Spirituality is a broad concept with many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection with something greater than ourselves, and usually involves a search for meaning in life. It is a universal human experience. People may describe it as sacred, transcendent, or simply as a deep sense of vitality and interconnectedness.
Some may find that their spiritual life is intrinsically linked to association with a church, temple, mosque, or synagogue. Others may pray or find comfort in a personal relationship with God or a higher power. Still others seek meaning through their connections with nature or art. Like your sense of purpose, your personal definition of spirituality may change throughout your life, adapting to your own experiences and relationships.
Becoming spiritual and working the practice within is a process that must be developed individually, where as a basis of life beliefs the individual has the ability to associate, feel and relate the force of events to a non-material force. Spirituality is nothing more than a window that enables us to see beyond what is just in front of our eyes.
Among religious beliefs and doctrines such as Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Catholicism, Spiritism, and many others, spirituality consists of means where the individual is able to seek and find his or her own essence, adjusting to a connection with something greater than himself or herself, and consequently becoming fulfilled by achieving the meaning of being and being.
In any case, being or not linked to religious precepts, spirituality cherishes bases such as peace, acting in defense of life. Spirituality is to let go of the ego and let yourself be inspired by what you believe governs your actions, practicing it on a daily basis. Remember that it is no use spending hours inside a church, singing songs and prayers, uttering beautiful words, if there is no connection with the true meaning of your actions.
Spirituality can mean different things to different people. For some, it is primarily about participation in organized religion. For others, it is a non-religious experience that involves getting in touch with their spiritual self through private prayer, yoga, meditation, silent reflection, or time in nature.
Getting in touch with oneself is the central tenet of spirituality, and there are several ways a person can achieve this state. Here are some of the most common ones:
This type of spirituality focuses on the intuitive part of the soul. People who have mystical spirituality believe that there is a greater unity in all of life’s experiences.
Every experience goes beyond the material or physical world, and everything can be brought to a higher plane. For example, people with this kind of spirituality may lean on the idea that everything happens for a reason. There is always a greater explanation behind situations that can unite all other experiences.
This type of spirituality consists in believing in a hierarchical structure of things or in authority, and is defined by following a set of rules and some restrictions.
Often, this type of spirituality is associated with religious beliefs. There are cases where not following the spiritual rules of religion can cause conflict. People with authoritarian spirituality can develop a form of fundamentalist religion.
Fundamentalists believe that their religion is the truest. They tend to exclude all other religions which, unfortunately, can be the cause of radical religious terrorism.
The core belief behind this type of spirituality is knowledge. Intellectually spiritual people are prone to acquire knowledge of spiritual theories and to analyze the information they get their hands on.
One form of this spiritual journey is to study theology, for example. However, this type of spirituality is not only related to the study of religion. Any knowledge that helps people evolve internally is a form of intellectual spirituality.
This is one of the most common types of spirituality. It is where people experience spiritual peace when they serve others.
There are many ways to achieve this spirituality, but the main thing is to help others without expecting anything in return. Doing something that will benefit someone else without getting something back is a common way for people to get in touch with themselves.
Experiencing awakening when you are surrounded by other people explains this type of spirituality.
Many people practice being around uplifting individuals when seeking a greater spiritual purpose in life.
Being in religious groups is one way to experience this spirituality. However, this can also be achieved with any other form of group – exercise, nature-related activities, meditation, etc.
Just as there are several types of spirituality, there are also several types of spiritual practices. Among the most popular, we can list 5, and with them, anyone can achieve a true spiritual self:
The main idea behind this practice is the power that knowledge gives people. This practice revolves around the fact that ultimate liberation can happen through the acquisition of knowledge.
It is not just about learning new things about the world, but most importantly: knowledge about yourself. Self-reflection, who you are, why you do things the way you do them, are the main principles of this spiritual practice.
This spiritual practice has liberation from your ego as its central element. This is partly because many people who consider themselves religious will use some of these methods to express their spirituality.
However, it is not always related to religion. People also dedicate themselves to a source of higher power or their consciousness to experience spiritual freedom.
Some of these methods are chanting, praying, chanting mantras, and beliefs that make you more spiritually aware.
Meditation is one of the most common methods that people use to improve their contact with their true spirit. Alongside meditation are breathing techniques, asceticism, and relating to masters and teachers.
The basis of this spiritual practice is calm. People believe that everything they have accumulated over a lifetime can be channeled through these methods. In this way, dealing with the challenges of everyday life becomes easier, because there is a way to let go of all the negative thoughts. Raja Yoga, Nada Yoga, and Buddhism are some examples of this spiritual practice.
Similar to the service type of spirituality, this spiritual practice is about active self-denial. Ultimate liberation can happen by helping and expecting nothing in return.
Many people think that spirituality and religion are the same thing, and so they bring their beliefs and prejudices about religion into discussions about spirituality. Although all religions emphasize the spiritual side as part of faith, you can be “spiritual” without being religious or a member of an organized religion.
There are some very clear ways in which religion and spirituality differ.
Religion: is a specific set of organized beliefs and practices, usually shared by a community or group.
Spirituality: is more of an individual practice and has to do with having a sense of peace and purpose. It also relates to the process of developing beliefs around the meaning of life and connection with others, without any defined spiritual value.
You may be adept at one or both. You may not even identify with any combination of religion and spirituality, but being religious does not automatically make you spiritual or vice versa.
Even among atheists, where belief in deities is absent, it is possible to obtain a certain level of spirituality. For these people, the meaning of the word can be applied as a way to reach the unlimited, to recognize the line that delimits the mysteries of our existence; they allow themselves to believe in experiences that go beyond the limits of the intellect.
Currently, spirituality has been studied for its effectiveness to human health when they are balanced. According to the World Health Organization, spiritual well-being is being considered an extension of the general state of good health, together with physical, psychological, and social performance.
Spirituality as a search for something sacred is an increasingly important topic for people, who approach this realm through religion, meditation, yoga, and even personal reflection. Regardless of the method used to reach this stage, some benefits have been observed in those who more veraciously exercise their spiritual side.
In general, these people tend to express more gratitude than others. And this feeling is closely associated with positive emotions, such as optimism and generosity. Spirituality encourages people to be positive, which can be expressed in many of these life practices.
Spiritualized people are also more compassionate. Experiencing compassion for others is one of the strongest correlates with the spiritual life. A variety of positive or pro-social emotions have strong links to spirituality, including allowing them to feel good about the little things in life and look at the world from a more empathetic perspective.
Spiritual people flourish, have positive relationships, high self-esteem, are optimistic, and more easily find meaning and purpose in life.
Spiritualized people are also self-actualized, as they constantly seek a better life, considering personal growth and fulfillment a central goal. Spirituality can be considered a path to “self-actualization” because it requires people to focus on their inner values and work toward becoming better individuals.
Those who value spirituality take more time to reflect on and savor each situation and experience, building lasting memories. They are more aware of the small daily activities, experiencing positive emotions associated with the small pleasures in life.