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“Spirit” does not have to mean religion, though it may to you. Nor does it even have to mean spirituality, though it may to you. By “Spirit” we mean your response, whatever it might be, to the deepest questions we face as human beings. How do you understand the universe and our place in it? What is the meaning of life in general, and of your particular life? What do we gain and lose by aging, and by dying, and how to do we cope with these realities, both for ourselves and for others that we care about?
The intention here is not to tell you what you should think about these issues, but simply to encourage you to give them some thought, especially in the context of your own aging. The point is not to find the “right” answers, but to help you find the answers that are satisfying and that work for you.
This is both a worthwhile pursuit in its own right and a foundation on which you can set your priorities for other areas of your life.
Spirit relates to:
- Purpose, because the positive goals and activities we set for ourselves should reflect our beliefs and values, or at least not conflict with them.
- Love, because in most systems of thought, whether religious or secular, relationships with others are considered central to our true well-being; and because our aging and death affect those who are close to us, and vice versa.
- Avocation, because recreation and play restore our mental / spiritual well-being; because how we spend our spare time ought to be in tune with our beliefs about what is proper and beneficial; and because we may want to engage in religious or spiritual activities depending on what our beliefs are.
- Security, because our beliefs about what really matters in life will influence how we use our money, and how much we expect to need. And because aging and death have financial consequences to ourselves and to others.
- Health, because our beliefs about our place in the universe and the meaning of our lives should influence how much importance we place on the care of our bodies; because there are links between the vitality of body and mind; and because aging and death are basic physical processes, even in cases where their biggest impact is in our minds and hearts.
Topics and sub-topics under Spirit
- Your beliefs and principles: What do you believe, what should you believe, and how do you apply your beliefs, principles, and values to your life?
Your beliefs may be religious or not, spiritual or not, strong or weak, constant for life or continuing to evolve – but however they are characterized, they either deeply affect all other areas of your life, or they miss the opportunity to have that impact. Either way, what you believe in and how you believe make a huge difference.
- Identifying what you really believe: If you profess a set of beliefs, do you really believe what you profess? And if you don’t profess any beliefs, should you – and if so, how do you choose?
- Affirming or changing your beliefs: If you decide that you need to recommit yourself to your existing beliefs, or that you should be adopting new beliefs instead, how do you implement these decisions?
- Applying your beliefs: How can you apply your beliefs to your decisions about the rest of your life, and to the common details of your daily life?
- The meaning of life: What is life in general about, and what should your life in particular be about?
Given your beliefs, and given the realities of your life and of those around you, what should your priorities be in life – right now, and as you continue on life’s path?
Given the alternative, most of us hope to live into old age. But what will we find there, and how will we cope with it? What can we do now to put us in the most favorable position? And how do we deal with aging in our loved ones?
- Positive views of aging: Is aging a good or bad thing? How do we adopt a positive attitude toward it?
- Preparing for aging: How can we arrange our lives so that the natural effects of aging will cause minimum disruption to ourselves and others?
- Coping with aging: Sources of ideas, information, and help.
How do we make sense of our own death, and that of others? How do we prepare, in our minds and hearts, and in other ways?
- Spiritual practices: Turning your spiritual beliefs into a source of strength, peace, and virtue
There are long-established practices that help people ground themselves according to their particular beliefs and ideals. As with all practices of any kind, however, there are more effective and less effective ways of pursuing them.
©2016 Still River Retirement Planning Software, Inc. / RetirementWORKS, Inc.