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African Spirituality is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the Black Conscious community. Ask 3 people to define it and you will get three different answers.
As confusing as spirituality can be, there are 4 easy ways to develop your spirituality, with or without religion!
What Is Spirituality?
Spirituality is the state of your soul, emotions, beliefs, mindset, and connection to the infinite. These factors make up your spiritual anatomy called your ‘light body’. Just like your physical body, your light body can grow stronger or weaker based on your actions.
What is the Difference Between Religion and Spirituality?
If you want to get into a debate in the Black Conscious community, bring up the difference between religion and spirituality! Religion and spirituality are indeed two different things – despite what some will tell you! Religion is a system designed for spiritual development. Some systems are better than others at achieving this goal.
Instead of getting caught up in the dogmas taught by Christianity, Islam, Judaism, return to your African roots.
Study the Yoruba, Kemetic, and Vodun traditions. Your new found knowledge- along with other spiritual practices like meditation and fasting – will put you on the fast track to spiritual enlightenment.
Study African Religions
It is possible for you to develop your spirituality without religion. But to do so, you must take responsibility for your own education and growth. That means studying indigenous African religions and applying the lessons that speak to you.
A big part of the mission of the Pan-African Alliance is to create spaces to have discussions about concepts like African Spirituality. We hold regular community meetings that are open to the public like this one.
There are hundreds of major African religions on the continent, but the most well known are:
- Akan religion
- Dahomean religion
- Ifá, Vodun, VooDoo, Santeria, and other Yoruba Religions
- Igbe religion
- Legio Maria
- Kemetic Science
When we use the term African religions, we are also referring to spiritual systems developed by Africans outside of the continent. These systems include:
- The Nuwaubian movement
- The Nation of Islam
- The 5 Percenters (Nation of Gods and Earths)
- and Moorish Science Temple
There are elements of truth in all of these spiritual systems. Your path could lie in any one of these (or none at all). It is therefore your mission to find the path that speaks to you the most truthfully, and then walk that path unapologetically!
Practice Afrocentric Meditation
Meditation is one of the most powerful ways to develop your African spirituality! The oldest Aboriginal cultures of the Earth used meditation as a tool for spiritual fortification, and every religion uses meditation for spiritual development.
In order to help you get started with meditation, we have written a full, step-by-step article that you can read by clicking here.
Fast To Develop Your African Spirituality
From what research has shown, fasting might be the single greatest natural healing therapy missing in today’s Western lifestyle. Abstaining from solid food for a extended periods of time is vital for developing emotional balance, improving your ability to absorb energy from the food you eat, and detoxing your body.
While those results may not seem related to developing your spirituality, they are. Here is how and why:
Fasting Develops Emotional Balance
Diets that are high in sugar and processed foods have been linked to depression and other mental illnesses. So its no wonder so many people in the West suffer from these issues!
Since emotions are a part of your light body, your emotional stability should be developed along with the rest of your spiritual anatomy.
The foods you eat can either stabilize or destabilize your emotions. So by fasting, you give you body – and your soul – the opportunity to ‘reset’ itself. Once your body is cleansed of toxins that cause emotional instability, you will begin to gain control over your emotions.
Fasting Gives You More Energy
When your body isnt breaking down food to use as energy, it breaks down fat. That process increases your metabolism by 3.6-14%. After a few days of the fast, higher levels of endorphins appear in the blood, making you more alert and giving an overall feeling of general mental well being.
It takes about 3 – 5 days before you start feeling these effects, so push through days 1 and 2. In fact, the first 72 hours will leave you feeling sluggish and weak. To get you over the hump, I used morenga and heavy green teas to nourish myself while my body adapted.
Fasting Detoxifies Your Body
Detoxification is your body’s process of eliminating toxins that you eat, drink, and breathe through your colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph nodes, and skin. Fasting gives these organs the time and energy they need to repair themselves and clear existing toxins that may be backed up in your system.
It is recommended that you not fast longer than 7 days, and that you return to a conscious diet once you break your fast.
There is a reason that spiritual leaders like The Honorable Elijah Muhammad write books like How to Eat to Live: The reason is your body and your spirit are connected. The foods you eat have a direct impact on your spiritual strength and progress!
Eating consciously means consuming foods and drinks in ways that reflect your self-love and strengthens your spiritual ability to accomplish things in the physical world. That means reducing your meat, sugar, and processed food consumption.
Becoming a vegetarian (a person who does not eat meat, but can eat animal products like milk) or vegan (eliminating all animal products from your diet) might not be practical for you initially, reducing meat consumption can have positive effects on your well-being. Some meats should be avoided altogether:
A major challenge that I encountered as I transitioned into a more spiritual diet was understanding what I could eat, and how I was supposed to prepare it.
I found myself going hungry because I couldn’t swing through the drive thru of my favorite fast food restaurant anymore and also didn’t know what I could make for myself.
I ended up buying some vegan cookbooks, and that is how I found Queen Afua (who we interviewed for our podcast). She wrote a book called The City of Wellness: Restoring Your Health Through the Seven Kitchens of Consciousness that should be on your shelf if you are serious about your spiritual growth. It will give you the knowledge you need to stick with it!
By studying, meditating, fasting, and eating consciously, you can start to develop your African spirituality faster than religions will allow.
Where are you in your spiritual walk?
Have you started to explore African Spirituality? Have you recently left Christianity? Would you add anything to the article above? Leave your comments below.