New research shows that more and more people are searching for spiritual health, spirituality, and religious topics online. Here’s a brief description of a recent study of spiritual searching on the internet, plus three tips for searching for spirituality online…
First, one of my favorite quotations about spirituality:
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
Thinking of ourselves as spiritual beings – not just human beings – changes our perspective on ourselves, our family, our relationships, and our work here on earth. It’s a minor change in thinking that makes a major shift in behavior! For more ways to weave spirituality into everyday life, click The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams by Deepak Chopra. And, read on for a summary of the latest research on searching for spirituality, plus three tips for searching for spiritual health on the internet.
The Research on Searching for Spirituality Online
Spirituality and religion isn’t just for churches, synagogues or mosques – it’s being actively searched for online, say researchers at Penn State University. They examined how people use search engines to locate religious information online. These researchers analyzed more than 5.5 million searches collected from three Web search engines in an eight year time span.
Jim Jansen, associate professor of information sciences and technology, and his colleagues found that religious and religious-related interests held steady over time and were generally mainstream (which means my articles on energy healing aren’t included in this research!). And, these researchers also found religious people are just as accustomed to technology as non-religious people – which dispels the myth that spiritually-minded folk are computer illiterate. “Our results showed that people searching for these religious topics were just as tactically skilled as the general Web population,” said Jansen. “This actually fits well with the historical use of technology by religious groups and organizations.”
There was a general increase in religious searching over time, which may be due to the advancement in technology, increased availability of religious content online, and a change in the Web population.
3 Tips for Searching the Internet for Spirituality
Dig a little deeper than the first page of search results. Most people who are searching for anything online – including tips for spiritual health – tend to stick to the first page of results on Google (or any search engine). Though the first page can offer solid information, it doesn’t reveal the spiritual treasures on the second, third, or fourth page of search results! If you’re searching for spirituality online, don’t stop clicking after the first Web site or two you find. Instead, take a peek through the second or third pages – or beyond – to see what other spiritual resources are out there.
Participate in forums and discussions. Only 10% of readers leave comments on blog posts or participate in forum discussions – and those 10% may be getting the most out of the internet! The more you share your ideas, make comments, and ask questions, the more you learn about yourself and others. Your spiritual health is affected by everything you do…including interacting with other spiritual beings online.
See spirituality in everything – including people with whom you disagree. In Tips for Spiritual Health, my “Quips and Tips for Spiritual Seekers” blog partner Gini Grey writes, “Look past the surface appearance and personality and view the soul inside everyone and everything you encounter. This will keep you spiritually healthy.” Instead of getting swept up in the “that person’s spirituality is wrong/unhealthy/disturbing” mentality, remember that we’re all on our own path. We’re all Spiritual Seekers, and we’re all simply trying to find meaning in life, ourselves, and the people around us.
What do you think of these tips for searching for spirituality online – and have you found blogs or Web sites that suit your spiritual needs? We welcome your comments and questions below…