Post about "Religion and Spirituality"

The Importance of Women’s Spirituality

A friend recently asked me why I felt it was so important to focus specifically on spirituality for women. Isn’t the point of spirituality, she asked, to move to an understanding that transcends distinctions like gender? Does it really serve the process, she wondered, to imply there is a separate spirituality for men and for women?As part of my response, I referred her to a recently published book called Taking Back God: American Women Rising Up for Religious Equality. The author, Leora Tanenbaum, explores the role of women within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The author interweaves religious history with interviews of contemporary women who care deeply about their religions, and derive great knowledge and sustenance from them, but are unhappy with the restricted roles of women within them. Many of these interviews are very moving, because these women have really struggled with this issue.One of the biggest problems for these women is the restrictions placed on their access to teachings and official roles. Many of their religions restrict women’s rights or abilities to read certain scriptures, or to teach or preach. Since scriptures are often considered the word of God, or a conduit to enlightenment (in the East), this sends the message that women are ‘further’ from God or enlightenment, and that they don’t have the right to communicate directly, or to learn, teach, or preach on their own. They have to get everything secondhand. Contemporary American women don’t accept this in the office, and are increasingly uncomfortable with it in their houses of worship.While Taking Back God focuses on the official role of women in Christianity, Judaism and Islam, things aren’t altogether different in the New Age or self-help communities, or in many Buddhist or Yoga centers. Although there are more women spiritual teachers, authors, and religious leaders in America than elsewhere in the world, they are still vastly outnumbered by men (just check out the Amazon bestsellers list). This despite the fact that according to book marketing surveys, women outnumber men as the purchasers of spiritual and religious books by as much as 4 to 1. In other words, women would appear to be more interested in spirituality in general, but the majority of books, teachers, organizations and resources out there are male-dominated. What is the message sent by this?So, my answer to my friend, the reason focusing on women’s spirituality is important to me, even though I am wary of over-identifying with gender issues, is that I think it really matters how many women religious leaders and spiritual teachers there are out there. And I think full access to scriptures, and leadership roles, and teaching positions – within every tradition – is imperative. Women’s access to spirituality, their relationship with God/Tao/Nirvana/Brahma (or whatever you believe in), can’t be secondhand. In a way, changing this is the most essential form of change that can occur, because our spiritual and religious beliefs define our organizational view of the world. If we see women as ‘lower down’ the totem pole, even subconsciously, we are denying ourselves our full power.

Religion, Spirituality, Health and Women

Today’s woman plays many roles in her daily life. She is a mother, a wife, a caretaker, a business runner, a first aid giver and lots more. She is the one who organizes parties; she attends PTAs that most fathers miss, she runs a tight ship in the office. With her hands full 24×7 she manages to do exactly what she is supposed to do and what she wants to do. She multi tasks better than most billionaire CEOs. Amidst all this, where she is a superhero, she often tends to ignore her own health and personal well-being. Now a superhero can’t do much good when unhealthy.Women’s Health comprises of all health issues and problems that needs attention. From reproductive health to mental health to emotional health to giving you an insight on how to keep your bones healthy and your heart happy, to knowing your body better, you need to take care of all. Being total solutions machines, you need to care about each and every running part of that machine.One of the things that dramatically change women’s attitude towards their own health-care is the factor of religion and spirituality. Interestingly, most women seem to be following some sort of health regime -gluten-free, low crab, low sugar, high protein, vegan, or something else. In our endless march toward physical fitness, we try exercise, supplements, vitamin shakes, and nutritionist-endorsed meal plans. We pay too much attention to what we should eat and what we shouldn’t, little do we bother about what’s good or bad for our soul. There is a difference between managing your outward manners and managing your inward sentiments, and both affect one’s soul in ways more diverse and complex than one tends to understand.Recently, I began to understand more clearly how the said combination of health, religion and spirituality worked for women. I have found out that religion helps followers engage in healthier lifestyle practices on a general basis. All religions teach not to drink, smoke or engage in other unhealthy habits. People tend to drink less alcohol, smoke less, and have healthier habits overall. Spirituality gives a mirror for the soul. Spirituality helps followers examine their emotions and mindfully witness their own fleeting feelings. Ultimately it helps us have a calmer outlook, lower blood pressure, and a more even-hands on approach to dealing with life’s challenges.Religion and Spirituality offer a number of diverse paths for accessing the life’s concealed and unparalleled parts and redemption. Religion and spirituality work together to create individuals of healthier mind, body, and spirit. Indian culture contains a number of ancient texts of Vedas, Upanishads and others which give a detailed measure for women’s physical health, social conduct and family duties. The Atharva-Veda also contains a collection of spells and incantations for the practice of magic, contained references to disease, injuries, fertility, sanity, and health. Methods of diagnosis included few indirect rather mystified as well as rational approaches. Omens of various kinds such as the flight of birds, the sounds of nature, and many other observations were interpreted by the physician as clues to the severity of the illness. It could have had something to do with the changes in environment which brings about a great impact on the human behavior. Religious faith gave psychological stability. This ability to believe can be used by health psychologists in medical settings to help those who struggle with a disease or to promote a healthier lifestyle. In our much modern and tech savvy lifestyle what we ultimately need is a touch of religion and spirituality. One that not only provides us the how tos on life but also create a drive inside of us for a more enlightened and prosperous environment.