Episode 14 – Baby Boomers’ Views on Spirituality, Religion and Acts of Kindness

Baby Boomers are those born after World War II between 1946 and 1964. They represent the most talked-about-generation in history. Baby Boomers are usually characterized as those who grew up protesting against the Vietnam War, Beatlemania, pioneers of the free love/sexual revolution and casting aside traditional values. But why are many of the Baby Boomers now looking for something spiritual? Many of them are becoming more spiritual as they age which is something that is absolutely consistent with the historical pattern of people finding spirituality in their third stage of life. The Booms Day Prepping panelists come together and share their thoughts about spirituality, religion and acts of kindness.

Transcript

Wayne Bucklar:  00 – 00:22 seconds

You’re listening to Booms Day Prepping, our regular look at Baby Boomers and getting ready for the next stage in life. Today, our topic is spirituality and having a look down the rabbit hole. And once again I’m joined by my co-host, Drew Dwyer and our regular panelists are with us today – Brian Hinselwood, Amanda Lambros, Bron Williams and Glenn Cappelli, good morning to you all. Let’s hear from Drew.

Dr. Drew Dwyer:  Thank You Wayne and hello everybody. Hello Brian, hello Bron, Glenn and Amanda.

Amanda Lambros:  Hey everyone.

Bron Williams:  Good day. How is everyone?

Glenn Capelli:  Good day to everyone, a great topic.

Brian Hinselwood:  Hi Drew, how are you?

Dr. Drew:  Good. Wayne asked me of course to pick the subject of conversation in the podcast this week. So it’s been a while since we’ve touched this and the last time we did touch this conversation, we’ve all got a little bit tense for everybody which I love because well of course, interpretation, diversity, communication, conflicts and I will say it, using our “emotional intelligence” which is basically for Wayne, for your benefit, I’m trying to find a new word for it but I have found it’s just basically knowledge. So I might start using just the term “knowledge” or what is known to us. But the conversation today is going to be around aging and spirituality and I particularly put the term a Trip or a Journey “down the rabbit hole.” And so why I say this in the beginning of the platform and opening up the conversation is that the meaning of spirituality is what becomes contemporaneous and what becomes in conflict because it means so many different things to other people. But it’s the journey that I want to discuss not only about what is the concept of spirituality but the journey that people take as they age through spirituality, or finding it or connecting with it however, they foresee to it. I will add in the academic framework because now that’s of course where I sit as annoying as it can be to some people but that’s where it sits because of course, I study, I research, I know stuff. But when we look at the literature and specifically, because I’m a spiritual person, I regard myself as a spiritual person. At some stage in my pathway of life, I’ve really got involved in spirituality and I’m a Reiki Master. I studied Reiki some time ago during a bad time in my life to find my spiritual connection as most people do to get an answer, to have a connection with God. I mean how you to term the phrase, I’m not really interested because when we read the literature, we understand that the reflection on literature around this as a science reveals that self, and others, or God and the key elements that define spirituality as emerging things are things that have a relatedness to different people, they are connectedness, a belief system and expression of their “spirituality.” And these contexts are key elements but in particular, the proposed nature of the term “God” takes many forms for many different people and has a strong connection with religion essentially. So I don’t want to get confused in our conversation today about religion although I’m sure it will come up because people connect with it. I want to stay focused on spirituality and the connection of it and as we age, why for many people this connection becomes stronger in many forms? So when we look at individuals and taking a value in themselves as they age, many of them will step across or as I say, “enter down the rabbit hole” like Alice in Wonderland and then start to discover all different types of emerging things, and literature, science, thought, futuristic things, fallacy, fable, all sorts of stuff comes to the table. And really for the keyword to think about spirituality is around meaning, and hope, and religion and connection. So I’ll begin for me and I’ll say that the background of this for me is well known because I do have my what I call my “channeling” because I do believe strongly in spirituality, I do believe you must be channeled to it. Now channeling as I’ve explained in the past as a process of you go through with an expert who is spiritually higher than yourself and there are many people who proclaim to be so. But they are more experienced in this part of the energy of the universe and they’re more spiritually aligned. These are people generally who are gurus, they walk around in cheesecloth and they have their little place and you’ll meet many of them, they’re not specifically religious-oriented, they’re spiritually-oriented. But they will attune you and channel the energy of the universe into you. Now it sounds weird I know and even for a doctor like me, it sounds weird to other people, “How can you think this?” But it is evidence-based, there is much literature in this and it is a part of an unknown science or an unvalidated science that should now as it emerges will become more valid to people. But I’ll connect with this as a nurse and nursing itself as it claims primarily to be providing holistic care to people and recognizing and addressing spirituality. And one of the dimensions upon “Holism” is based on this. However, as cultures have changed and we’ve grown and things of emerged in society, nursing itself has moved or not moved away but not taken a focus on spirituality as much as during Victorian times for example, spirituality was well-known validated and worked with. Sexuality was not and hardly recognized or spoke about. Now we’re in a modern world, sexuality is spoken about futuristic form and stuff and spirituality for nursing is now not approached or embraced, it’s that more has a hesitation to it as nursing becomes more entrenched in a physical science or an evidence-based science. So for me as a nurse, I speak in that role and as a spiritually connected person or what I call a practitioner in Reiki, Reiki is the use of physical universal energy. I channel it into my body and I use it when I’m healing, touching and connecting with people and the vibration of their body. But going down that rabbit hole, you experience and you’re open to so many other things. Once you become channeled, or open, or awake as it’s termed today, you start to experience more. I have a question for the panel, what is spirituality as a meaning to you and how do you connect with it? Bron?

Bron:  Right. Well I would describe myself as a spiritual person. I feel as though I always have been. My spiritual journey began in churches, baptized at 6 weeks old. So that’s my foundation and so, there was I think from the moment of my birth, I was taught that there was spiritual a component to life. Now obviously, you move through teens and you have to make a decision for yourself as to whether you want to take on board the things that your parents taught you and your community taught you and I chose to do that. Largely, I believe because I had spiritual experiences as a child that validated or affirmed the cognitive, the intellectual or cerebral stuff that I was being taught and that has continued throughout my life. I can think even now of times where I’ve just stood at my front door as a young mum and looked up at the sky and felt connected to God as I knew it, just I can see it now in my mind’s eye. I’ve had a number of different spiritual experiences across my life and they’ve all got to do with connection, it’s got nothing to do with an intellectual understanding.

Dr. Drew:  Alright. Bron, I want you to interfere, I want to interject for a minute. You just made a statement of “my mind’s eye.” Can you explain that, what you’re meaning to that to me please or to our listeners?

Bron:  Yes, sure. What that means is when I think back to that experience, I can see it in my head, I can see where I was standing, I can see the edge of the house, I can see the sky, I know what sort of day it was.

Dr. Drew:  So your relationship or connection to the “mind’s eye” is your memory, or the vision or the thing you have even as it is in thought memory? But it’s not a physical part of your body,  is that it?

Bron:  That’s correct.

Dr. Drew:  Okay. For our listeners, I just want to explain before Bron goes on. In the spiritual realm, in the spiritual training and in the spiritual education, ‘the mind’s eye’ is the pineal gland and our pineal gland is our third eye. And if you do any reading or studying in spirituality, you’ll see much of this comes to the mind’s eye. And the mind’s eye that they refer to is the “pineal gland” and of course, here we go down the rabbit hole but I will stop myself at the first bit of cake, I have to eat before I shrink and that is the pineal gland is under great debate in spirituality because they say it’s being clouded and blocked for our ability to connect with spirituality due to things like fluoride and chlorine in our water, blah, blah, blah. So this is all about the science now. So I’ll go back now. Your mind’s eye, you can see clearly your connection with God, sorry about that, go on.

Bron:  No, that’s all right. So for me, the spiritual experiences that I’ve had and sometimes they’ve been indoors, sometimes they’ve been outdoors. There is always for me, an emotional response as well. Sometimes, there has been a physical response. So there’s this sense in which for me, it’s not an out-of-body experience, it’s actually something in which I’m fully involved on a lot of different levels. But what it has done for me because you mentioned the word “energy” and as I’ve grown older, I have expanded my vision, expanded my understanding of spirituality from the fairly narrow conservative Christian tradition in which I was raised to then be able to join the dots, make connections with other understandings of spirituality from other religions, from just other ways of looking at the exact same experiences or understandings but maybe we have different words or frameworks around them. And so for me, that has been a sense of me going deeper down the rabbit hole but not into an unknown space but into a more known space where I feel as though I see these connections, I feel them much more readily because I see them everywhere now, not just in the confines of a church or a Christian environment.

Dr. Drew:  Is that a physical ‘see’ Bron? Like you see it physically third dimension of world – touch connection, people communication, post signs, things like that? Or do you see it like I do as an aura and a color and an energy itself?

Bron:  No. I would class mine more as an insight and epiphany, revelation. That is what my seeing is about.

Dr. Drew:  Alright. And so Brian, what’s your understanding of spiritually and what’s your connection with it?

Brian:  Right. My understanding, it’s interesting Drew. When you started this off, you said something along the lines of “I don’t want this necessarily to be about any God. Let’s talk about spirituality.” I think it’s very hard to split the two. I think that with 99% of people, if you talk about spirituality would assume that you’re going to talk about one God or the other. And my connection as loose as it is with any religion is that I don’t follow any of it. I don’t believe it. I am not involved. But I have a couple of really lovely story, it is very short. The reason I went off, at school as a child, we had religious instruction for one 40-minute class a week or whatever it was. And I remember being asked a question by the teacher and I gave the wrong answer particularly but I got the two Marys in the Bible. And the teacher went off at me like I just killed the family cat or something. And I thought “Well, that’s what this religion’s about. I don’t really know.” That was at the age of about 9 or 10. So I never got involved in it since then and I’ve always been quite anti-religion. And just I don’t know sometime last year, my wife sings in a choir and conducts most of them, rehearsals and whatever at a school here in Brisbane. And every year, they had like an end of the year party and partners and friends were allowed to go along. So I went along and I’m chatting to a few people and it’s a lovely choir, it’s about 80 on people in it and I know maybe 3 or 4 of them too. But I was talking to this one chap that I’d never met before. And he was on an old short and a Hawaiian shirt. So I’m just trusting way to them and said “I’ve never seen you at any of the concerts.” And I said “Well no, the reason for that is most of your concerts are held in churches and I’m really not into churches at all.” So we were going along chatting and I said, “What do you do for a living?” And he said “I’m a priest.”

Dr. Drew:  Nice one Brian. Change feet Brian.

Brian:  He absolutely fooled me. And I said, “Ohhh” and he said, “No, no” and he said, “That’s fine.” And he said, “I actually agree most of what you’re saying.” He said, “But that’s what I do.” And now when I talk to him, we gently remind each other of it so it’s rather nice. But to get back to the actual topic, I don’t like anything – forget religion, forget spirituality – I don’t want anything that pressures people into doing something. I mean “If you do this, you’ll go there and if you don’t do this, you’ll go somewhere else.” It just all seems terribly wrong to me particularly when you consider how many people over the millenium? How many people have been slaughtered in the name of one God or another? And allegedly, there’s about two and a half thousand worships somewhere in the world. So that is my nut shell response.

Dr. Drew:  Alright. And Amanda?

Amanda:  So in my opinion and I get that this is only my opinion, what I find is that the younger you are, the more religion is kind of thrust on you. Your parents tell you what your religion should be or you following the family footprints of what religion is. And I think that as you age, that’s where spirituality gets to come in so that’s my distinction on religion and spirituality. I think that as you age when spirituality comes in, you start to look to the various different religions or the various different spiritual philosophies and then broaden your horizons. So to me, it’s a learning curve that oftentimes people do because they’re willing to expand from a narrow view to a more open and broad view. So I tend to find that religion is more towards the youth and then spirituality is a demonstration of growth, and development and understanding that typically we don’t have when we were younger. I think then it transitions once again in your very late years. Some people might go back to what they were comfortable with regard to religion, they might rejoin a church, they might continue to pray or turn to religion as a support for situations in their life that they may be transitioning through. So that’s my opinion on spirituality and religion and how they kind of intermingle with one another throughout the aging process.

Now what do they have to do with ageing, I think one of my biggest things from spirituality, and religion and ageing is that you tend to look broader in religion as you age. You don’t just kind of go, “This is what I am” and that’s it. You start to develop friendships, think of it that way. You develop friendships, you get to know other people and then they start talking potentially about their religious perspectives which might be different to what you learnt and knew all your life. So you start asking questions and those questions, if you actually take the time to listen and kind of process what they’re saying can really develop your view on religion and spirituality as you age and I think that’s actually a really cool thing to be able to go through that as a growth and development.

Dr. Drew:  Go Bron.

Bron:  I was just thinking that I’m hearing what you’re saying Brian because I have encountered in terms of my friendship groups, people who exactly feel the way you do and I get it. But I do think there is a distinction between religion and spirituality because I think I’ve done the journey myself.

Dr. Drew:  Of course Bron, you are an ex Salvo, aren’t you?

Bron:  I am. I’d be in four different denominations, grew up in a Presbyterian Church and in the Anglican Church went I got married and spent some time in another church then with the Salvos. And at the moment, I’m reading some of the teachings of Richard Rohr who’s a Franciscan priest and so you know, I feel as arm sort the covering a whole lot of different understandings around the Christian faith. So there’s a sense in which that still forms my basis and my foundation. However, Brian you made a really valid point about the whole us and then who’s going to miss out, who gets in and if you do this, you’ll go there and if you don’t do this, you’ll go somewhere else. Now I have moved on or away from doctrine because that’s what you’re talking about Brian. You’re talking about doctrine, what we’re taught is true. And I think the fact that I’ve been now involved in some way in 5 different versions of the Christian Church and I’ve seen how different denominations impose certain things, they have different strengths, different weaknesses which is their doctrine. I’ve actually in a sense turned my back on all of it because there are some things that are really, really different and you go “But they say they are Christian” and it’s like finding out.

Dr. Drew:  But it is their dogma.

Bron:  It is their dogma and it does provide some foundation and maybe some security. But I’m not sure that it’s true and I’ll have to be honest that’s where I’m at. I don’t know whether this heaven and hell. I do think we’re doing a pretty good job of doing both here on earth and maybe the whole bit about it, I don’t know and it’s connected with energy.

Dr. Drew:  I’ll open up the question to Glenn to who we can hear his response.

Glenn: Spirituality, it’s always interesting for me because I link the word “spirit” with “flow” and there’s a song we wrote some time ago called “Let your spirit flow, let your spirit flow, let your wonder grow.” And spirit and flow are always connected to me and connected for me. Spirituality for me is the concept of flow and flow is the research of and this is a great word or a great name to get your tongue and throat around Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, a researcher and people at their very best and he calls people at their very best being in flow. And I sense that when I’m in flow, it is a spiritual thing and spirit for me is flow when you’re at your very, very best. And some of the things that contribute to us being in flow it’s when there’s no concern about ourselves, we’re not worried about “What do I look like or am I doing well?” We’re connected something bigger beyond ourselves. And that bigger to me is a bigger purpose in life and bigger for me is a bigger thing in terms of nature. So I’m often at my best when I’m in nature, when I’m doing something and when I’m connected to a bigger purpose in life. And I think for human beings to be able to discover their spiritual side, we need to somehow be connected to a bigger universe whether it’s just the sky, whether it’s trees, whether it’s nature, whether it’s a concept of God or oneness, the universe, the one song, but connected beyond our self and connected to the natural things in life and that’s when I’m at my very best. I’m not concerned about me, I’m just engaged in being.

Dr. Drew:  I want to move and just quickly away from the term “God” but I do want to reiterate and particularly for the listeners and that is when we understand this and unpack it academically as a science, a social science and I must do that, I must relate but my spiritual connection and my grounded foundations of evidence in science. There is a categorization of the words that we use and there’s only three which is quite connected with spirituality as a science and that is we must understand and look at these things in three areas – self, others and God. And so when we look at this concept, it’s very connected throughout what is known on the right side, the left side, the good side, the bad side. But it’s how people connect from themselves and their “self” which is a word you’ll hear regularly in spirituality. It’s how they connect with others which is something that is relates to relationships in spirituality, the way we trust, build trust, touch, connect and relate with others and of course, it then blends into that term however, emerging as a paradigm or what it looks like is the term “God” and what God means. The concept of having some sort of relationship with God is traditional and best understood within religious frameworks or within doctrine as Bron discussed and Brian has alluded to not liking and that’s normal. But the fact that it is within looking at spirituality, all of us will have a connection with self, with others and with God. If you don’t have the connection with God, you’ll probably find that connection is placed in the human being as a connection with something, something that you regard as the most highest thing, being, achievement. In many religions it’s different deities, and gods, and objects, and symbols and religious things. For spiritual people it’s universe, it’s energy, it’s crystals, it’s karma, or it’s ego, it’s other things. But everyone must understand, the basis of it so when we go down the rabbit hole is it’s all the same thing. It has a connection with self, with others and with God. So it wouldn’t be right for anyone to say, “No, no, no that’s religion, that’s God” because that’s an actual fact that an individual’s connection with their highest being or thing, their highest definition that they can give for the most important or highest value principle that they have in their lives. If it’s self and they want to bring it down to self, me, my energy, my independence, my ego – great – or if it’s a spiritual connection with others as it is with nursing. Touch, trust, comfort compassion, then that’s what that connection is. And I think you will find and I know this from doing literature reviews on it because the subject that, if it it does strike chords with me is the fact that these are all connected and when we look at people who are traveling, or heading, or opening up or awakening to spirituality, a lot of this connection comes from grief, loss, change, illness, suffering or death. However perceived to that individual, this is a meaning of systems and processes that they are trying to connect with and hence they start going down the journey which I call the “rabbit hole.” And if you understand my connection here, I’m talking about Alice in Wonderland and I’m talking about the journey she took as she discovered and there’s many stories and meanings in the story of Alice in Wonderland. But that itself is considered a very spiritual representation of life, of being, of connection. So however individuals want to connect, please I would ask all listeners to understand. Three areas to think about spirituality and that is self, others and God and we cannot accept the God factor because it is for many, many, many people, whatever God means to them, it could mean for someone like Wayne “the great outdoors” or perhaps Glenn. But it’s still a connection, it’s still their connection of their highest self or their highest connection. So that’s what I want to get that point through. So I think if we can take the conversation somewhere else, I want to ask how do you experience spirituality in an universal energy? Let’s use the term “dimensional touch or dimensional connection” through some form of technique, for me it’s Reiki and meditation and the healing of touch. Has it been anything for anyone else? Brian?

Brian:  No. In short I will say “No.” Having said that, when we finish this podcast, actually my wife and I are going out with a very dear friend of ours who’s a Reiki practitioner. And whenever we get a cold or a sore back or whatever, she’ll send a little message later, “lots of love and Reiki.” And then for the personal level, no. I find and I think most of my friend would agree that I’m a very giving person. I care about other people. I’m quite often the vulnerable and go and see them if they’re not well or I think they need some help or they think I need some help. And so on that level, I don’t have a problem at all. The problem I have and I know you don’t want to get back to the god thing particularly is when people do something – when we read an article about some horrendous person who’s in jail for life because they killed somebody or whatever they’ve done but they’re alright now that they found God.

Dr. Drew:  That’s good Brian, that’s good. It’s not that I don’t want to go to that place, I just don’t want it to be the only place but as I said before, if they say they’re founding God, I’d probably believe that they’ve found their connection with spirituality.

Brian:  Well yes, maybe. I don’t think it’s ever reported quite that way. I think it’s now fallen into the Bible or the Koran or the whatever. So look, as I said my problem with all this is just a basic one for me where I think the people are far more important than imagery. And I have no problem with imagery and I think people are far more important than parish icons and they got walls and things like that. I suppose if I was going to get into any religion and my problem, I haven’t been involved in any of them but I know a little bit and what people say a little bit of knowledge is the most dangerous thing. But I would probably get more involved in Buddhism only because the basic thing in Buddhism is if I’m really nice, that will make Bron really nice and when we’re both nice, that will make others really nice and it’s like one of those molecule thing that just attracts.

Wayne: I find it difficult to separate spirituality and religion a little bit. I myself am not a person of faith, I like to see and base the way I live and react on evidence. I’m cynical about the idea that faith is evidence of things unseen and so I’m not one to be wildly inspired by the blossoming of a sunflower or the beauty of mist in the morning or whatever it happens to be. So spirituality for me, there’s a little bit of a delicate subject.

Dr. Drew:  Well I can understand that because what you’re talking about is you’re connected with belief systems and much of the controversy around Buddhism. I am a Christian Catholic by birth and not by choice but by force of the family. But as I discovered Buddhism, but I related more to Buddhism digging through my time in my relationship with Thailand. But it’s a belief system and it’s a way of life. I don’t see it as a religion but it has that connectedness. And so again, that relatedness or connectedness as a concept is very strong. The God symbol, or the God element or the God connectioness – you can’t remove it. As I said before, it must remain. The literature and the academic space always mentions this and it says very clearly and three forms of connectedness are self, others and God. And so we must relate to these three silos of spiritual connectedness, for some people it is God, for some people, it is like you say the belief in connectedness of others – being good, treating each other well and having that connectedness and that’s your belief or connection for spirituality of others Brian and of course, you just removed the God component and that’s fine. I say to older people that I talk to, that’s fine, you do that. Many, many older people actually won’t have ‘self’ because they see it as selfish. They enjoy connection with others but they see their connection through God or a mission of God and a choice by God. And Bron, you probably see that in your past a lot too.

Bron:  Yes. And I think one of the difficulties of many of the Christian denominations is that we have privileged the connection with God over our connections with everything else. Certainly, connection with self is seen as selfish and so there is not a huge lot done about self-development, encouragement of yourself as an individual, the collective good, so there is that sense of others that’s very strong. Self is certainly would be lowest on the list. But God and that connection with God and that comes back to where Brian was saying before that if you’re connected with God, well then you’re in and you’ll go to heaven. If you’re not connected with God, then you’re out and you’re going to go to hell. That’s where I think there’s been a lack of connection with others, we’re only connected with the others who agree with us and we’re not connected anymore with the others who don’t.

Dr. Drew:  Yes, I mean expressions of spirituality are important. If we incorporate into the caring dimension where I use it as a nurse, an acute carer and a healer, I experience that in different ways and particularly sensitive ways connected to the other person that I hands-on deal with. But the concept of expression is that – you’re better, I’m better, Higher God, a deity or whatever –  spirituality can’t be restricted to that and it probably shows a lack of an exception to other things. When you read through a lot of the literature in spirituality as an academic study, you’ll see there’s not many academics and they are spiritual academics let me tell you. There’s a lot of people in the spiritual world with PhDs. But not many of them will connect or very few of them will connect to support the suggestion that the application of music, food, wine, sex, literature, books, humour can all reflect spirituality. But I see it as not the fact. People had the ability to connect through spirituality through lots of different forms and the concept that bringing it always to God, or a deity or something higher that is unexplainable doesn’t sit well with me and I know it doesn’t sit well with many Baby Boomers.

Bron:  Interesting that you say, you mentioned sexuality there because I have had discussions with people and actually I was considering doing my honors thesis for my Bachelor of Theology around the connection between spirituality and sexuality because I believe that they’re two sides of the same coin. On a personal level, I have probably had some of my most intense spiritual experiences as the same time as I’m orgasming. That connectedness that you have with another human being in the sexual act is to me often a point of deep and profound spiritual connection as well.

Dr. Drew:  Absolutely. It’s an energy that connects.

Brian:  Is that why people always go, “Oh God, oh God!”

Bron:  Probably.

Dr. Drew:  Yes, but they only usually do that with me Brian. If we open it and we look at the concept of sexuality and spirituality, I’m interested too see or hear Amanda’s point of view on this as Amanda is our residence sexologist. Amanda?

Amanda:  So what’s my opinion on the relationship of sexuality and spirituality, some people would joke that usually during an orgasm, people are saying “Oh God, oh God!” and to me, that is not spirituality or religion within sexuality. What I think is the more people getting in touch with themselves, so either through the use of tantric sex or exploring different types of sexuality is that they tend to develop a spiritual relationship. As you age, you need to get more centered on who you are, what you enjoy and being able to share that information not only with yourself and to be open, honest, genuine and raw with that information with yourself. You need to also be able to do that with your partner and obviously your partners might shift throughout the years and transition and you should be able to do that and feel comfortable enough to do that with each partner you have. So the impact might be that people might explore other forms of sex and sexuality with regard to spirituality. So that can be a nice lifelong growing opportunity as well.

Dr. Drew:  In relationship to that, I’ll ask Glenn to explain to listeners how he interprets any form of spirituality to the connection of music and how does music and spirituality connect in the realm of of going down the rabbit hole because it’s interesting when you see or connect with spirituality. For me, everything is about chimes, and hums, and symbols and this real passive light, music and the meditation stuff and the hum. And it all seems to be in that zone and if you’re not in that zone apparently, you’re not spiritual and yet I would find ACDC very spiritually connecting for some people. Brian do you see folk music, it’s obviously a connection for you, do you believe folk music has a spiritual connection for people in the folk realm?

Brian:  Yes look, to a degree, yes. And certainly, if you go back to old and I’m talking sort of 16 or 17th century folk songs and a lot of them are involved with religion or spirituality. And so, there is a strong connection I think and folk music probably more than most other types of music and generally speaking, not always, generally speaking, tells a story of something that’s happened to the writer of it. Not necessarily the performer but to the writer. So yes, there’s a lot of spirituality in the folk genre in general. The music certainly but even if you go to any folk festivals, a lot of the instrument makers there and they’re making things like lyres which are around I don’t know whatever 200-300 years ago. So yes, there’s a lot of connections, spirituality in the folk area.  

Glenn: Drew it’s very interesting with the music side of things because I said, the universe, the one song, often I’ll get an audience to sing or at least hum and when we’re humming “mmmmmmm,” humming together as human beings, that reverberation, that’s what the Beach Boys would call a “Good Vibration.” I’m not too sure whether spirituality and music are connected for everyone but I do think we get to our spirituality through a vibration, through a vibe, through a hum, through a tempo and so the things that music brings to us. My dad left school at the age of 11, Jack Capelli and he is the smartest man I ever know. He became a carpenter, so great practical intelligence, doing and building stuff. But also he played eight different musical instruments all by ear. So he could play the drums and he did in jazz bands all of his life. He could play the clarinet, he could pick up a harmonica and out would come wonderful music, the banjo, the piano, whatever it was, he understood music, and tempo and rhythm naturally and he played by ear. And I think what that’s given me is one, a love of the big-band sound in life, a loving tempo and being able to pick up patterns in life that are musical patterns, rhythm, and flow and tempo but it also means that I didn’t necessarily pick up my dad’s wonderful ability with music but I sense my way through life idea. I pick up on the sound of things, I pick up on the layers of the sound of things. And I think part of spirituality is find our own way to sense our way through by ear, by heart, by sound, by sight, by vision, by imagination and having these things, these incredible talents, these “crayons” as we call them in flow, I think brings us to that spirituality and certainly brings me to spirituality.

Dr. Drew:  Yes and I think you find too when you go to these festivals I find Brian that there’s a lot of people doing massage, and healing, and crystals and they’ve all got dreadlocks and fire twirling and all that, connection to self, others and God.

Brian:  Yes, and they always -I have never been to a Folk Festival anywhere in the world that is being over a weekend where on the Saturday or Sunday of the weekend, they don’t have some religious festival. I mean it might be an old denominational one.

Dr. Drew:  Or pagan, something pagan.

Brian:  Well yes, they don’t often slaughter people.

Dr. Drew:  So glad they’ve evolved.

Brian:  Yes. They’ve got over that a bit. Yes, there is definitely a spiritual connection there, you’re right.

Amanda: So when it comes to spirituality, and religion and ageing in the elderly, I really, really feel just from personal experiences that I’ve had with elder family members of my own is that when it comes time for ageing and even end of life situations, they tend to go back to the religion and I know I’ve said this previously but they tend to go back to the religion that they were most comfortable or most familiar with and they tend to take a stronger hold on it than they previously did. I think religion is absolutely unique to the individual who’s experiencing that religion themselves and spirituality is as well. And I think that each person should be very aware of where they stand in that and if they’re unfamiliar or uncomfortable, it’s really an opportunity to learn and grow.

Dr. Drew:  Okay. What I want to do is open up the conversation for the listeners in particularly and as Booms Day Prepping does, we prep Boomers for the next part of the journey and the end stages or the third and end stages of our lives as we get older and we start to retire, or retract, or slow down or change. If not, speed up and do whatever you do in your active, positive aging. But for many of the Baby Boomers that I work with, listen to and connect with, the change in life is the thing that drives the continued connection or the as we’ve spoken before the new or the new beginnings in a spiritual space or a connection with self, others and God. But I do offer all of the people that are listening is that be warned, don’t jump down that rabbit hole too quickly and go down that rabbit hole if you dare with some foundations of where you’ve come from because where you’ve been and on the journey you’ve taken will have played a significant role in the journey where your new norm will begin. And I say this because I don’t like personally and professionally to see people distract or disconnect themselves from the reality of our real world and that is if you have problems, if you are going through grief and loss, if you need or desire a space of change, if you’re cleaning out the cupboard, if you’re facing adversity and diversity, remember our collectiveness and I ask listeners to focus some part of their journey in the rabbit hole or any introduction to it not to forget that we have qualified, registered and professional people, life counselors, counselors, we have a psychotherapists, hypnotherapists, clinical hypnotherapists. These traditional medicines, new medicines, complementary medicines are now recognized. These are forms of registered practice for many people. And I do ask them to understand as you sit near others and connect with others, for self or for God, do a bit of research on who these others are because there is a lot of people who take advantage of the people who are on the search in the rabbit hole and vulnerability is a big aspect of ageing and change. And people place themselves at risk handing over money, having their mind or intelligence change, or believing, or changing belief in something that is new and something that may take them away from something traditional or grounded such as going and seeing a health professional. And seeing a professional of course as a challenging thing and you have to find the right one. And I’ll wait for comment now but for me, it’s important. I’ve done a lot of study in this area and I had to do registrations, and qualifications, and be peer reviewed, and supervised and we just don’t become practitioners and we don’t become registered counselors and we just don’t automatically get a certificate. These are outcomes of extensional learning, long learning and they should be valued and of course pick the right practitioner because the practitioner should value the concept of connection with their client and what they’re searching for. So this is the important stuff for me. I’m not saying “don’t go spiritual” I’m saying by all means, “go for it, fly free.” But at some point, still hop onto the connection that there is a reality. Many of the problems you’re facing can probably be quickly sorted and fixed with the professional and therapeutic help of a registered practitioner who knows and understands a great debt of science knowledge of human science and social science. As you start to discover spirituality, these things are heavily connected and yet one will be grounded in opinion, and thought and imaginary and the other will be grounded in science, philosophy, and literature and evidence. Bron?

Bron:  Yes, I understand where you’re coming from Drew. However, I have my own experience of spirituality. I probably wouldn’t put myself out there as in the space of being a spiritual practitioner. However, I’ve sat under the teaching of many, many people who have a variety of different qualifications or lack of qualifications and I think part of the process of being a spiritual person is to be able to be open and to be discerning as to what you take on board and what you don’t. Now I would imagine that people who, like I don’t know any data on this, but just given where I sit and where Brian sits, I would see that would be highly unlikely for Brian to all of a sudden want to get in touch with his spiritual side because in the way that you and I perhaps are talking about it because for him, it holds no value or meaning. And likewise, although I know for myself, my spiritual understanding has changed, I don’t think there’s going to come a point in my life where I’m going to go “No, I just don’t want to do that anymore.” So I’m wondering how often they say people in our generation, how often Baby Boomers, it becomes a new thing for them that they want to explore spirituality because for me, it’s been a process of a lifetime. Just as it has been for Brian, he made a decision in a sense when he was nine that his whole lifetime has been a continuation of that decision.

Dr. Drew:  Well that’s very true Bron and I have to support that even as a person who’s heavily science-oriented. But spirituality involves the recognitions of feelings and a sense of belief in some things greater than you. And of course, it means knowing your lives have significance to the context beyond your mandune existence but also spirituality involves certain universal themes, love and compassion, altruism, life and death. And you are right, some people who are very highly intuitive in this area and connected, I have in my own family are good teachers of this. And for many listeners, understand that journey we take to what you’re talking about, it involves first healing and affirmation and affirming the ego and I don’t ever see ego as a bad thing. Many spiritual people do and they tell you that to adjust and retract from ego. But ego is a state of experience and it should be owned and separated out from making it in an insecurity and should be making it more as self-secured or self-esteem belief of self worth. Knowing your ego in the spiritual journey is important but I have to agree, not only I’m not saying “Yes I’ll wag the flag of clinicians.” Clinicians are also people and many of them have taken this journey and understand it. But the reality is the development of spirituality is recognized and requiring some sort of practice or discipline to make a progress or a set. Many people in this spiritual world will always say, “You haven’t done enough work.” And I find it becomes a pecking order, “you’re not as high as me, you’re not up to my standard, you haven’t done the word” and I’ve met a lot of people that do this. And I don’t think it’s a great way to go about spiritual development because if we were meant to respect people and connect and have compassion, we shouldn’t be finding faults in people not being as spiritually aware as others or telling them to or that they haven’t taken the proper journey. The journey is individual and it means the most to the connection of self, others and God for that individual. Brian?

Brian:  I think Drew that’s one of my points is that there’s this hierarchy feel to the whole thing about “I’m here and you’re not here and you’re not here because you don’t believe in this or you haven’t done that or whatever.” And I would just much prefer to meet people and take them on to a large degree on face value. I’m not interested that they are the CEO of a company, or that they are priests, or that they’re a bricklayer, or out of work. None of that should matter in any form of existence, if we treat everybody the way we would like to be treated. I think that kind of covers and I mean I suppose to some degree, you could argue that that might be spiritual. I just don’t see that way but I wouldn’t argue your point. The other thing that you brought up just a minute ago Drew was older people getting involved in spirituality or various gods and I always think that they’re very vulnerable. They go into a retirement village, a care facility or whatever it might be – a great many of which are run by religious organizations that be they a church or an affiliation of the church or whatever. And then these people who are all old and infirmed in some cases, it’s kind of in a way I mean you’ve almost got a captive audience, the same as the people in jails I guess with slightly nicer people perhaps. But you’ve got these captive audience that religious people particularly tend I think to take advantage of.

Glenn: I just want to make a point about the difference between spirit and religion. I did travel the world for I thought I’d leave Australia for 3 months and 7 years later, I came home. And one of the things I was seeking in my traveling wasn’t just to see places and go to places and meet new people. I wanted to find the connecting threads of humanity. I wanted to look at the world’s religions and understand were there some things within these religions that connected people rather than divided people? I had been raised in a semi-Christian country if you could call the town of Kalgoorlie Christian, that’s a big stretch. But if I had studied the Muslim, Islamic faith and Hindu and other religions at university but I knew nothing about Judaism. So I pretty well took myself to Israel to learn about Judaism and to find the common threads of religion. And I believe there is some common elements, the power of story, the power of the bigger connection, the bigger picture and these are the things that are spiritual to me. But I think most religion actually does the opposite of spiritual. It makes it into an organizational thing, it makes it into a hierarchical thing, it often makes it into a male dominant thing, not true of all, but true of many. And therefore, I think it actually works against human beings finding the spirit. The best things for me would be to be out with nature, with music, humming in the head and the sounds of nature and the rhythms of life, the rhythm of life is a wonderful feeling and that to me is spiritual as opposed to being in a hierarchical organization that often works against the spirit for me.

Bron:  It’s interesting that you say that Brian, having been a chaplain in an aged care facility run by the Salvation Army. Yes, we certainly had chapel. We would have a chapel two days a week. Obviously once on Sunday and then one I think on a Friday. People were invited but no one was well, certainly when I was there, I can only speak for my time – no one was coerced to attend. And I really think that that should be the attitude of any chaplain of any particular denomination, isn’t it?

Dr. Drew:  The unfortunate thing there Bron is you don’t get a choice when you’re being pushed down to the your activities room in a fallout chair.

Bron:  Yes. But see well, let me put it this way, I get what you’re saying Drew, it was not my experience. That’s not what I did.

Dr. Drew:  I love pastoral services by the way. I value pastoral services in homes.

Brian:  I’m not suggesting that any of the religious people go out with this pre-set thing that “I’ve got to convert three people today.” What I’m saying is that they have this captive audience. And Drew said if somebody’s bedridden and they;re wheeled into the chapel because they want to clean the room or I don’t know, do you think the person wants to go there? The kind of stuff there and they become more vulnerable than they already are being bedridden with a disease or whatever.

Bron:  Drew, is that your experience in aged care?

Dr. Drew:  Yes. I’m more modern so than anything but yes, once they understand that a person is religious, Catholic, or pastorally orientated, as soon as the chaplain service starts, some incidences I’ve seen where there is no asking or requesting particularly if there’s not a cognitive capacity in a resident, they’re just wheeled down to there and stuck in there so they can hear the hymns and so forth. Now the understanding is that’s what happens but in some cases, it’s just line them up, push them through it. But anyway, it’s gotta be a topic for another discussion if we want to talk about aged care down the line. I’m going to conclude with your final points. If I could ask everyone, give us your final point, an advice to listeners on spirituality and going down the rabbit hole. Brian?

Brian:  My final parting shot would be to anybody who’s listening, to everybody who’s listening, just be nice to each other, be nice to see yourself. Without you being nice, the rest of it is not going to work. If you want to call that religion or spirituality, fine, call it what you like. My higher calling is trying to support Liverpool Soccer Club to actually win something.

Bron:  Tilt to get windmills there Brian. Mine would be to be true to yourself because I think as we age, we have a much better understanding of who we are, what makes us sick and what makes us happy. And if following whatever leads down the rabbit hole, adds to your well-being (mental, emotional, spiritual, physical) then be true yourself, enjoy the trip down the rabbit hole.

Amanda: My closing remarks would be, if you don’t know something, take the opportunity to learn. It’s really an opportunity to grow spiritually, mentally and you don’t have to be one religion or another, you can take on different philosophies or backgrounds of different religions and I think that’s something that you can do. You don’t have to tick the box and say, “Absolutely, I fall within this one.” And so do what’s right for you and know that it’s an individual learning and growing experience.

Dr. Drew:  Alright. And thank you Bron, Amanda and Glenn and I’m going to end with I’m placing up on the Facebook page for the listeners. When you get this podcast, you’ll see some literature there. But I’m just posting up 10 questions for our Baby Boomers, and our seniors and more matured people to contemplate when they think about spirituality and whatever journey they’re about to take. I’ve put 10 questions up there, they are: Who are the most important people in my life? Where would I like to be in 10 years? How can I avoid a stagnant life? What qualities must I possess to be a good person? Do things happen for a reason? What are the values that guide my life? When do I feel the most alive or real? What gifts can I give of myself to the world? How would I like others to see me? And what are my beliefs and on my life’s purpose? They are my 10 questions because I relate them to emotional intelligence, being a lot of the subjects we talk about as being Boomers. If you’re going to take a spiritual journey, ponder those 10 things and guide yourself a bit better. Thank you listeners and have a great day. Thanks for tuning in and I hope you can connect with us in social media. Thank You Wayne and happy aging everybody.

Wayne: This has been Booms Day Prepping, you’ve been listening to our regular look at what’s life like for Baby Boomers and how we’re getting ready for the next stage of their lives. Today, we’ve been talking about spirituality and taking a look down the rabbit hole. And I’ve been with my guests again on the panel Brian Hinselwood, Amanda Lambros, Bron Williams, Glenn Cappelli and my co-host is Drew Dwyer. My name is Wayne Bucklar. Please like us, click all the buttons on your social media, we do appreciate it. And you can listen to us on iTunes, SoundCloud and our website. Thank you for being with us.

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