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Navigating the Labyrinth of Spirituality for Introverts

Updated: May 24, 2022

Introverts are inherently spiritual. Our introspective and contemplative nature is central to our way of being.

However, we tend to be more focused on our mind, as introverts, so we may neglect body and spirit. And when we are drawn to embrace these parts of ourselves, we usually approach them through the lens of research and analysis. That's a great place to start, but it can be like packing your bags for a trip and hopping in the car, without leaving the driveway.

While religion is a choice, spirituality is as much a part of us as our intellectual and corporeal being. We all have a spiritual journey; an adventure or exploration of both our inner landscape and our connection to something greater than ourselves.

Positive Psychology describes spirituality as "finding meaning and purpose in life," which are fundamental to happiness and well-being for all people. Every step you take to explore your place in the world, even if you never leave the comfort of your home, is part of your spiritual journey.

I should note that your spiritual journey may include participation in a religious organization, but religion is not required for spirituality.

I'm thrilled to have Heather Hall as our guest blogger for April. We connected over our shared introvert traits and love of writing. I have learned so much from her blog today and expect it will resonate with so many introverts. Enjoy Heather's energy and perspective!

In fact, many introverts find religion to be difficult. Our questions and doubts may not be welcome. We may find worship services are packed with songs, sermons and readings, but almost none of the silence we crave. And fitting in can be exhausting, until we find a way to express our gifts, often behind the scenes.

Religious organizations (at least, here in the US) tend to be built by extroverts for extroverts. From the greeting committee at the front door, exclaiming, "Welcome! I don't believe we've met," to the end of service invitation to "Stand up and introduce yourself," entering a house of worship can be challenging or frustrating for introverts.

Rest assured, when you do find yourself in a faith community that feels welcoming, there are many ways for introverts to connect and serve with comfort and ease. I know because I've been there, and I've supported others in their journey.

Although there are no studies specific regarding introverts and their spiritual journey, there has been a significant shift away from traditional religions in the US during the past 15 years. In 2021, Pew Research Center found 63% of US adults identify as Christian, while 6% identify with other faith traditions (including Judaism, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and others), and 29% identify as atheist, agnostic, or "nothing in particular" (collectively referred to as "nones"). While Christians outnumber "nones" by 2:1, currently, the ratio was 5:1 in 2007 (when Pew Research Center started surveying).

During this time, there's also been a steady rise in spiritual practices, according to online search data and publications. While new practices may surface, there is a strong resurgence of ancient practices, particularly those which reconnect us with nature.

As an introvert, you're probably already engaged in spiritual practices like:

  • Reading – particularly topics like purpose, meaning, community, service, nature, philosophy, spirituality, or religion

  • Journaling – especially about your own thoughts and feelings

  • Hobbies, Arts and Crafts – whenever you make something (e.g., baking bread, brewing beer, drawing, painting, knitting, and many more), you are practicing and honoring creation

  • Solitude – either at home or in nature

  • These are all great ways to get grounded, draw upon your introverted strengths, and "fill your cup."

At times when you seek meaning, purpose, or connection, you can deepen your journey through:

  • Gratitude Practice: This practice acknowledges things you are grateful for each day. Spoken aloud or written in a journal, this practice helps you to acknowledge abundance and recognize hidden lessons.

  • Service: There are countless way to serve others, from donating food and needed items to donating your time and talent to help others.

  • Partner: Find a friend who's exploring their own spiritual journey and meet regularly to share your experiences and observations. You need not follow the same path. You need only share an intention to explore and to bring an open mind.

These practices help us move beyond our inner life. They bring awareness of others and build connections.