Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Car without a Driver

In one of my college course that I am currently doing, (one of the reasons that I am so absent from this blog of late) I was asked the question, "How important is spirituality to your overall well-being?"

This was my response. (You see how I cheated there? Wrote a blogpost and a school post in one fell swoop? heck yeah! That is called time management!)

Also, here is my latest post over at Ignitum Today: http://www.ignitumtoday.com/2013/09/30/beautiful-day/

To ask how important spirituality is to your overall well being is similar to asking how important health is to being healthy. People often think, speak, and even behave as if spirituality was an optional add-on, like seat warmers in an SUV: nice if you have the time and money for such things and happen to be into it. For those of us who generate our own body heat and are always warm it is nothing more than a luxury, and an expensive one at that.

This attitude, however, misses the meaning of the word. Asking whether spirituality is necessary for well being is like asking whether a car needs a driver. On one hand, the answer is no. A car will be a car and will, presumably, run just as well without a driver as with one, assuming that someone turns the key and leaves it idling in a parking lot. The engine, brakes, lights and air-conditioning will all be fully functional, but what is the point?

Without a driver and a destination to go to, or even just the capacity to enjoy moving and seeing sights, a car makes no sense.

And so, in the discussion of the role of spirituality in healthcare, a strict, logical analysis finds us reversing our terms, if we are honest. It is not whether or not spirituality has a place in healthcare. It is what place does healthcare have in spirituality. Just like we don't ask what the role of a driver in a care should be, we ask how best to design a car to fit the driver.

Unless it finds its place within a total, integrated vision of well-being and purpose, of meaning and truth and worth, healthcare is a waste of time. At best it tell us how to keep the body healthy, and even at that it falls short. What is certain, however, is that it can never tell us whyto keep the body healthy. To answer that we must ask for meaning in life, and any serious quest for meaning is always and essentially a spiritual question.

Thus the correst question is not what role spirituality plays in well-being, but what role well-being plays in the life of the spirit.

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