Spiritual Exercises Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Pastoral Counseling Spiritual Exercises

A daily spiritual routine

It is often said that the most important part of life is just 'showing up.' 'Showing up' to one's spiritual life is a vital part of religious practice. When the worldly aspects of one's existence, such as jobs and children, draw one's focus away from spirituality, it is easy to think that there is not enough time to pray and reflect. However, it is during these difficult times that it is all the more important that one has a spiritual connection to God. Taking time in the morning before the cares of the day intrude to reflect with a clear mind can be a valuable and cleansing practice. Just as we take time to 'work out' in the morning, we must also take time to work out the kinks in our soul, and press our reset button before beginning the day. For people who are over-burdened with caring for others, such as parents of young children or caretakers of older parents, taking time at a specific moment every day -- even if only in the car while ferrying the children to sports practice -- ensures that this part of life is not forgotten, and spirituality is not simply relegated to Sundays.

Q2. All too often, people think that spirituality is something that merely happens when they are in church. Encouraging people to create their own spiritual practice and routine encourages them to see spirituality as part of their everyday lives. Spirituality is infused in all actions that we might otherwise consider secular. Having a daily devotion brings spirituality into the realm of the personal. Of course, being part of a Christian community is vitally important. But by establishing a personal connection with God, a Christian is better able to infuse spirituality into his or her daily work in school, parenting, and other life activities. Meditation and mindfulness can change the structure of the brain. Encouraging congregants to engage in daily meditation, devotion, and reflection as a part of pastoral counseling gives the counseled client a sense of personal self-empowerment to change his or her life. Instead of feeling helpless because they…

Sources Used in Document:

Gard, & Sara W. Lazar. (2011). Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 191 (1) 36-43.

Ferguson, Jane K., Eleanor W. Willemsen & MayLynn V. Castaneto. (2011). Centering prayer as a healing response to everyday stress: A psychological and spiritual process. Pastoral Psychology. 59 (3): 305-329.

Grefe, Dagmar. (2011). Combating ageism with narrative and intergroup contact: Possibilities of Intergenerational connections Pastoral Psychology, 60 (1). 99 -- 105.

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