Spiritual life without church

According to a recent survey adults who do not attend church are cultivating their spiritual life through retreats, prayer, meditation and other spiritual practices.

USAToday reports “a growing number of Americans are recognizing a need to develop their inner life — if not as a spiritual practice, as a way to cultivate balance and depth in an increasingly hectic, chaotic, 24/7 world.”

To many people, focusing on their “inner life” means cultivating a closer relationship with God, perhaps by developing a meditation or prayer practice or developing other spiritual disciplines. To others, it may be a more secular quest for tranquility and connectedness.

“An inner life is something everybody has, but we lose touch with it,” says Bill Dietrich, executive director of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Bethesda, Md. As Americans, “our lives don’t support a contemplative lifestyle” so much as “a constant search for efficiency. We’ve got to have some way of breaking through to what’s really important for us, and spiritual discipline helps us to do that.”

Whether religious or secular in nature, Dietrich and others say, an inner life blossoms as its four key components are purposefully cultivated. These involve:

•Taking time for quiet and solitude.

•Cultivating some type of regular spiritual practice or discipline.

•Grounding this spiritual practice in the support of a community.

•Bringing reflection and heightened awareness to everything you do.

Read it all here

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