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.


 
 

 

Protecting your identity online

With the internet ever evolving, it has become a great source of communication and a convenient tool. While there are many advantages in using the internet, like online shopping or making charitable donations, there are also countless numbers of unknown, lurking threats. One of luxuries of the internet, and a great service for busy parents,...
 
 

Gaining Altitude – Growth Opportunities for the Week

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community - This is the season to be thankful.  Most people could easily rattle of the top 10 “thankful” items in their lives.  But isn’t being thankful more than writing down a list of good items?  Thankfulness is a heart issue; it...
 
 

Airmen Powered by Innovation program launches new site

WASHINGTON – Fellow Airmen, Your enthusiasm and ingenuity continues to be our Air Forceís number one weapon system! In April of this year we launched the Airmen Powered by Innovation program aimed at turning your ideas into real cost savings for our Air Force. Since coming online API has received and reviewed more than 2,400...
 

 

STEM: Necessary but not sufficient

I was an active-duty Airman for 15 years before realizing my gut was as valuable as my mind; my intuition as useful as scientific analyses; and my agility, creativity and innovation honed the decision-making necessary to function in complex environments. A scientist by nature and education, I failed to realize the importance of humanities in...
 
 

Gaining Altitude – Growth Opportunities for the Week

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community - Last week, the lesson focused on the famous educator, writer, philosopher and theologian C. S. Lewis and his book, The Four Loves. He stated that “to love at all is to be vulnerable.” This by logical necessity means we will be hurt. ...
 
 

Perils of being ‘not-so-innocent’ bystander

I was accused of sexual assault. Even after 21 years, it’s still not easy to admit that. It was 1993, and I was a young airman basic at Lowry Air Force Base, Colo. I was in technical school, learning how to be a U.S. Air Force photographer. My class consisted of eight male Airmen and...
 




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>