What is Spirituality?
[Related Questions: What is the definition and meaning of Spirituality? How is spirituality different from religion? ? What is the relationship between religion and spirituality? What are the best ways to describe spirituality?]
A spirit, or soul, is the non-physical activating life force of a living being, experienced as awareness. Spirituality is based on the realization that there is a metaphysical realm beyond the physical reality experienced through the body’s senses and explained by physical sciences. Spirituality is concerned with the realm of the soul—the transcendent aspects of human experience such as universal consciousness, natural beauty, connectedness to other beings., meaningful activity, and life purpose.
The term “Spirituality” typically refers to beliefs and practices that are experienced internally by individuals and are oriented toward enlightenment and well-being at the personal and universal levels. Buddhism, Shintoism, and Taoism are a few of the established spiritual philosophies that devised beliefs and practices toward this end.
The term “Religion” typically refers to a set of beliefs (dogma, doctrines, creeds) regarding one or several deities according to a founder, prophet, or ancient scripture. Religions such as Baha'i, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism are concerned with prescribing practices (rituals, disciplines, methods of worship) that promote their vision of good and correct behavior. Spirituality and Religious beliefs and practices can be mutually compatible unless one of the belief systems requires exclusivity.
What types of Spiritual Practices are there?
[Related Questions: What is a spiritual life? What is the philosophy of spirituality?]
Some people find spiritual satisfaction by participating in religious services. Some undertake a personal search for ways to achieve a sense of meaning and peace of mind in their human experience, connection to a metaphysical power, and beneficial connection to other beings.
The following chart identifies a number of typical spiritual practices.
|Spiritual Practice or Belief||Desired Outcomes|
|Meditation||A methodical practice of clearing the mind, relaxing the body, and intensifying spiritual awareness.|
|Controlled Breathing||Breathing exercises that have physical benefits (reduced blood pressure, pain, fatigue) and emotional benefits (calmness, less stress, peace of mind).|
|Yoga||The postures (asanas) of this Indian exercise practice improve physical strength and flexibility. They are usually accompanied by meditation and breathing techniques to reduce pain and stress.|
|Mindfulness, Staying in the Now||Creating a feeling of loving/kindness and bringing loving attention to every moment and to mundane activities in your daily life.|
|Prayer and Gratitude||Deliberately seeking connection to your god or universal consciousness to request guidance and express appreciation.|
|Spiritual Energy Healing||Various practices (Acupuncture, Reiki, Self-Care, Yoga) that improve the flow of metaphysical energy (Chi, Qi) in the body.|
|Connecting with Nature and Art||Spending time and to observe the beauty of nature or create any type of art to stimulate positive spiritual energies and connection to universal consciousness.|
|Walking and Running||Focusing on your surroundings while being active replaces negative thoughts with attentive appreciation of natural environment while supporting physical health.|
|Focused attention||Taking control of your mental activity by deliberately choosing objects to observe and concepts to consider, thus replacing negative or undesirable thoughts.|
|Creative Visualization||Clearly and repeatedly imagining a desired future state, in detail, to create metaphysical energies that will manifest that state.|
|Affirmations||Replacing negative thoughts with positive statements to manifest positive energies and outcomes.|
|Lucid Dreaming||Bringing conscious awareness to a dream state to exercise control of the narrative and affect outcomes. (Similar to creative visualization.)|
|Metaphysical Energy Fields (belief)||Recognition that life force (spiritual) energy (Chi, Ki, or Qi) is arranged in paths (meridians) and clusters (chakras) throughout the body. The flow of this energy can be improved by spiritual practices and healing methods. The outer edge of the body’s spiritual energy field (aura) can be perceived as it interacts with universal energy.|
|Karma (belief)||Recognition that all metaphysical energies – thoughts and actions, positive and negative – affect human lives and outcomes.|
|Reincarnation (belief)||Recognition that the spirits of living beings are eternal and are reborn to live in various life forms and times. May include accessing lessons and understanding karmic consequences from past lives.|
How do I learn and practice Spirituality?
[Related Questions: How does one receive spiritual enlightenment? What is a Spiritual Awakening? When did you start to believe in spirituality? What led to your spiritual awakening? Are you spiritually awakened? Is there a guide to Spiritual Awakening? How does one receive spiritual enlightenment?]
Spiritual awakening is signaled by dissatisfaction with your life. You question the significance of your life and may feel disconnection and lack of interest in previous associations and activities. You may reach a state of uncertainty, loneliness, and despondency, but this will be followed by a state of curiosity an increasing awareness of beauty and attraction to people who radiate a sense of authenticity and spiritual energy. You explore alternative beliefs and begin spiritual practices that lead to physical and emotional well-being. You determine how to bring meaning to your life, experience connectedness to other beings and the universal consciousness, and align your time and efforts to fulfillment of your life purpose.
You can self-direct your spiritual journey by reading, studying various practices, receiving guidance from a teacher or coach, or experiencing services from a spiritual practitioner. The following practitioners can offer guidance on your journey.
|Avatar Master||Acts as your guide through a spiritual self-development program. A series of experiential exercises will enable you to rediscover your true self and align your consciousness with what you want to achieve. You will experience your own unique insights and revelations|
|Yoga Instructor||Teaches you to use meditation and breathing techniques along with the traditional Yoga physical postures and exercises to achieve physical and spiritual health.|
|Meditation Guide||Guides you in medication practices specific to your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.|
|Spiritual Healer||There are many types of spiritual healing methods including sound healing, Reiki, medical intuition, improving spiritual energy flow, etc.|
|Life Coach||Reads your spiritual energy, guides you in identifying your life purpose, provides you with guidance in making choices and taking steps to achieve your meaningful goals.|
|Holistic Healer||Offers specific alternative methods, such as Reiki, acupuncture or ayurvedic medicine to diagnose and help treat medical conditions.|
|Psychic||Is able to feel and read the spiritual energy of an individual soul and interpret how it relates to the metaphysical energy of the universe. Uses powers such as clairvoyance, telepathy, empathy, and intuition among others to clarify your spiritual path.|
What are the benefits of spirituality?
[Related Questions: Is Spirituality real? What is the impact of Spirituality? What is spiritual life? How does spirituality help people to remain happy/peaceful? Does spirituality matter in life? Why do you think spirituality and/or awakening is real?]
The benefits and proof of authenticity of spirituality are found in the improvement of life experience. The purpose of spiritual beliefs and practices is to bring your physical body, mind, emotions, and actions in alignment with your soul’s values, needs, intentions, and ultimate purpose. When this alignment occurs, you are more effective, healthy, emotionally satisfied, and mentally at peace. In general, spiritual beliefs and practices will enable you to:
- Find and create meaning in your life
- Increase your sense of compassion and lovingkindness for yourself and others
- Reduce stress and increase gratitude
- Improve your physical health in general and for specific conditions
- Calm and elevate your emotional and mental states
- Develop authentic, positive relationships with others
- Become more creative and appreciative of beauty in the world
- Feeling more inclined towards gratitude
- Develop and grow more positive relationships
Your own experience will personally verify these real effects of spirituality as you continue your practice.