Spirituality at U of G|
By Lucy Reid
Spirituality is an interesting word these days. For some it signifies all things flaky: New Age beliefs and practices, crystals, Eastern religions, maybe a return to the hippie religious culture of the sixties. But to others it denotes the part of ourselves that isn't just physical, mental, social or emotional, the part that resides deep inside. Spiritual wellness is then all about tending to the aspect of who you are: remembering that there's more to life than what happens on the outside.
Consider this: you're having a great time making new friends, starting up your new courses, learning your way around campus, but from time to time you just crave some stillness and time to think. Maybe you go for a walk in the Arboretum, or sit in the Japanese garden staring into the little pool of water with its graceful surroundings of shrubs and carefully raked gravel. Are you being religious or weird? Not at all, you are taking care of your soul. This is spirituality.
Care of the soul takes many forms. There's a team of faith leaders from Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu faiths on campus to help you, based in Raithby House - the little stone cottage by the cannon. There are also volunteer partners from the local Baha'i and Buddhist communities. This multi-faith team is here to provide you with opportunities to study, pray, meditate, discuss and take action. Caring for your soul can mean volunteering at the local food bank or drop-in centre. It can mean getting involved with Habitat for Humanity, or the Guelph Peace Community. It can mean going on a daylong silent retreat out in the countryside, or attending a panel discussion about life after death in different religions.
One definition of spirituality is living deeply: that means learning to stop and smell the roses, reflecting on who you really are and where you're going with your life and why. It isn't afraid of the deep questions, and it doesn't hand out cheap and easy answers.
As you choose your adventures at U of G, don't forget the internal compass - your spirituality. And let the Multi-Faith Resource Team help you. You can contact us at ext. 58909, visit our web site at www.counselling.uoguelph.ca/spirituality, or drop by and see us in Raithby House. You're always welcome!