What is "spirituality"?

iBrian

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There has been more than one reference to "spirituality", and there appears to be a general consensus as to what it means.

However, is there really an accepted meannig for the term, or are there variations? In essence, what does "spirituality" even mean or represent?
 
For me, religion is a specific set of practices, usually, but not necessarily practiced by a group and drawn from a specific religious tradition. By this definition, Catholicism, Mormonism, Presbyterianism, Wicca, Islam, and all such institutions created and organized by humans are religions.

I see spirituality as a specifically personal and individual adherence to a particular path, usually, but not necessarily, directed toward self-improvement. It's a lot harder to give name to this. I think of it as life's journey.

If asked my religion, I would say "Wiccan." I attend Wiccan sabbats and esbats, follow certain observances and ritual formulae, and hang out with other people who call themselves Wiccans.

My spiritual path embraces Wicca, but encompasses more territory, all of it within and arising from my own soul as opposed to group observation and practice. I work magic, employing a variety of traditions--most non-Wiccan--to do so. I utilize shamanic tools--drumming and trance work and spirit journeys and spirit helpers--to help myself and others. Tomorrow I receive my attunements to become a Level 3 Reiki master. I use trance work to talk with spirit guides and guardians, to help me make choices and achieve personal growth. I hang out on these boards and talk to people about spirituality. I teach the Craft to college students. I give tarot readings and psychic readings and spiritual counciling to those who ask for them. All of these and more comprise the practices I embrace in my personal spiritual path, a path which, in my opinion, has little to do with religion . . . though that path can INCLUDE religion and religious practice, obviously.

And, as I think about it, I would have to say that all of the above are as superficial in terms of defining spirituality as is the practice of religion. Perhaps in the larger picture, religion is *all* outward trappings and observances reflecting spiritual beliefs, while spirituality is the core of our life's walk, having to do with belief and knowledge and faith and trust and love--how we live life, in other words.

This may demonstrate a key difference between "being" and "doing." Religion is all about doing--performing certain rituals, going to church, tithing, even casting a circle and raising as cone of power. Spirituality is about being, about what I am, not what I do.

Obviously, this is my opinion alone, and not intended for infliction upon others.
 
To me, spirituality denotes the condition of an individual who is concerned with and on a search for how ulitmate questions affect both themsevles and the rest of the universe. I think that the individual can fit activity in an orgainzed religious body into their search. However, I don't really believe that institutionalized religion in itself has much to do with spirituality. In other words, some individuals find useful the tenets of a particular religious body but the concern of many institutional religions for making and enforcing rules do not, I think, contribute that much to facilitating the individual's search. I am thinking mostly of Christian denominations here, as those are the religious institutions I am most familiar with. And, I am certainly not saying that all institutional religious organizations are the same in the respect of enforcing a particular set of rules and orthodoxy of thought on their adherents.

Does that make any sense?

Let me try to say it differently. I believe the spiritual person is one who thinks seriously about ultimate questions: Do a god or gods exist, and what does that mean for the individual, for the world, for the universe? Is there life beyond - after or before - what we recognize as physical existence in the visible world? Is there meaning to our lives, to the world and universe we live in? What is that meaning? What are the best ways to conduct ourselves in relation to others, in relation to any possible god or gods, in relation to the world and universe? There are other such questions, but these are the ones that come most readily to mind right now.

I think an individual asking these questions can use adherence to and activity in organized religion to find possible answers to the questions. A particular individual might find value in the particular beliefs and dogmas of a particular religious group. However, I also think that sometimes institutionalized religion - especially some Christian denominations, as those are the religious institutions I am most familiar with - can get in the way of the individual's search due to their emphasis, even over-emphasis, on obedience to rules. You have to dress a certain way, some denominations hold. You have to wear your hair in certain ways. You can't eat and drink certain substances. You must give a certain set percentage of your income to the church. And on and on. I think all that gets in the way of thinking about the more universal, less material questions that are, for me, what make up spirituality.

Now, I'm not saying that certain material practices and disciplines cannot contribute to an individual's search for the ultimate. They can, of course. What I think is not productive is the institutional insistence in some churches on a one-size-fits-all enforcement of rules and rituals, with the judgement that all those who do not or cannot adhere to these rules and/or participate in these rituals are unacceptable in the sight of who or whatever the institution holds as holy or sacred. I think the spiritual search is much more individual than that, because we are not all the same - physically, emotionally, mentally. Because we are all different, I just do not believe that there can be only one path to the ultimate.

Well, I still don't know if that makes any sense at all.:) And I'm sorry if I've offended anyone who believes differently than I do. But I have only my own experiences to go on, and this is what my experiences have shown me.

Edited, in the next to last paragraph, to try to clarify what I was trying to say. I'm not sure I was able to, but I've tried. What I was trying to say there is that rules and rituals can be helpful to the spiritual search, but that making those rules and rituals binding in the same way on all individuals is not productive because not all individuals are the same.
 
spirituality is the passive pole of the exoteric path
religion is the active pole of the exoteric path

eastern philosophies are the passive pole of the esoteric path
western philosophies are the active pole of the esoteric path

generalizations, and the fast track lies between the poles - in balance

pseudonymous
 
it is all a matter of honestly finding whom you honestly are.

I said:
There has been more than one reference to "spirituality", and there appears to be a general consensus as to what it means.

However, is there really an accepted meannig for the term, or are there variations? In essence, what does "spirituality" even mean or represent?

To be more spiritual is to have more self-knowledge, awarness ,and control. In other words to be more spiritual is to evolveyour inner-self morals.
I believe that spirituality is self-knowledge, gained ither through experiences or teachings, which is looked at positively. I also believe that ,that positive and truthfull self-knowledge is only gained by going through experiences and maybe everything else with a positive perception. If you, my brothers and sisters, manage to do that, then that will gain you inner-strength, which will also gain you inner-self evolvement, which obviously means to have less inner-weakness.
In simple terms, Spirituality is to evolve what positivity (love) is inside of you, in order to gain a positive and loving perception. The more the love, the more the strength, the more the strength the more inner-self evolvement, the more inner-self evolvement the more the spirituality.
 
Sprituality and bad breath

Spirituality is the quality of being a spirit. Spirit originally means a breath, as when you inhale and when you exhale, you in-spire and you ex-spire. And when you die you give up the spirit or in English the ghost. Hence you expire.

Correct me, though, the language experts here.

From the breath we have the idea that there is a world of invisible things like the air in the breath that comes out of our body through the nostrils or more abnormally the mouth.

Anything then that is not material or carnal is spiritual. Ideas are spiritual, and of course souls. Give up the spirit, the ghost, the soul . . .

Spirituality therefore means being above and even opposed to the material and the bodily. When a person is behaving in a manner that is not in pursuit of material worth or carnal needs, desires, lusts, then he is spiritual, like the breath from his inside, that enlivens him essentially (the old idea of the breath of life.)

Now, among spiritual men and women, there can be a lack of oral hygiene. In which case their spirituality might be pure but their breath as regards the olfactory component might not be agreeable. In which case they can lay claim to the odor of sanctity while kids say that it's plain bad breath.

Next time you talk to spiritual people, wise to maintain distance.

Susma Rio Sep
 
Reply to: What it Spirituality?

I believe Spirituality has alot of 'gray areas'.

I believe we all have our own belief systems or theologies or religions that are the basis of what we beleive.

As for me, Spirituality means that I believe in something other than myself. It could be called a 'Higher Power', 'Creator', 'Beings', 'Angels' or 'Aliens'.

Its a realm beyond what we see as physical and what we feel as mental, but they are all connected.


Dictionary.com has a few meanings;

Spirituality - The state, quality, manner, or fact of being spiritual.

Spiritual - Of, relating to, consisting of, or having the nature of spirit; not tangible or material.

Under the 'Thesaurus' search as an adjective, spirituality means;
airy, asomatous, devotional, discarnate, disembodied, divine, ethereal, extramundane, ghostly, holy, immaterial, incorporeal, intangible, metaphysical, nonmaterial, nonphysical, otherworldly, platonic, pure, rarefied, refined, sacred, supernal, unfleshly, unphysical


I believe the words do not really express my beliefs on what these terms mean.

:)

Corey
http://www.CoreyMondello.com
 
To be spiritual

To truly be spiritually minded is to know that the spirit is potentially eternal, to know there is a resurrection of spirits, and that only the body dies yet is re-born anew with the spirit.
 
Hi Corey, and welcome to CR. :)

As for spirituality - do people feel it absolutely must have an expression in how a person behaves, or is a person only considered spiritual for what they believe?

A question to push the discussion in a certain direction. :)
 
Spirituality from its opposites

I think all of us here can agree on the following as opposite to spirituality:

The capital sins: pride, indolence, avarice, gluttony, envy, anger, lust.

To live in a manner as not to give in to them and to overcome them, that already is to live with the characteristic of spirituality.

No one can be genuinely spiritual who is attached to so much as one of the sins above.

Or do we have any kind of spirituality that exhorts the indulgence in pride, avarice, indolence, envy, anger, lust, gluttony?

What about the religion called Satanism? Do Satanists engage in what Christians consider sins, but are not prohibited in law? There are in fact many sinful behaviors that are not illegal, though they be in Christian conventions immoral.

In which case spirituality for Satanists consists in indulging oneself in the capital sins, provided you don't get in trouble with the law, and no one gets even with you. For example, a Satanist who happens to be immensely wealthy can indulge in all kinds of perverse acts and behaviors, provided they are not subject to criminal liability and civil liability, like wasteful consumption of luxurious foods when others are starving.

Actually, I might owe an apology to Satanists, for they might not be really attached to sinful living.

So, I have to look up Satanism, and find out what they are really into as a religion.

Just the same, I think most posters here will agree that spirituality is opposed to the seven capital sins: pride, anger, lust, envy, indolence, gluttony, avarice.

Susma Rio Sep
 
Apolopgy to Satanists

Pleasd note: No, I am not a Satanist, and I am not speaking in behalf of Satanism, but just from an academic standpoint and as an apology of sorts, owing to my previous post.


With the help of Google, I have excerpted the following texts:

(Satanims seems to enjoy some very creditable imprimatur.)

Apparently the Army has officially recognized the Church of Satan by including it in its Chaplain's Handbook as one of the religions that may be authorized to utilize base facilities. http://www.infidels.org/secular_web/feature/1999/wicca2.html


(Some sort of capital sins listing for Satanists)

4.4. The Nine Satanic Sins

1. Stupidity -- The top of the list for Satanic Sins. The Cardinal Sin of Satanism. It's too bad that stupidity isn't painful. Ignorance is one thing, but our society thrives increasingly on stupidity. It depends on people going along with whatever they are told. The media promotes a cultivated stupidity as a posture that is not only acceptable but laudable. Satanists must learn to see through the tricks and cannot afford to be stupid.

2. Pretentiousness -- Empty posturing can be most irritating and isn't applying the cardinal rules of Lesser Magic. . . .

4. Self-deceit -- ... Another cardinal sin. We must not pay homage to any of the sacred cows presented to us, including the roles we are expected to play ourselves. The only time self-deceit should be entered into is when it's fun, and with awareness. But then, it's not self-deceit!

5. Herd Conformity -- (Self-explanatory)

6. Lack of Perspective -- . . . . Always keep the wider historical and social picture in mind. . . .

7. Forgetfulness of Past Orthodoxies -- Be aware that this is one of the keys to brainwashing people into accepting something "new" and "different," when in reality it's something that was once widely accepted but is now presented in a new package. . . .

8. Counterproductive Pride -- . . . The rule of Satanism is: if it works for you, great. When it stops working for you, when you've painted yourself into a corner and the only way out is to say, "I'm sorry, I made a mistake, I wish we could compromise somehow," then do it.

9. Lack of Aesthetics -- . . . It is obvious that no one can collect any money off classical standards of beauty and form most of the time so they are discouraged in a consumer society, but "an eye" for beauty, for balance, is an essential Satanic tool . . . there are universally pleasing and harmonious configurations that should not be denied.

http://members.chello.at/herbert.paulis/CoS-FAQ.html



(Membership fee and rejection of tax exempt status)

Church of Satan affiliation Page. There is a $100 [US]Dollar joining fee! The Church of Satan is, of course, a well run company, and it needs to survive on more than good will alone. The Church has voluntarily dismissed the tax exemption that it is entitled to - all Churches should be taxed, and the first step in getting this done is to show people that it can be done. http://www.dpjs.co.uk/cos.html

(There's a Satanic welcome, here:)

Welcome to the official website of the Church of Satan. Founded on April 30, 1966 c.e. by Anton Szandor LaVey, we are the first above-ground organization in history openly dedicated to the acceptance of Man’s true nature—that of a carnal beast, living in a cosmos which is permeated and motivated by the Dark Force which we call Satan. Over the course of time, Man has called this Force by many names, and it has been reviled by those whose very nature causes them to be separate from this fountainhead of existence. They live in obsessive envy of we who exist by flowing naturally with the dread Prince of Darkness. It is for this reason that individuals who resonate with Satan have always been an alien elite, often outsiders in cultures whose masses pursue solace in an external deity. We Satanists are our own Gods, and we are the explorers of the Left-Hand Path. We do not bow down before the myths and fictions of the desiccated spiritual followers of the Right-Hand Path.
http://www.churchofsatan.com/home.html



No, I am not a Satanist, and not speaking for it; but this is a board for comparative religion.

Susma Rio Sep
 
For me spirituality is very simple. I see people giving very verbose definitions of the term, but I think it can be summed up in just a sentence. I see spirituality as the practice of cultivating self-awareness, and using that self-awareness to benefit the rest of the world in whatever ways I can.

Everyone has a different personal definition though, it seems.
 
The simple is complex.

Aisling writes:

For me spirituality is very simple. I see people giving very verbose definitions of the term, but I think it can be summed up in just a sentence. I see spirituality as the practice of cultivating self-awareness, and using that self-awareness to benefit the rest of the world in whatever ways I can.

Everyone has a different personal definition though, it seems.



That's very good, Aisl. But now I would like to ask you for your simple personal definitions of:

[self-awareness

benefit for the world

using self-awareness


Now, just name four (4) ways you can benefit the rest of the world using your cultivated self-awareness.

Finally, I would like you to consider and tell me if the rest of the world you intend to benefit in the four ways above think that you are into spirituality.

Only short simple answers, OK?

Susma Rio Sep
 
To me, spirituality is trying to walk, with God. I say 'trying', because I stumble...alot...and I get caught, placed back on my feet (sometimes I have to hit the floor and get rug burn, but He picks me up, dusts me off and says go, go , go...), and I continue to learn to walk with HIM. As an adult, it is difficult to accept the fact that you are a mere child in the eyes of the Maker, but more humbling is the fact that when you fall, it is proven.
 
spirituality?

Let me try to say it differently. I believe the spiritual person is one who thinks seriously about ultimate questions: Do a god or gods exist, and what does that mean for the individual, for the world, for the universe? Is there life beyond - after or before - what we recognize as physical existence in the visible world? Is there meaning to our lives, to the world and universe we live in? What is that meaning? What are the best ways to conduct ourselves in relation to others, in relation to any possible god or gods, in relation to the world and universe? There are other such questions, but these are the ones that come most readily to mind right now.

From Louis...
I think about such things a lot, but I certainly don't consider myself "spiritual" - I don't have a clue what people mean by "spirituality" ! Frankly, I don't think
there IS such a thing. Nor do I think there is such a
thing as "intuition", "magic" or the "supernatural" .
If any of those things ever DO turn out to be real, then
then they will be found to be part of the same physical
reality we see every day - they were just a bit harder
to pin down and measure.
 
louis said:
Let me try to say it differently. I believe the spiritual person is one who thinks seriously about ultimate questions: Do a god or gods exist, and what does that mean for the individual, for the world, for the universe? Is there life beyond - after or before - what we recognize as physical existence in the visible world? Is there meaning to our lives, to the world and universe we live in? What is that meaning? What are the best ways to conduct ourselves in relation to others, in relation to any possible god or gods, in relation to the world and universe? There are other such questions, but these are the ones that come most readily to mind right now.
Good Day Mr. Louis!

What a breath of fresh air. Or perhaps it is better put, what a breath taking dive beneath the sepid thermal layer into the cool clear depths.

When one begins to question the validity of life (own life, life around one, and life in general), the process presents doors to be opened, if one chooses. Some would call this a labrynth (but then a labrynth is not meant to trap one, rather to compel one to find the way out). Labrynths always have clues, and lots of details to reflect upon, while ultimately searching for the way out.

You (we) are here, because we are curious about "something" we can't quite put a finger on. So we are drawn to each other, because we dare to ask, what is it missing in our existence. I don't care who posts here, deep inside something is bothering us. Something does not seem quite right. So we bounce thoughts and philosophies, and sometimes arguments and debates off each other, in the hope of getting a glint of the truth. None of us can describe the truth...but deep inside, we know we will recognize it if we stumble upon it. That is why we keep coming back.

And ultimately, none of us wants to be alone. I don't mean Humanly alone. We want something greater than self to be waiting for us at the end of what we call life. Some of us want to be right, and some of us want to be wrong (concerning our personal philosophies).

You are indeed on a spiritual quest, because you ask the question "What is life". And you keep asking, because you are not satisfied with the answers.

I submit, that the deeper you dive below the layers, the more you will find out.

v/r

Q
 
spirituality

However, I don't really believe that institutionalized religion in itself has much to do with spirituality. Does that make any sense?

From Louis...
I'm inclined to agree.
From my position as an impartial outsider, I percieve a
difference between "religion" and "church"
By "religion", I mean an honest desire to learn more about
the nature of reality - but using a subjective, non-rational
approach rather than the objective, strictly rational
approach of science.
By "church", I mean a limited set of ideas, fears, desires
and pre-conceptions being PROPPED UP AS the only possible realtity.
Obviously, I have never liked "church". I do admit that church involves a lot of GOOD PEOPLE - but I do not think
that church MAKES them good - they just use church as a
way to be with others like themselves and re-inforce their
values of honesty and sincerity. Too bad their church
doesn't always live up to their standards.
 
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