What is Spirituality?

What is spirituality? While spirituality can mean different things to different people, it is generally a connection to something greater than ourselves and the search for meaning and purpose in life.

Z. Hereford

what is spirituality
what is spirituality
What is Spirituality?

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 signifies having an attachment to religious values or matters of the spirit rather than material or worldly interests.

More recently, it has also taken on the meaning of reaching higher levels of consciousness using meditation, yoga, and similar practices.

I consider spirituality to be a state in which we are connected to God, Nature, each other, and the deepest part of ourselves.

Why is spirituality important in our lives?

In order for us to function fully, all aspects of ourselves must be balanced. Our mind, body, and spirit have to be in harmony with each other.

We cannot focus on the material and neglect the spiritual. People may think being spiritual is difficult and demanding, but that is untrue.

You can experience being spiritual when you enjoy listening to beautiful music, looking at an amazing work of art, or reading an inspirational book or poem.

How is that spiritual?

It is spiritual because when you are immersed in and derive pleasure from it, it touches your soul and connects you to the artist and creation itself (God).

You experience spiritual moments when you walk through the woods, connect with nature, walk along a beautiful beach, or see the sunset.

You 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 involving teamwork and cooperation.

When we are in tune with God, Nature, each other, and ourselves, we are being spiritual. There are so many wonderful ways that we can make and take the time to "connect".

How to Become More Spiritual
  • Take time for yourself. Rejuvenate your spirit and nurture yourself by listening to relaxing music. Read inspirational literature, get a massage, or soak in a soothing bath.

  • Help those in need of your assistance. When you help others, you automatically connect better with the rest of humanity. Volunteer as a big brother or sister, coach Little League or donate to the food shelter. Every little bit helps.

  • Practice gratitude. There are so many 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.

  • Practice mindfulness. Become aware of your environment. Be mindful of yourself within your environment. Enjoy the colors and smells of nature around you. Enjoy the feel of rain falling on your nose and the wind blowing on your face. It will put you in a revitalizing, fresh state of awareness.

  • Practice patience. Patience contributes to spirituality by encouraging you to be deliberate and reflective. It also generates a serene frame of mind.

  • Express yourself. If you don't already engage in artistic or expressive activities, learn to dance, sing, play a musical instrument, engage in creative writing, start a personal journal, or take art lessons. Doing so puts you in touch with your creative, right-brain side. We all need to balance the logical, linear aspects of ourselves.

Benefits of Spirituality

⇒ Individuals who participate in spirituality are healthier. According to the Journal of Athletic Training, those who participate in some type of spirituality possess greater healing capabilities and decreased rates of stroke, cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, drug abuse, suicide, and general mortality.

⇒ Promotes healthier relationships. People who practice spirituality are typically more interested in having good relationships and being connected to others. According to research done by the American Psychological Association, religion or spirituality positively impacts romantic/marital relationships and child development. They found that spiritual beliefs or behaviors generally strengthen marriages and influence relationships and positive interactions with family members.

⇒ Helps lessen stress. In her book The SuperStress Solution, Dr. Roberta Lee writes that spiritual people use their spirituality to cope better with life. She importantly writes:

"They're better able to cope with stress, they heal faster from illness, and they experience increased benefits to their health and well-being. On an intellectual level, spirituality connects you to the world, which in turn enables you to stop trying to control things all by yourself. When you feel part of a greater whole, it's easy to understand that you aren't responsible for everything that happens in life."

Being aware of and cultivating spirituality greatly contributes to our overall joy and happiness. It's never too late to develop it further and enjoy its benefits.