Spirituality, poetry and inner growth – how they are connected?


Did you know that we can trace origins of word ‘spiritual’ back to the ancient times and it comes from latin word spirare which means to breath and in larger sense it can relate to life itself and living energy force? Taking from these meanings, than anything connected to the pure act of breathing has a spiritual connection, and so does poetry.

A self-actualized spirituality in the most broaden sense might be an acquired integrity, a Self that is truly aware of here and now, and takes actions with compassion and kindness.

For me personally, spirituality also means accepting life and the change that comes with it, learning to navigate with the flow and with the given resources and knowledge make the best of any given moment. It also means dropping the guards of ego-driven principles and having trust in uncertainty, unpredictability of life. Instead of I there is also we and they; there is no scarcity – only abundance for each uniqueness we represent; experience and appreciation for any moment and emotion instead of burdening myself with material stuff.

And finally it is also about connectedness, being true and open to yourself and learning to trust your own honesty.

All these integral parts can be experienced through poetry and let it be our vehicle for learning and growth. Starting from that vantage point of how life should be we work through all that is happening to us – we observe and feel, until we get to an understanding that our perceived reality is as it is.

This whole process of spiritual awakening, poetess Jane Hirshfield so finely portrayed in this essay:

The moon in Japanese poetry is always the moon; often it is also the image of Buddhist awakening.

Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house.

Izumi Shikibu (Japan, 974?-1034?) [translated by Jane Hirshfield with Mariko Aratani]
This poem reminds that if a house is walled so tightly that it lets in no wind or rain, if a life is walled so tightly that it lets in no pain, grief, anger, or longing, it will also be closed to the entrance of what is most wanted.

Ant that openness to life is our first gate and allowing we give ourselves to enter the spiritual growth.

On a branch
floating downriver
a cricket, singing.

Issa (Japan, 1763-1827) [translated by Jane Hirshfield]
Issa’s singing cricket is Cavafy’s “great Yes” in action. The haiku offers a portrait of the circumstances of all our lives. Carried by capricious currents, certain to die, we nonetheless fully live.

Nature always knows the best way to express itself and in the most difficult circumstances finds a tiny sun beam and a drop of water to carry on life. We all have that knowing in ourselves, but in the process of making a living we forgot to live.

And what I most like about poetry is it reminds me, teaches me and supports me in this process of learning to live again.

If you liked this post, please share! And if you are interested in getting more inspiration for your creativity, sign up for our free monthly newsletter.


22 thoughts on “Spirituality, poetry and inner growth – how they are connected?

  1. When Nicodemus was in parley with Jesus, they were talking about how to be reborn literally. Poetic value is that, we are reborn in the eyes of poetry. Psalms, proverbs and songs of solomon are pure poetry in heart and motion. With all that in mind, and the conversation of Jesus and Nicodemus; it coincides. Poetry and the love of the word you are truly born, with the word.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ah! Wonderful essay. Have you been reading Hirschfield’s Nine Gates? That’s a beautiful book if not dense at times. This reminds me of a quote from Goethe: “In the act of breathing there are two gifts of grace: taking in the air and being relieved of it. The former oppresses, the later refreshes; life is so wonderfully mixed. Thank God when he burdens you, and thank him when he sets you free again.”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. But English is but an infant of a language, even Latin, although far more ancient, still infantile. Perhaps for the crux, for the beauty, for the reality of the waterhole of spirituality, we may need to look at language older, far deeper, perhaps not even language as per verbatim at all.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do agree with every of your arguments – but it is always interesting to look at some word origins. In this particular case spirituality means far more than being religious and some people think it’s the same thing. You can practice spirituality in many different ways, like through poetry and not being related to any religion or you can bland everything beautifully. This post only intended to offer just different perspective on such regular topic 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t disagree with your initial statement and same as your post, I enjoy the root of words and or their implied original meanings. A book I am re-reading at the moment is sister Miriam Joseph’s The Trivium. If you haven’t already read it, I think you’ll love it.

        Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s