The definition of spirituality is complex and complicated. Sure, one core definition of spirituality as the essence of the human spirit and its engagement with the world stands, but spirituality is still more nuanced than this. Describing spirituality can never do the practice justice — you live spirituality as much as you know it. In order to grasp its real definition, we must widen our view.
The Definition of Spirituality: What You Need to Know
To begin to grasp the definition of spirituality, it is useful to examine some of its key tenets. On the one hand, this means understanding the tools and practices that raise self-awareness and get in touch with spirituality. On the other hand, this also means not limiting spirituality to one definition. Spirituality varies according to the individual. Already we have a challenge in defining spirituality. This article shows such challenges are necessary.
Lest spirituality be dismissed as an irrational invention, here is the science to back it up. As so many people have realized, science, of course, plays a role in spirituality. After all, if spirituality is entwined with the human being, then it cannot escape science. Science interprets our actions and thoughts. You shouldn’t think of science as contradictory to spirituality. Instead, the two compliment and help explain each other.
Sometimes, comparisons help us form definitions. Therefore, ethical behavior and spirituality have always been linked and conflated. Their distinction is blurry and ever-changing. It is useful to think of them in terms of practice and theory. With this understanding, spirituality is the theory that informs everything, while ethical behavior is part of its practice.
Behavior is easy to distinguish from philosophy, but what happens when both things we wish to examine are philosophies? Faith and spirituality are even more conflated with one another than spirituality and ethical behavior. The main difference between the two lies in the individual’s perspective and needs. Sometimes, you can even possess both at the same time.
— RaisingSelfAwareness (@selfawarenesshq) November 30, 2017
Religion adds another dimension to the definition of spirituality. In fact, religion is much easier to grasp, since it has existing systems. People view spirituality in contrast with religion. Spirituality is certainly not a lesser form of religion. Although it lacks an organized practice and institution, its power and purpose remain the same.
To make things slightly more complicated, some people practice spirituality and religion as the same thing. While this is the case for some people, others disagree with this fusion. To examine these contradictions, we must look at the core of each idea. The essence of New Age Spirituality bears characteristics that qualify for a religion. Because it is relatively more flexible, sometimes this belief goes beyond what religion requires. If you want to learn more, you can read the article above.
Finally, as much as this article seeks to enlighten you on what spirituality is, books have much more space, breadth, and depth. For more information, direct yourself to some of this year’s most important readings on spirituality. What this round-up of books proves the notion of spirituality is dynamic and engaging.
Watch this video from TEDx Talks for more insights on spirituality:
Remember, the variety of perspectives on spirituality isn’t a problem. The absence of a unified definition of spirituality doesn’t indicate instability. Rather, it highlights the multifaceted and flexible nature of spirituality. While confusing in the beginning, this versatility is understandable and only natural. After all, spirituality, in order to encompass the complex human being, must itself also be complex.
Do you have any other advice to help others understand spirituality? Let us know in the comments section below.