What is Spirituality Anyway?
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?
Spirituality is not a religion and in most instances not necessarily affiliated with a religion. It seems that many people tell others they are a “spiritual” person to indicate that they are not materialistic or superficial. Traditionally being spiritual signified having an attachment to religious values, or matters of the spirit, rather than material or worldly interests.
More recently, however, it has also taken on the meaning of reaching higher levels of consciousness using meditation, yoga and similar practices.
While the specific definition of spirituality varies to many individuals there are some common threads that comprise spirituality.
It provides you a space to immerse yourself in the belief of a higher power that provides a connectedness to yourself and others. It’s also about reaching beyond your current limitations and beliefs, expanding your mind, questioning current beliefs and trying to better understand others.
Spirituality is important in our lives. In order for us to function at our highest capacity, all aspects of ourselves must work to be balanced. Our mind, body, and spirit need to be in harmony with each other. Many people may think that being spiritual is difficult and demanding, but that simply is not the case. You can experience being spiritual while you enjoy listening to a beautiful piece of music, looking at an amazing work of art, or reading an inspirational book or poem.
You may think to yourself, well how is that spiritual? It is spiritual because when you are immersed in, and deriving pleasure from something, it touches your soul and connects you to the artist and creation itself (Divine self). You can experience spiritual moments when you walk through the woods and connect with nature, walk along a beautiful beach, or when you see the sunset. Being present in the moment and finding appreciation and gratitude.
You can experience a spiritual connection with others when you work together to reach a common goal, such as raising funds to help those in need, playing on a sports team, being in a musical band or orchestra, or anything that involves teamwork and cooperation with others.
When we are in tune with our Divine self, nature, each other, and ourselves, we are being spiritual. There are so many wonderful ways that we can make, and take the time, to simply “connect”.
1. Find quiet time
Decide to reduce the noise level in your life. Rejuvenate your spirit and nurture yourself. Learn to take time each and every day for quiet contemplation. For example, when you’re driving alone, turn off the constant chatter bombarding your inner world. Try to make meditation a daily practice, even if it’s only a few minutes each day.
2. Be mindful of your energy
The power of intention works when you surround yourself with people who are on the same spiritual path as you. Remember that like attracts like, so you attract vibrational source energy to you by being like it. Similarly, when you’re continually in the company of low-energy, angry, depressed, shaming, hateful people, you’ll probably find life a little more challenging. Choose to be in the company of those who want to lift you up and help you achieve the joy of maximizing, rather than minimizing, your highest human potential. Make your surroundings a temple of love and kindness. Pay attention to the music you listen to, the art you view, the conversation you have, even the arrangement of your furniture.
3. Practice mindfulness
Become aware of your environment. Be aware of yourself within your environment. Enjoy the colors and smells of nature around you. One of the most spiritual things you can do in your life is spending time in nature. When you’re there and paying attention to the moment, you’ll begin to see the miraculousness of every cubic inch of space. You’ll feel the presence of an energy that you may have lost touch with in your daily life, and that energy is in you. It will put you in a revitalizing, fresh state of awareness.
4. Help others
Helping others is not only good for them and a good thing to do, it also makes us happier and healthier too. Giving also connects us to others, creating stronger communities and helping to build a happier society for everyone. This also allows you to take the focus off of yourself and your concerns. And it’s not all about money — we can also give our time, ideas and energy.
Kindness towards others is the glue which connects individual happiness with the wider community and societal wellbeing. Giving to others helps us connect with people and meets one of our basic human needs — relatedness. Kindness and caring also seem to be contagious. When we see someone do something kind or thoughtful, or we are on the receiving end of kindness, it inspires us to be kinder ourselves. In this way, kindness spreads from one person to the next, influencing the behavior of people who never saw the original act. Some things that you can do is to volunteer as a big brother or sister, coach little league, donate to the food or clothing to the shelter. Each and every little bit helps.
5. Practice gratitude
The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking the time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems. There are countless things to be grateful for in life. Take time to reflect on them and acknowledge how fortunate we all are for family, friends, and endless opportunities.
Being aware of, and cultivating spirituality greatly contributes to our overall joy and happiness. While it’s not hard, it is a daily practice and takes dedication. It’s never too late to develop it further and enjoy the benefits it brings. Be aware that your mind and physicality will not easily surrender to your spirit just because you have chosen to increase your spiritual awareness. You are your spirit; it is only your mind that is holding you back in fulfilling your truth and becoming all you want to be.