Spirituality and belief

Final Fling’s Founder, Barbara Chalmers, is exploring Spirituality and Belief as part of a Masters in Design Innovation at the esteemed Glasgow School of Art:

I imagine that spirituality and belief comes into sharp focus for many of us when we are facing mortality… in our daily reflections, at times of heightened awareness, when we’re coping with death, dying and loss. Spirituality might feel like a need or gap. It might feel like a support or crutch. Belief might help make sense at a confusing or troubling time.

What do the terms spirituality and belief mean to you?

Does spirituality or belief matter to you? In what way?

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We are a small project group exploring this space. We’ve connected with some of the Brothers, oblates and visitors to Pluscarden Abbey – the UK’s oldest medieval monastery – to understand a little of what happens within a specific religious practice. We’ll be connecting with others who have spiritual practices – Humanists, Buddhists. And we’ll be talking to people who have no easy, obvious, identified ‘way in’ but might like to explore this territory more.

In initial research we found that spirituality meant different things … a sense of meaning, a sense of purpose, belonging, connectedness, a sense of self in the bigger scheme of things, comfort, strength, peace. Belief tends to be associated with codes and guidance, practices and rituals, artefacts and routines.

We found people get a sense of order, peace and calm from a wide range of activities from prayer to meditation, exercise, keeping a journal or diary, daily routines, clear-outs and feeling in control, walking, nature, friendship, family and loving relationships, a sense of community, retreats, mindfulness, prayer.

Sometimes complex language, rituals and history may make a practice feel remote, ‘not for me’ because of lack of familiarity, connections or routes in, mysterious ways of being and doing, a vocabulary and set of practices that appear foreign. We need a sherpa to help navigate the landscape and an interpreter to translate for us. And for sure, in Scotland, as in other parts of the world, religion has not been the best ambassador for a spiritual practice and the divisions and harm caused remain

If you’d like to share your views about spirituality and belief, please contact me: email Barbara.


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