of the people I know, who allow themselves to be called ‘atheist’, have their own clear views on the meaning of life and the universe. We can learn much from them, and expand our understanding. The very idea that all the wisdom of the Universe is accommodated within the limited expressions of faith communities is rather sad. It’s time for those of us with a faith to grow up, and enjoy the richly diverse spiritualities that surround us.

21st century challenges   –   Global warming, and consumerism are very immediate material issues which we all face, hopefully together. Gender co-operation between men and women – to the benefit of both – would seem to be a crucial development. We also might explore how to find richness in poverty – and thereby let go of capitalism, and communism – and discover that there is sufficient food and water for us all on this planet. We may even grow to delight in how it is possible to share the Earth in all its abundance with other people we will meet, and grow to trust.