Being aware of, and cultivating spirituality greatly contributes to our overall joy and happiness. It’s never too late to develop it further
Since our focus in on the development of spirituality within us it seems that we have a common definition to work from for starters. Everyone will have their own definition and thoughts on the matter and no one is right or wrong, we all have our own inner truths that are perfect for us. However, those truths are always open for expansion and alteration so everyone’s thoughts are important and welcome. I have tried to find material that supports my own definition so you know where I’m coming from for the following circles. My intent is not to give you a definition but rather add to yours or trigger thought within you so you add and expand where ever it is best and most appropriate for you and your inner truths.
What is Spirituality – Peter Russell
“The essence of spirituality is the search to know our real self, to discover the true nature of consciousness.
Throughout history, it has been said that the self we know – the separate individual self – is a limited form of what we truly are. Unaware of our true self, we identify with our thoughts and feelings, our memories and our personality.
Such experiences are always changing, but the self that knows them remains the same. We may be very different people than we were twenty years ago, but the “I” that is aware of the difference is the same as the “I” that knows that it knows. The very essence of being aware. It is always present, whatever we may be experiencing, sacred or profane.
The ever-present sense of being is so obvious it is easily overlooked. We fall into believing that we are the individual senses of self that appears in our mind. Like a character in a novel, this separate self engrosses us with its hopes and fears, plans and deliberations. It believes that fulfillment comes from what we have or do in the world, from our roles and possessions, from our personality and how others see us. It promises us happiness, but any happiness it does bring is usually short-lived, and we soon find ourselves chasing some new promise.
Identifying ourselves with the venerable, ever-changing character of our personal story, the “I” misses its true nature. Our thinking and behavior become “self-centered”, leading far too often to suffering in ourselves and others.
When we awaken to the true nature of the self, we are freed from many of the fears that plague us unnecessarily. We discover an inner peace that does not depend upon events or circumstances in the world around, a quiet but profound inner fulfillment. We become less self-centered, less needy of other’s approval or recognition, less focused on collecting possessions and social status. We become happier, healthier, and more loving people, less likely to cause suffering to ourselves or others.
This is self-liberation. And it is transforming impact has made it the essence of the spiritual quest”
Spirituality what is it?
The term spirituality or being spiritual is being used quite frequently these days, but what exactly does it mean and how does it relate to life?
Many people like to tell others they are a “spiritual” person probably to let them know they are not materialistic or superficial and that they “get it”. That’s fine if we all understand and agree on what we’re talking about.
Traditionally being spiritual signified having an attachment to religious values, or matters of the spirit, rather than material or worldly interests.
More recently it has also taken on to mean reaching higher levels of consciousness.
Consider spirituality to be a state in which we are connected to the Infinite Spirit/God, Nature, ach other and the deepest part of ourselves
Why is it important in our lives?
In order for us to function fully, all aspects of ourselves must be balanced. Our mind, body and soul have to be in harmony with each other.
We cannot focus on the material and neglect the spiritual. People may think that being spiritual is difficult and demanding, but that is not the case.
You can experience being spiritual when you enjoy listening to a beautiful piece of music, or looking at an amazing work of art. It is spiritual because when you are immersed in and deriving pleasure from it, it touches your soul and connects you to the artist and creation itself.
You experience spiritual moments when you walk through the woods and connect with nature or see a sunset. You experience a spiritual connection with others when you work together towards a common goal.
When we are in tune with the Infinite Spirit, nature, and each other and ourselves, we are being spiritual.
Going beyond the physical world
Perhaps the best way to think about a spiritual approach to the world is to contrast it with a more common materialistic approach.
The materialistic approach – this approach relies primarily on empirical evidence provided by the five senses – what can literally be seen, heard, tasted touched or smelled. This approach depends on the outer appearances of things to decide how and what to think and feel about them. A materialistic person fixes whatever may be wrong or out of place in his or her world by moving things around and effecting outer changes.
The Spiritual approach – In contrast, the spiritual way is to see beyond mere outer appearances and the five senses to an intuitive perception of the causes behind outer conditions. Someone with a spiritual approach may change and uplift their world by first transforming and improving his or her own vision.
One of the main teachings of spirituality is to look within and find what you seek within yourself. The external would is ephemeral, temporary and ever changing. In fact, your body will die some day, sweeping all of those worldly accoutrements away like a mere pile of dust. Your inner realm, on the other hand, is timeless, eternal, and deeply profound.
How Spirituality differs from religion – Although religion and spirituality are sometimes used interchangeably, they really indicate two different aspects of the human experience. You might say that spiritually is the mystical face of religion.
Spirituality is the wellspring of divinity that pulsates, dances, and flows as the source and essence of every soul. Spirituality relates more to your personal search, to finding greater meaning and purpose in your existence. Some elements of spirituality may include;
Looking beyond outer appearances to the deeper significance and soul of everything.
Love and respect for the Infinite Spirit/God
Love and respect for yourself.
Love and respect for everybody
Religion is most often used to describe an organized group or culture that has generally been sparked by the fire of a spiritual or divine soul. Religions usually act with a mission and intention of presenting specific teachings and doctrines while nurturing and propagating a particular way of life.
The two can act together in harmony – Different religions can look quite unlike one another. Regardless of their different outer manifestations of worship, the kernel of religion is spirituality, and the essence of spirituality is God or the Supreme Being.
Beyond all religions yet containing them all.
Beyond all science yet containing all science.
Beyond all philosophy yet containing all philosophy.
As one becomes more spiritual, animalistic aggressions of fighting and trying to control the beliefs of other people can be cast off like an old set of clothes that no longer fits. In fact, many seekers begin to feel that every image of divinity is just one more face of their own, eternally ever-present God.
Loving and respecting all religions and images of God doesn’t mean that you have to agree with all their doctrines. In fact, you don’t even have to believe and agree with every element and doctrine of your own religion. This goes for any teachings you may encounter along your path. Everybody thinks that what they are doing is right. That’s what is so wonderful about the world. Everybody is doing something different, and each one believes deep in their soul that what they believe is right – some with more contemplation and conviction than others. So long as you are true to your own inner truths you are right, for yourself.