Commentary

January 24, 2014

Understanding the Importance of Spiritual Fitness

Master Sgt. Jeffrey Turk
730th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – From senior leadership to our newest recruits, many of our Airmen today struggle with the concept of spirituality and how it influences their thoughts and behaviors.

For many, the word spirituality is merely a synonym for religion or a metaphysical conception that has no real bearing on their lives. However, as the Air Force has chosen to include spirituality as one of the four pillars in the Comprehensive Airman Fitness Model, perhaps a closer look is warranted.

Before continuing, it is important to note that while religion is a practice, spirituality is a concept. That is to say, while spirituality incorporates religion, it is not defined by it. Thereby while one person may have a religious faith that facilitates the existence of an all-knowing God who is ultimately in control, another may view life from the perspective that there is no omnipotent force and it is up to us to make sense of the chaotic nature of the universe. Either way, both individuals still have spirituality in their lives and are empowered by their beliefs.

As you are reading this, you may be asking what spirituality really is. One definition Merriam-Webster provides is, “the quality or state of being spiritual” further defining spiritual as, “of or relating to a person’s spirit.” Taking this into account, by definition spirituality is an intangible and subjective concept that is open to individual interpretation. However, while the term may mean different things to different people, everyone’s spirituality is comprised of some common core elements.

Our spirituality includes our sense of purpose and meaning; it is what drives us through adversities. It incorporates our beliefs, principles, and values that ultimately guide our thought processes and how we conduct ourselves. In reality, our spirituality is the driving force behind what we think and do; just often we are unaware of its presence. When we take all of this into consideration and honestly consider what spirituality means to us, we can reap some very real and tangible benefits.

Being more in touch with our spirituality empowers us to face and overcome challenges. By realizing what it is that we really believe in, whether it be God and/or our friendships, or whatever it is that motivates us to face another day, we gain a strength that we can draw from when times get tough. Additionally, by taking a mature, hands-on approach to spirituality, we better appreciate what inspires us and seek more opportunities to cultivate what makes us feel good.

For example, take a couple of minutes and write out a list of what you consider to be special to you, the things and ideas that make you feel worthwhile and good about yourself. You list might include your family, your faith, even your love of barbecues with good friends. Now take a moment and reviewing what you have listed. By appreciating the concepts that really motivate us, we tend to look for more ways to incorporate them into our life. When we talk about spiritual fitness, these are the elements that not only enhance our individual spirits, they also better equip us to deal with stress, help us to relax, and raise the esprit de corps within our respective units.

Personally, as a Master Resiliency Instructor, covering spirituality in my classrooms is one of my favorite topics. Getting students to the point where they can see beyond the religious connotation of the concept is a real joy for me. When an Airman seems particularly challenged by the word “spirituality”, I ask them to replace it with “What drives me?” Sometimes all it takes is substituting terminology to look at a concept in a different light, whereby we are better enabled to appreciate and understand it. I highly encourage you to take some private time and really ponder what spirituality means to you, because once you begin to appreciate what really matters to you, the more enriched and dynamic your life will become.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Holiday reflection illuminates successful year

Despite the increased activity the holiday season often brings, this time of year also presents an opportunity for reflection. I would like to thank all AFMC personnel for your exceptional dedication and professionalism in meeting our mission of equipping our Air Force for world dominant airpower. I also thank your families and loved ones for...
 
 

Holiday message from 412th CC

Team, The holidays are here and Debbie and I would like to express our sincere thanks to each and every one of you who continue to make the 412th Test Wing the premier Air Force enterprise to work for and Edwards the best base to be stationed. We continue to be amazed at all your...
 
 

Tis the season to drink responsibly

It’s that time of year when holiday parties and late night celebrations begin to fill our calendars and we look forward to spending time with family and friends to celebrate our own special reasons for the season. Every Christmas Eve, I celebrate my life and I give thanks for being able to share the holiday...
 

 

Finding lifeís new direction after a loss

Sometimes it takes a difficult situation in your life to not only be reminded of the things you are truly grateful for, but also to serve as a catalyst for change. That moment for me came during the beginning of 2012 when my mother died suddenly at just 43 years old. We had just finished...
 
 

Gaining Altitude – Growth Opportunities for the Week

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community - Next week the celebration of Hanukkah begins. This eight-day celebration is also known as the Festival of Lights and/or the Feast of Dedication. It is holiday that celebrates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean...
 
 

Sexual assault everyone’s business

I walked in the bathroom and blood was everywhere. It looked like a murder scene. I looked up and there she was sitting on the toilet hunched over and crying. When I asked what happened she didn’t respond. She couldn’t talk. I was terrified and confused as to what happened. Why was she bleeding so...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>