Whatever path we have travelled in our long lives, our relationship with religion, faith and spirituality will almost certainly have figured importantly at some point. However significant it is for us now, there is little doubt that these questions tend to loom larger as we get older. We endeavour to look forward positively, but we also find ourselves dealing increasingly with bereavement, loneliness, failing health and aging bodies.

For some people, belief in a divine being provides a backdrop and anchor for meaning and purpose in their lives. For others involvement with a body of worshipers offers vital community, continuity and support. Many more of our generation have a more wide-ranging relationship with our spiritual side – “I’m not particularly religious, but I am spiritual” is a common way of expressing it.

‘Spirituality’ means many different things to people, everything from a whole belief system to an appreciation of the natural world and a sense of love and responsibility for our fellow human beings. It usually involves a sense of the numinous, something that takes us beyond everyday experience, either out into the world or deep within ourselves. It has been described as ‘a search for meaning, with or without god.’

As we become more dependent on help from others it brings a growing need for sharing, including spiritual care and wellbeing. In many cases organized religion is no longer offering what people need; the old ways and rules may no longer serve us so well. We need to appreciate what works for us, and it helps if we can find others who are like-minded and ready to share wisdom and understanding with us, without any sense of judgement or embarrassment.

You are not alone in your search for what really matters!