If you’re looking for advice on inspiration, the first thing you’ll find is that there’s a lot out there. There’s career inspiration advice, writing inspiration advice, even ideas for inspiration in your daily life.
But there’s one type of inspiration that’s especially near and dear to people’s hearts, and that’s spiritual inspiration. Whether you’re on a Lenten journey or are simply looking for ways to enrich your spirituality, here are some common sources of spiritual inspiration that may help you on your way.
Catch up on last week’s Lent blog: The Importance of Reflection
Finding Spiritual Inspiration In Others
Sometimes, the best place to look for inspiration is the person right beside you. Is there someone in your life who you respect and admire? Ask yourself what it is you’re drawn to, then see if there are ways you can mirror that in your own spiritual practice.
Of course, there are always civic or religious leaders to inspire us as well. For example, many look to religious leaders such as the current pope of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, or the Dalai Lama as sources of inspiration. Perhaps you could take some time to learn more about their lives and get inspired by their stories.
And don’t forget—you might be an inspiration to others, as well, because of how you live your life or practice your spirituality. In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “You can never really live anyone else's life, not even your child's. The influence you exert is through your own life, and what you've become yourself.”
Finding Spiritual Inspiration in Nature
“In the woods, we return to reason and faith.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Many people turn to nature for inspiration. By taking a walk, sitting in a park, or simply going for a long drive, you can clear your mind and make room for spiritual reflection. The world can get chaotic—take some time to get away from it all. Sometimes the best way to be spiritually inspired is to quite literally enjoy a breath of fresh air.
In addition to nurturing your spirituality, nature also helps your mental and physical health. Psychologist Rachel Kaplan, PhD, and her husband Stephen Kaplan, PhD, have been researching the benefits of nature for years. In an article for the American Psychological Association, the Kaplans point out that nature can help restore mental clarity, even if it’s just a green view from a window.
The article explains how “In one well-known study, for instance, Rachel Kaplan found that office workers with a view of nature liked their jobs more, enjoyed better health and reported greater life satisfaction.” And that was simply from looking out a window—being out in nature is even more beneficial.
The connection between nature and spirituality is strong at The Esquiline. With over 200 acres of extraordinary beauty, residents can enjoy long walks on scenic pathways to enjoy breathtaking views and places to reflect. You can see some of our favorite images of the natural beauty of The Esquiline grounds here.
Finding Spiritual Inspiration in Art
“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” — Pablo Picasso
Whether you’re creating it or simply enjoying it, art is a wonderful way to find spiritual inspiration. If you’re feeling tired or burdened and are looking for a way to refresh your spirit, try going to an art gallery. Make a trip to the local library and check out a new book. Or simply turn on your favorite song for a listen.
If you’re looking for a book on spirituality, you might like this list of the Top 5 Spiritual Reads from Our Leadership Team.
Finding Spiritual Inspiration in Physical Activity
“True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united.” — Wilhelm Von Humboldt
This may seem odd to some, but physical activity is another avenue to spiritual inspiration. Sometimes by keeping our body engaged, it helps clear the mind. Instead of focusing on a big deadline at work or a recent argument, you’ll be focusing on the activity itself. In that quiet space, oftentimes people find a chance to reflect.
If you’re looking for spiritual inspiration through exercise, try taking a brisk walk in the morning or attend a yoga class. Allow yourself to be fully involved in the activity and put your stress aside. You might be surprised at how easy it is to reflect during these times.
Still Looking for Inspiration this Lent? Here Are Some Quotes to Help Spark Reflection
“Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” — William Faulkner.
“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.” — Marcus Aurelius
“Although the life of a person is in a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.” — Pope Francis
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” — Maya Angelou
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Looking for More Inspiration This Lent?
This year, The Esquiline is inviting everyone to join us for our Lenten Challenge. In it, you’ll find ideas for daily reflection, prayer, and giving. If you haven’t already started, it’s not too late to join!