What Does Spirituality Mean? How Does Spirituality Compare To Religion?
Since this site is all about finding your path within Spirituality and, hopefully gives you some guidance on the mystical, spiritual arts, we felt it would be appropriate to look at the question of what is spirituality?
Spirituality and religion do overlap to a certain degree. They also differ in some ways too. We’ll look at those overlaps and differences shortly. But first it’s important to understand what is spirituality.
Broadly speaking, spirituality is the understanding that there is something bigger than ourselves. It is a connection to that ‘something bigger’. What that something bigger is, is very much open for debate and depending on how you speak to that may be one (or more) of the following. With potential for connections to other things not listed here.
- A connection to some form of creator / god(s).
- A connection to fellow humans.
- A connection to the Earth itself.
- A connection to the Universe.
- A connection to multiple dimensions and/or realms.
Most religions tend to focus on some form of connection to a divine being. These tend to invoke some form of order and ritual. Almost all of the connections listed above incorporate, in some form or another, a worship routine of some kind. And every spiritual connection will involve some form of communication with or through that connection.
The Quest For Answers
The human being is obsessed with knowledge. Knowledge of where we came from, through to the knowledge of what happens to us after we die. In between those two questions are multiple other questions.
Often finding the answer to one question opens us up to a whole raft of other questions. Many of which are considered to be spiritual questions.
Some spiritual questions that people often ask – either of themselves, or their mentor, or their god are these;
- Am I a good person?
- Why am I suffering so much?
- What is the connection I have to the world around me?
- Is there any reason why these things happens?
- What can I do to be a better person?
Spirituality And Emotional Health
Many things that are good for building our spirituality are also recommended for building and maintaining our emotional health. Most psychologists agree that good emotional health comes from maintaining good relationships or connections with others around us and indeed the world around us.
Seeking and maintaining these connections gives us a sense of belonging, a sense of peace, contentment, gratitude and acceptance.
These connections – whether physical or spiritual – also give us a means of calling on something or someone in times of trouble. For example, when a pipe bursts in your house you call someone who is higher qualified than you in to help (unless you’re a plumber!) The connections we maintain make our daily lives easier and more comfortable. This is true physically and can be true emotionally / spiritually too.
Feeling like we have a connection with the world around us, or the universe can help us to realise that we don’t need to know how it all works but instead to look at the possibilities and challenges and accept them with courage and hope. It can give us a direction and a sense of purpose even though we don’t necessarily understand everything that’s going on.
Spirituality And Personal Growth
For many people spirituality and personal growth are inextricably linked. Having a sense that there is a higher purpose than simply ourselves can give us motivation to improve ourselves. Sometimes, until we start looking at ourselves we don’t necessarily know where we need to grow personally.
In some spiritual belief systems, this plays into the sense of karma (the law of cause and effect) and even for some, reincarnation. Many spiritual beliefs encompass the notion that we are here to grow and learn. When we grow and learn in this lifetime we can perhaps achieve greater things in the next.
Whether or not you believe in karma or reincarnation, it cannot hurt to want to grow your potential in this lifetime. Spirituality can help here.
Other spiritual belief systems state that you must give up everything and everyone around you and when you can achieve that you have become a truly spiritual being. But this doesn’t match up with the notion of spirituality being a connection. And maybe it’s your personal growth requirement to figure out how to deal with the physical stuff in your life rather than run away from it.
Spirituality IS Love and Connection
Again, whether you believe that we are all one with each other, and taking that a step further to believe that we are in fact all one with the universe or the Godhead, it is impossible to ignore that we are indeed all connected to each other and the universe.
We originated in the stars. Chemical elements are formed in the stars. And we’re made of chemical elements. We are what we eat, breath, drink and synthesize from sunlight. The atoms that make up my body made up something else in the universe before they became my body. We ARE all connected. And we all rely on each other in some way. Some connections are more close than others but we are all connected.
So to not love others, or not love the universe is to not love ourselves.
Being spiritual means tо bе kind аnd caring fоr оurѕеlvеѕ, thе living beings wе know аnd аlѕо fоr thоѕе wе do nоt know. Our kindness ѕhоuld nоt оnlу bе reflected thrоugh оur actions, but thrоugh оur words аnd thoughts аѕ wеll.
Sо spiritualism means tо inculcate love, truthfulness, positive thinking, peace, kindness аnd happiness wіthіn оurѕеlvеѕ. It means tо realize thаt еvеrуbоdу – аll humans, animals, insects, plants аnd аll оthеr living beings аrе connected tо one аnоthеr. Sо, іf аnу harm іѕ done, оr wished uроn, оn аnу оf thеѕе, thе others аrе bound tо bе affected. Thаt’s whу, іn order tо bе spiritual, а person needs tо bе helping, caring аnd considerate оf others аnd thuѕ, choose hіѕ actions, words аnd thoughts consciously.
And through this connectedness we can learn more, experience more and grow in ourselves more.
Is Spiritualism The Same As Religion?
Spiritualism is somewhat different from religion – although both tend to aim towards making humans better people in their connections with each, the reasons and the methods are somewhat different.
A religious person aims to be a ‘good person’ to please some outside deity or god. A spiritual person aims to be a ‘good person’ in order to please themselves. The motivations are often quite different.
Spirituality is trying to understand the self and our connection to the universe through our own experiences. Religion is very much trying to understand our place in the universe through others experiences.
What Is The Difference Between Spirituality and Spiritualism
This is of course another question that often confuses people. Spirituality is as we’ve described in the various paragraphs above.
Spiritualism is a philosophy or movement who believe that we can contact the spirits of the dead through various different means. Spiritual people can believe in spiritualism or not – the two aren’t especially related. However, spiritualists (generally people who believe in spiritualism) who believe they can contact the dead can often use their contacts to advance themselves and their connections through the universe.
Spiritualism can become an addictive distraction from the search of truth and oneness of the universe. Indeed, spiritualism can be considered somewhat akin to a religion since one ends up seeking the answers through others knowledge.
Spirituality Is A HUGE Topic
As the title suggests, this topic is huge and as such in this article we’ve only just touched the surface. But we will revisit this and we’ll add extra articles around the topic in due course. Please check back as continue to update the site.