Thoughts from a slow day on the Psych Ward

Something I'll bring to health care is an interest in questions about the overlap between spiritual, mental, physical and social health. I haven't read into this much, but I jotted down a few initial thoughts while I had some down time at work the other day, and I'll jot them out again before I head off to school for the evening. I'm going to continue with the general stream of consciousness pattern:

I've noticed that when I'm depressed or angry I want to be an athiest or bitter agnostic, and when I'm feeling happy I want to figure out the way in which I affirm that there's a God.

I've noticed that when I'm mad at the church or Christians or other religious types, I want to be an athiest.

I've noticed that when I'm sedentary I appreciate the endorphin and emotional rush that religious experience can provide. When I'm exercising, I feel that need is met. I tend to think of exercise in religious terms, as a physical, mental and spiritual discipline. It makes me feel optimistic, connected to nature and my body, and alive.

All of this leads me to think that reality isn't best viewed as a set of distinct spheres (mental, physical, spiritual), but as a system of connections. Panentheism is the Christian version of this idea that I've espoused. Naturalism is a non-religious alternative. Both are probably healthier views than those which treat God as existing in some far off place disconnected from the reality of our experience.

In any case, I've started to think of 'health' and 'spirituality' in parallel ways. Spirituality is about balance in life and a sense of meaning - a real experience of meaning - whether that's brought about through religious beliefs and practices, exercise, family, work, travel, literature, whatever. We can call that 'connection to God', but 'Spirituality' is perhaps a more neutral and better term in broad circles?

That's all for now. Off to school!

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