What is "Spirituality"?


Peace, Love and Unity
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I think we've discussed this before, but it's worth starting afresh.

Can spirituality be defined? Does it mean different things to different people? Stephen's comments in the introductions board got me thinking on the subject again.

I'd like to suggest as a starter for discussion that spirituality is "acceptance". As human beings we tend to grow and live striving for things - knowledge, wealth, family - these are things we may actively strive for.

Spirituality always seemed less about being active as much as being passive - like stopping all motion - and suddenly, you find where you always were before you started moving and striving for specific goals - spirituality as a place you find only when you stop looking for it anywhere but within, where it always was. However, because we have often spent so long actively striving is it difficult to realise how to be passive - how to find something without reaching out for it.

thank you brian as this is a question i myself mostly questioned my lil brain with.

what is sprituality, am i a spritual person, in which stage do oneself labeled him/her as a spritual person?
it all starts within the brain brian. you want to know what is beyond the surface, what lies beneath... you begin to search for some answers to the questions that are gnawing your brain; all the way from the very early ages of sumerians, through sophocles to nietche -Anapus gėrio ir blogio- to kiekergard and many more.
what you will get is a complete nothing. differs from man to man of course..
and only then you will found out that you exist. you exist as they were/are existing.
questioning yourself period has begun. a spritual persona should let him stay away from the bills that are waiting to be paid, gf/bf that is in need of attention, friends to hang out with, and the family that reminds your roots!
one should live alone in the wilderness, where he could only find himself to talk. birds to observe, trees to climb, ants to follow and mushrooms to eat ;)

only then that persona could be known as a spritual person, a person that has questioned his being, the earth and everything within and found out some logical and meaningful answers for all..

it seems ive commented on being a spritual person more then sprituality itself but ive left that to some more iqued brains..
Although I'm a man without any spiritual dimension, I can see spirituality with my logical mind.

Webster's defines it as "of or relating to sacred matters OR: ecclesiastical rather than lay or temporal"

I would say it is the opening of one's inner self to a greater concept, a life map, a personal explanation of the universe that comfort and guidance is drawn from.

I disclaim any kind of religious orthodoxy, yet I can feel in the very thread of my being that there must be something more. But it continues to elude me.
I said:
Spirituality always seemed less about being active as much as being passive - like stopping all motion - and suddenly, you find where you always were before you started moving and striving for specific goals - spirituality as a place you find only when you stop looking for it anywhere but within, where it always was. However, because we have often spent so long actively striving is it difficult to realise how to be passive - how to find something without reaching out for it.

In some cases, I would agree, but I do think that the emphasis on passivity is really more an eastern thing, and one that arises in strict, hierarchical monotheistic religions where the authority of God is unquestioned.

Certainly in other forms of spirituality, listening is important, but so is active seeking after the mystery. Within the early Irish tradition, the seeking of imbas, of wisdom and inspiration, is an active pursuit. It is surrounded by symbol and ritual. Divination is done, and many of the forms of divination are extremely active and involved, not just on the part of the seeker, but on the part of the people who support him or her. The spiritual path of filidecht, of ritual visionary poetry, is one that requires many years of training and practice. It requires the active composition of poetry. It requires learning things like breath control, trance techniques, sacrifice, praise poetry and satire (cursing), history and tales and law and healing.

The fili, and indeed anyone involved in pursuing an early druidic path (for they are closely linked) is encouraged to work with internal energies contained in three cauldrons within -- to fill and turn and boil the caulrons to produce the fruits of wisdom and prophecy and poetry. This has very active and participatory components as well as the aspect of waiting on the deities and spirits for aid and inspiration. The body is embraced and deeply involved in the process -- sexual joy (sex magic?) is mentioned as one of the joys that turns the internal cauldrons. Feeling and processing deep emotions, particularly joy and sorrow, are a part of the path as well.

The model followed acknowledges head, heart, and hand -- mind, body and spirit -- as necessary and intertwined. So many spiritual paths that most people recognize are primarily aimed at transcending the body. The path of filidecht is one of embracing and rejoicing in the physical as well as the otherworldly.

The places favored for meditation and ritual are those considered liminal or between the worlds -- the shore of the sea where land, sea and sky meet; on the bank of a river; within the mist that lies between the world of humans and the world of spirits; in burial places where the living and the dead meet. Times of dawn and dusk are favored, for they stand between daylight and night, and those times of transition are magical in and of themselves.

Filidecht is a path of shape-shifting, of the betweenness of human and animal, of human and spirit or deific form. It brings spirit into body, rather than sundering the two and rejecting the material. It embraces action and personal power and strength. It takes place in this world and the Otherworlds, which are deeply entwined and not held separate. The Otherworlds are not distant heavens and hells, they are right here, right beside us -- all we need do is open our eyes and seek.
I was thinking of the question in the title lately. I was reading about the Essenes and the theories that Christianity had a root (one of many apparently) there. But while many doctrines of Jesus seem to have parallel in the Essenes, his words differ greatly. Even compared to orthodox Christianity as defined by Paul and the church, there are great differences from Jesus. And then it hit me, Jesus wasn't really a good Jew, either. LOL He didn't seem to have a religion at all. More of an identity. And Abraham could arguably never have been a Jew (certainly was never a Christian or Moslem), but rather simply a great (yet nuanced) man with a relationship with God.

I think that's spirituality. Non-religious relationship to God.
Namaste all,

eat when you are hungy, sleep when you are tired, laugh when you are happy and cry when you are sad. this is the essence of religion to me.
I think Bian's take on spirituality is very Taoist, and contains a great deal of truth to it, especially where he says "you find where you always were". I think the journey of spirituality isn't about getting somewhere, but about arriving where you've always been. I disagree, however, that it's passive, by contrast it's not entirely active either. Sometimes you must search for 'the answers' and sometimes you have to let 'the answers' find you.

Mus Ziibi has a great contemporary view of the matter, a "non-religious relationship to God", and there is some truth in this. Religion seems more of a vehicle for spirituality, not spirituality itself. In the end your relationship with the Divine must be between you and the Divine, religion can help you get there (though you can arrive at the divine without it too), but in the end that relationship will be more personal than religious symbols, customs, and ceremonies. Still, without the symbols, customs and ceremonies it can be difficult to get into a spiritual mindset.

So, having said all of that, what do I think spirituality actually is? I think it's the path we take that gets to the place we've always been all along. We're like Dorothy with ruby slippers following a yellow brick road. In the end we realize we had what it takes to get home all along, but we needed the whole adventure to help us realize it, and through the andventure we can finally see there really is "no place like home".

We already have everything it takes to reach the Divine, the path we take, the religions we practice, the choices we make, all help get to something we already have the power to reach.
hey all-

i see spirituality as the lifting of a veil over the heart's eye. spirituality is not limited to a house of worship or a round on prayer beads- as Vajra said, it remains with one when one eats, mourns, smiles, eats, speaks, and prays. it is something that must be woken up to within one's everyday activities.
I want to pull from the folks behind Positive Psychology. In their work regarding strengths and virtues Martin Seligman identifies several "emotional strengths that reach outside and beyond you to connect you to something larger and more permanent: to other people, to the future, to evolution, to the divine, or to the universe."

This grouping has helped me understand that spirituality transcends religion and that many who do not believe in "God" are still spiritual.


1) Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence
2) Gratitude
3) Hope/Optimism/Future-Mindedness
4) Spirituality/Sense of Purpose/ Religiousness
5) Forgiveness and Mercy
6) Playfulness and Humor

7) Zest/Passion/Enthusiasm
hey all

i've found this article on an Episcopalian website, which offers a definition of religion and spirituality...

“Spirituality” describes, at least in part, that search for meaning and answers to our questions about life and death. We cannot answer them on our own, so we turn to others for help, like our friends, parents, religious leaders, or sometimes even strangers, just someone who can help make sense of life.

“Religion” is what we call the various ways in which different groups of people have found to answer these questions. The more people who have found a religion helpful and the longer they have practiced it together, the better they have organized it so that they could pass it on to others. Over time, the communities develop language, rites and ceremonies, and objects, all to express the profound experiences they have had and the truth they have found through them. The language and rites can be beautiful or frightening or confusing, yet at their core, they are still about those three simple facts: We’re born, we live, and we die—Why? What difference do we make?

“Spirituality” describes, at least in part, that search for meaning and answers to our questions about life and death. We cannot answer them on our own, ===============
Quite right, but these affective responses we have, never attain the level of 'truth' in any general sense.
Any answers found are only those an individual feels they can validate within their own affective nature and nurture.
By 'joining' with others who appear to have similar experiences and slowly creating a 'Religion' and may be even a 'Church' organisation, never PROVES the external validity of the spiritual responses... all it does is make those responses more attendant upon shared doctrines that come to represent over time, a dogma. It never proves them beyond the domain of individual affective response.

It is all about a 'Faith', and if there was any proof beyond self, to be proselytised for the attention of others through a 'religion' then there would be no necessity for the term 'Faith'.
Faith, by definition, is about believing in that which cannot be proven, and is not amenable to proof, beyond one's personal validations.

The reason, as you seem to suggest, that these feelings arise in the first place, is that that not everything is yet capable of rational explanations. There is a 'mystery', waiting for further rational investigations, and that mystery should not irrationally be given superstitious explanations as if they are general truths. That is basically behaving irrationally.

Never-the-less, no one would deny that a person's faith can indeed appear to do 'good' sometimes for an individual, BUT it has to be recognised that many people's personal faith can be demonstrated to also produce great harm, to individuals, their families, and nations!

My body is a car
My spirit is the driver
To become aware of my spirit I must park up and look in the mirror.
But when I am driving I lose awareness of my spirit because I am concentrating on the road.

Take care. :)
Hi PainterMan6661, and welcome to CR. :)

Nice to see you back as well, Blue. :)