Phil Foster gave me the following document. What a splendid set of questions! This list will probably appear in his forthcoming book. Meanwhile, Phil gave me permission to post the list here so that readers of this journal might join with me in pondering over the forces and circumstances that shape one’s spiritual journey. Happy musing!
Guidelines for Spiritual Autobiography
© 2005 by Phil Foster
What is your family of origin’s religious history like? Where did your ancestors come from religiously? What role did religiousity play in their lives?
What is the first recollection you have of religion or spirituality in your life?
What was your family of origin’s religious environment like? How important was religion to your family when you were growing up? Did you attend religious services? Was religious education a part of family life? Did you have a sense of belonging to a spiritual community?
What were your most profound religious experiences growing up? When and how did you feel God or divine presence?
What was your earliest conceptualization of God? What early images or ideas about God made sense to you?
Was there controversy or abuse around religion in your family of origin? If so, how has that shaped your spiritual history?
Did you leave your religion of origin? At what point in your life? Why?
What religious traditions have you explored other than your religion of origin? To what degree? Why?
What is the difference between religion and spirituality?
How has your sense of your spirituality changed over your life? Your concept and/or experience of God or the divine?
How important is spirituality in your life today? How does this dimension of the human experience inform your life now? What would you change about your spirituality?
Has your spiritual life made you more certain of basic truths to which you adhere? Or, has growth in your spiritual existence led you to be less sure? Or both?
Are you involved in spiritual community today? Why or why not?
What service are you performing due to religious belief and/or spiritual commitment?
How do you envision death and your dying? How does your spiritual life inform this?
Is there an afterlife? How has this conviction and/or concept changed over the course of your life?