Spirituality in the Air Force
Many personnel think about spiritual issues during their service life. Air Force service can take you to new places and provide new experiences, such as to a war-like area or a humanitarian aid operation. Some of these experiences may cause you to question your perception of the world and yourself.
After such experiences, some people gain a stronger relationship with God. Others may question their beliefs or feel empty.
What is Spirituality?
Different people interpret spirituality in different ways. Some common understandings of spirituality are:
- Life's meaning and importance
- Values, beliefs and ethics
- Awareness of life beyond yourself
- Connection between you, others and God
- Reflecting on your life and your soul
This article contains a more formal understanding of spirituality:
Spirituality is a dynamic and intrinsic aspect of humanity through which persons seek ultimate meaning, purpose, and transcendence, and experience relationship to self, family, others, community, society, nature, and the significant or sacred. Spirituality is expressed through beliefs, values, traditions, and practices.
Often, those with a sense of spirituality also have a spiritual identity which anchors itself in the practice of religion. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) Chaplain Manual defines this as:
Spiritual identity is the belief in the reality of God (as Creator, Author of Life, ultimate meaning behind Life for all people), belief in the reality of Eternity, belief in the eternal soul of each person and belief in consequences of these.
Chaplains encourage you to explore spiritual issues and to develop a spiritual resilience. The ADF Guide to Religion provides further context for the expression of spirituality in the Air Force.
People who connect through spiritual activities often feel part of something ‘bigger'. You can connect in a variety of ways, such as:
- Spending time with other people at worship or participating in other spiritual events.
- Participating in other communal spiritual activities.
- Talking to your Chaplain about spiritual/faith matters.