Spirituality and the Highly Sensitive

My spirituality is radically different than when I was young.

As a curious child of 6 years growing up with non-religious parents, one summer I found myself in a Baptist Sunday School when my mom decided to broaden my view and let me have new experiences. I found this fascinating and fun…what was not to love about reading stories, doing art projects, singing songs and eating snacks? 

Once the school year started, however, I was suddenly, and without ceremony, moved into the ‘adult’ area where I sat very still and listened to a sermon. I can’t say what the preacher talked about that day, but I do recall a very strong, visceral reaction and the thoughts, “Uh, no. What? Um, this doesn’t seem right.” I went home that day and told my mom that I didn’t like church and didn’t want to go back. She was fine with it, and that was the totality of my religious experiences.

Well, there was the time, after an athletic event at my junior high school while I and friends were in front waiting for our rides, when a van pulled in and a couple of young adults got out. They offered to baptize us right there so we’d be saved and secure in going to Heaven. That didn’t work for me either.

I’d say I was agnostic, rather then atheist; I didn’t jive with the idea of a man in a beard sitting on a throne who wanted me to do things in a certain way to gain favor and whom I had to appease in order to avoid an eternity of Hell. But I had a nagging feeling that there was ‘something’ out there, something bigger than me.

Meanwhile, my paternal grandmother talked to me of mystical things…seeing auras, reading energy, even channeled writings. She sometimes attended what I’m guessing now was a Unitarian church or similar, and spoke of us being connected with all things. This idea always resonated with me, and to me it was separate from what I’d experienced, though very briefly, of religion.

Eventually this idea of being connected with a greater whole, bigger than just me, became a driving force. I began to seek out workshops and books and documentaries (this was far earlier than our days of podcasts and interviews and myriad videos available on YouTube) about energy and connection and consciousness. One of my favorite classes in college was Comparative Religions; I loved learning the origins of various religions and noting the similarities and underlying principles that overlapped throughout the world. I resonated with the overall themes, but not the doctrines or protocols.

While I didn’t believe fully in any religious viewpoints, it definitely didn’t make sense to me that we’d be here on this planet free-wheeling with no guidance or support. When I started learning about Quantum Theory and scientific studies showing how everything affects everything else, it all started coming together.

I’ve studied Buddhism, Native American (Lakota) and shamanistic traditions and cosmology. I’ve worked with the Enneagram, numerology, astrology and the 5 Dharma Types and recently have become intrigued with Human Design. I follow many who talk of energetic principles and how everything is energy. This all piggybacks on what I learned  in my Psychology program of Carl Jung and archetypes and the collective unconscious.


HSPs and Spirituality

So, why am I talking about this? As Highly Sensitives, we tend to be curious and recognize our connection with others and the world around us. Yet, we can feel separate quite easily, since the world is currently designed for the 80% who are not HS, and a lot of that doesn’t make sense to our world view and even our nervous systems.

In her book The Highly Sensitive Person, Elaine Aron, while sharing about her experiences during presentations and conferences with HSPs, noted about her attendees: “Feelings about ‘organized religion’ were very strong. There were a few who were very committed. The rest were dissatisfied, even disdainful. But unorganized religion thrived; about half followed some daily practice that took them inward to touch the spiritual dimension.” And HSPs tend to prefer direct experience rather than learning from ‘authorities.’

Aron also noted that HSPs tend to honor and often create sacred spaces. Many are artists or writers, whom can be seen like ‘prophets and seers’ of older times. And as we search for meaning (HSPs seek great meaning in our lives) we tend to help others along the way.

Highly Sensing people tend to have a strong connection with our inner voice, or intuition. It can take some practice, of course, to learn to listen to this if we’ve been focusing on others and concerned about what they’ll think or if it means bucking the system. As we quiet and go inside, we tend to strengthen this skill while connecting more deeply with the One, the Divine, God, Source, Great Spirit, whatever you resonate with.

I’ve found that my deepening dive into spirituality and consciousness not only enriches my life and creates more meaning, but calms my nervous system as well. It helps me to see the big picture even more and feel supported and connected and know that all will be well.

Whatever your views, developing and growing a spiritual practice can be valuable for managing life in a non-highly sensitive world and being in that place that allows your light to shine for all. It can also add meaning to life and soften some of your experiences so you don’t feel so alone.

I’d love to hear about your thoughts and experiences about spirituality. And if you’d like to chat about how coaching can help you with your goals, including spirituality, click here.

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