What makes for spiritual, or human, wellbeing?
A report in 2013 came up with these suggestions:
Spirituality means different things to different people. It may include (a search for) one’s ultimate beliefs and values; a sense of meaning and a purpose in life; a sense of connectedness; identity and awareness; and for some people, religion. It may be understood at an individual or population level…
Spirituality is the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and to the significant or sacred…
Spirituality can be considered as being essentially about primary relationships. In this regard there are at least four qualitative relationships that express spirituality, and these are the relationships between: people and their environment (land, mountains, sea, sky, etc); people and other people in terms of justice and love (families, communities, nations, etc); people and their and other persons’ heritage (ancestry, culture, history, etc); and people and the numinous (that which is other, beyond the physical, transcendent, what some people refer to as God.)(from https://spiritualityandwellbeing.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/spirituality-and-wellbeing-discussion-paper-2013-final.pdf)
All of these suggestions seemed helpful and sensible.
Informed by this together with my own reading and experiences, the following seven dimensions of human wellbeing seemed to resonate:
The physical/bodily dimension
Physical health and wellness, diet, exercise and the physical environments of our lives
The emotional/spiritual dimension
The ability to experience and express the full range of emotions, both ‘negative’ emotions like grief, fear, anxiety, and ‘positive’ emotions like contentment, joy, love, hope
The mental/spiritual dimension
Our understanding ourselves and others; our beliefs, values and convictions about meaning; ‘conscience’
The relational / connection dimension
The context of our relationships, with ourselves, with others, with the natural world, with our culture and the transcendent (see below)
The will / freedom dimension
The ability and power to make decisions and choices
The historical/cultural dimension
The influence of history and culture – both familial, local, national and international
The transcendent dimension
The role of the unseen / ‘God’ and beliefs about the soul / the spirit, even if these are beliefs that reject these concepts.