“We’re all angels and heaven is right here,” writes author Richard Hague (24). This sentiment from “Heaven, 1957,” a beautiful piece of prose poetry written about one of Hague’s first spiritual experiences, leads me to this question: What is spirituality? Many people equate it with religion, but in my opinion that is a serious mistake because it greatly limits and eliminates many other possible realms of spirituality. On the one hand, religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, which is highly organized and structured, mostly through various denominations of church (Shepard 388). On the other hand, spirituality is an insightful journey into self discovery and the path one takes to open the soul. Being a spiritual person involves having a strong sense of inner peace and acceptance that comes from “making connections.” I am particularly fond of the definition of spirituality given in a book entitled Conversations With God: An Uncommon Dialogue, by Neale Donald Walsch. Walsch is very confused about religion and the meaning of life, so he has a “question and answer” session with God. To his astonishment, God started answering his questions. When Walsch asked God about religion and spirituality, God suggested to him that “religion encourages you to explore the thoughts of others and accept them as your own, and spirituality invites you to toss away the thoughts of others and come up with your own” (61). While one can find spirituality through connecting with a higher power (God, Buddha, Allah, etc.), nature, the universe, and other people, Richard Hague used nature as his primary source of spirituality. Richard Hague learned a tremendous amount about himself...
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...religion and church were not at the core of his spiritual development and that nature plays a much more significant role in his spiritual awakenings. His love of the natural world greatly enhances his spiritual being and allows him to, very simply, grow spiritually by “discovering the purpose in everyday events,” (KSU lecture) and that is the “Spirit of Hague.”
Demaline, Jackie. “Appalachian Wellspring.” The Cincinnati Enquirer. 20 April 1997.
Online. http://web.lexixnexix.com/univers 1/25/99.6.
Hague, Richard. Lecture. KSU Auditorium, Kent State University Stark Campus. Canton, Ohio. February 18, 1999.
Hague, Richard. Milltown Natural. Huron, OH: Bottom Dog Press, 1997.
Shepard, Jon M. Sociology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1999.
Walsch, Neale Donald. Conversations With God: an uncommon dialogue. Book II. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads, 1997.
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