While there are no readily available statistics, it seems like many people who go through divorce turn to spirituality as part of their healing. The form of spirituality is as unique as the individual, ranging from a return to church or born-again evangelicalism to meditation and yoga.
Perhaps the most famous example is Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling divorce memoir "Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia." While sometimes panned as a divorce tell-all equivalent to emotional purging, there is a good reason why "Eat, Pray, Love" is among the first recommendations to newly divorced women. It demonstrates how spirituality can lead to great personal growth that heals the wounds of divorce and rebuilds lives.
None of this matters
Spirituality is powerful because it reminds you that the universe is greater than your personal problems. While paying off debt is important, for example, it simply won't matter when you're dead and gone to heaven. Nor does God — or a higher power you believe in — care whether your ex-husband's new wife snubbed you at the grocery store.
What truly matters is the larger collective consciousness of which we are all a part (including your ex). Praying, mediation, yoga and even being outdoors are excellent ways to reconnect with this larger universe. As you reconnect, you will initially forget about your problems and later re-engage from a broader perspective.
Author and Oprah guru Eckhart Tolle is especially powerful at demonstrating how our egos are so wrapped up in the past and obsessive attachments that we lose focus of our inner being. As he writes in "A New Earth," "Whenever you completely accept a loss, you go beyond ego, and who you are, the I Am which is consciousness itself, emerges." The opportunity of reaching inner peace becomes a powerful incentive for getting over the divorce.
Recognizing that your ex is also a part of the collective consciousness can help you see his humanity — and lead to forgiveness. Spirituality helps us understand that forgiveness benefits ourselves primarily — not the wrong-doer — by helping us release the negative energy we are generating out of spite and focus on the positive creative energy we need to rebuild our lives. Of course, it helps to know that religions universally believe that God or karma will ultimately punish your wayward ex-spouse. The point is that it's not your responsibility to store hatred.
Who protects you?
Christians believe that God protects them in all things, and praying to God to ease their burden often does just that. For non-Christians, the infinity of time and souls proves that your problems will pass, just as they have in time immemorial. Moreover, the positive nature of the universe is widely believed to support human growth and creativity — not inhibit it. By reconnecting with the universe (or God), you can protect yourself from evil or unhappy events and return to being a productive and creative human being.
Controlling thoughts and emotions
Increasingly, the theory goes that we are literally driving ourselves crazy with obsessive thinking, especially during crises like divorce. Tolle describes the majority of humanity as being "possessed" by thoughts that are generated by the drama-creating ego, not our true Inner Being. These thoughts generate emotion quickly, and soon we are paralyzed. Greater awareness of this process is the first step toward larger awareness.
Bible teacher and author Joyce Meyer takes a similar approach in her Christian book, "The Confident Woman." In it, she writes, "the truth is that positive thinking can change your current reality." She urges readers to control their thoughts and choose to live without fear.
"You can trade in pain and paralysis for power and excitement. Learn to live beyond your feelings."
The power to rebuild
There is increasing evidence that supports the theory that prayers, affirmations and intentions (whatever you may call them) do create a positive force in the universe that brings you what you want.
Among the most articulate in describing this phenomenon are Esther and Jerry Hicks, speakers and authors of "The Law of Attraction: The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham." They state that your thoughts, combined with passionate feelings in the form of a prayer or intention, will attract what you want, and that like attracts like. When you think negatively, you attract negativity. But when you ask for positive things in combination with a sincere desire to experience them, those opportunities and experiences will begin to appear. Part of the key is creating a positive list of wants, and honing your mind to ask for them consistently and regularly.
At the least, focusing on spirituality after divorce can center your thoughts and help you learn from the experience. If we fail to learn from our mistakes, we are certain to make them again. No one ever said that personal growth is painless.