Looking back on my own life, I can truly affirm that spiritual cultivation brings with it a happier, healthier life, and that it is important to live and share this spiritually based life. Mary Baker Eddy, nineteenth-century health researcher and the founder of Christian Science, once wrote, “Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.” I love the way she specifically ties happiness to God, which she refers to when she capitalizes Truth and Love, and how expansive this spiritual happiness is that it requires us to share it.
So how do you go about finding, cultivating, and then sharing this spiritually based happiness? My parents raised me to know that attending church was important. And that’s where I have really cultivated my own spiritual identity. What’s interesting is that I recently came across a study by the American Psychological Association indicating that church attendance has a positive impact on marital relationships and on child development, both integral to a family’s health and happiness. It was found that those who attend church services are more likely to feel a greater sense of well being. In addition, those who pray for their marriage partners experience greater commitment to each other.
I found attending church with my family was a positive, healthy experience and one that enriched every aspect of my life. My spiritual experience was greatly enriched by studying Christian Science and helped develop commitments for the deeper issues surrounding home and family.
However, friends and colleagues thought my public openness to church commitment would limit the success of my public life. But I found the opposite was true. My well being and commitment to church were the qualities the public desired. They even proved to be helpful in generating a broad sense of good will as I served in the education sector. It turned out that I received my first job in education based on the recommendation of a family friend who knew of my spiritual approach to daily life. His recommendation was the first step in a career that eventually led to being named as America’s Superintendent of the Year several years later.
Attending church has had a powerful effect on my daily life. And I’ve found that outwardly sharing this spiritually based view on life and health builds a foundation for happiness.
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