group of people standing on beach

Spiritual exchanges. What is it?

What kind of fragrance are we leaving behind?

What is a spiritual exchange?

Spiritual exchanges are always happening.

These first three paragraphs are quoted from “the me I want to be” by John Ortberg.

“Dr. Jilll Taylor was a thirty-seven-year-old, Harvard-trained brain scientist who suffered a massive stroke.  The left side of her brain, which regulates speech and linear thinking, was devastated.  For many months she lay in a hospital bed, unable to carry on a conversation.  She writes of how even though she could not understand the words people were saying to her, she became intensely aware of whether the people approaching her were enhancing her sense of life or depleting it. 

I experienced people as concentrated packages of energy ……..although I could not understand the words they spoke, I could read volumes from their facial expression and body language. I paid very close attention to how their energy dynamics affected me.  Some people brought me energy while others took it away.”

At a level deeper than words, deeper than exchanging information, every interaction with another person is a spiritual exchange. Some people are life-bringers to us. They increase our energy, deepen our hope, add to our joy, and call out the best in us. Other people are life drainers. They add to our anxiety and invite us to cynicism. We find ourselves becoming defensive, depressed, or exasperated.

I love that story, don’t you?

Spiritual experiences

And I believe that what Dr. Taylor experienced is something spiritual we all experience on some level. We just don’t think about it. And, of course, it’s because we are not usually in a position to focus on this because we are actively involved in the situation. So how do we do this?

Evaluating spiritual exchanges

I would suggest there are two ways:

First, do you anticipate being around this person? Or do you find yourself somewhat uneasy? Sometimes we find ourselves searching for words, or trying not to use certain words because we fear the reaction.

Secondly, how do you feel when you part company? Do you feel light or heavy? Are you sad to see them go or do you feel somewhat relieved? Do you find yourself wondering what they meant at times?

Answering these questions makes a big difference and I don’t think you need my help interpreting your answers. But as to what you do next isn’t that clear.

In some cases, if it’s a long-term relationship, you might want to talk about it. Just be honest. If it’s a new relationship, you can decide whether or not to discuss it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

However, we need to look at ourselves as well. Are there people we make uncomfortable? Are we making sure we leave others with a sigh of happiness rather than a sigh of relief?

We are always communicating with someone spiritually because we are spiritual beings first of all.

Relationships always have a spiritual element.

If we could think about our relationships as spiritual first, I think it would make a big difference, don’t you?

God bless and have a good day.

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