Monday, March 5, 2012

A Look at Spiritual Awareness Month

March has been designated as, among other things, Spiritual Awareness Month. Makes sense. The equinox marks the arrival of spring, traditionally seen as a time of rebirth for nature. It’s associated, along with April, with important religious holidays (e.g., Lent, Passion Week, Passover, Easter), and also holds meaning for modern pagans as much as it did ancient ones. As a “special month,” March has an opportunity to become sort of a pan-religious holiday, one during which “spirituality” in general, rather than one particular organized religion, can be celebrated. I suppose contemporary spirituality advocates like Deepak Chopra would approve.

It’s not evident what Americans are supposed to do to honor this month. Commune with nature? Read spiritually-uplifting self-help books? Listen to American Indian pan flutes or Tibetan chant? Visit a day spa? (That’s my vote!) In keeping with the inclusiveness theme, not only is spirituality left undefined, but everyone is free to decide what is needed to make them as individuals more spiritual. Unlike, say, Black History Month, there’s no prescribed lesson plan handed down by curriculum developers. Because it’s anarchic, with everyone doing his own thing, we are limited on our ability to have a corporate religious experience. Perhaps that’s why Spiritual Awareness Month was created in the first place. As a shared time of spiritual renewal, it’s forming a new organized religion.