The term spirituality is extremely vague and can sometimes cause confusion even amongst those that consider themselves to be “spiritual” people. Some people define spirituality as being religious, while others define it as being in touch with nature. Some people feel spiritual by being in touch with their own feelings, while still others feel most spiritual when they are engaged in ritual like meditation or hypnotism. So what is true spirituality?
The answer is that spirituality means something different to everyone and the key is to find the type of spirituality that gives you fulfillment.
Heine de Waal, a contributor for News 24 recently published a blog post that attempts to work out some of the issues surrounding the definition of spirituality. He uses the Wikipedia definition as a jumping off point: “Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or immaterial reality, an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of their being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.”
The most salient and relevant part of that definition for discovering one’s own spiritual side is the suggestion that we can discover the essence of our own being. Once we discover that, we are more likely to have a fulfilling and happy life. While the question of what spirituality is can be difficult to answer, perhaps an even more difficult question is what do we actually do to come closer to discovering the essence of our being?
de Waal posits that no action or ritual will automatically lead to a more spiritual existence. He suggests that “spiritual” activities like religious worship, meditation, burning incense, or reading tarot can be conduits to spirituality but will not cause an individual to be more spiritual on their own. These rituals help achieve a higher level spiritual understanding by making us more aware. More aware of our surroundings, more aware of the living creatures we share the planet with, more aware of our own feelings, and most important more aware of the feelings of others.
By concentrating on those feelings, we can achieve a higher level of consciousness. de Waal believes that this higher level of awareness leads us to choose our actions from a place of love rather than from a place of fear, and it’s difficult to see how that could be a bad thing.