A definition with worldwide perspectives

The definition of spirituality has morphed into a more refined definition over time as practices and language around it have evolved. It is openly defined by the Oxford Language dictionary  as: The quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. This thought out definition, sums up how a spiritual person may resonate with the idea of what it means to be in relationship with the spiritual side of themselves.

 

We intend to break down this topic so it is more easily digestible and the magic of spirituality can take on a realistic approach from a beginners perspective. We hope to demystify what spirituality looks like in the New Age paradigm and what it looks like from many perspectives around the world. 

Maybe you are here because someone mentioned they were “spiritual” and you didn’t know what that meant. Maybe you stumbled across this page because you need a language to integrate the feelings you have about your personal spiritual experience. In any case, we're glad you’re here, expanding your mind with new possibilities, and researching your way towards a new understanding!

“I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual”- the quick breakdown of what this really means

This statement is more about what they are not, than what they actually believe. People who use this phrase want to convey that they don’t subscribe to traditional dogmatic beliefs about anything in particular. The intent is an open approach to what it means to connect to the higher mind and ideas outside of themselves while dodging the conventional approach. It’s about being open to many approaches and not singling anyone out for the way they follow their personal spiritual path.

This response can be an open door for conversation! You may ask a spiritual person questions like “what does that mean to you exactly or how did you discover you were spiritual?” This breaks the ice if you’re curious about another person’s approach and allows the dialogue about spirituality to continue.  

How does spirituality feel?

Spirituality can feel like so many things, it really is your personal experience. It can feel like goosebumps on the skin, a tingling in the head, tears of joy, a loose and limber body, satisfaction, vivid senses or an overall calmness about life’s challenges. It can also look like a bad day, an accident, hurtful words and an overall chaotic feeling about life. Spirituality does not shelter us from the good, bad or ugly. Eventually the higher mind above all will relax into feeling cared for no matter the circumstance, and in the end, there is always a place to land- a familiar home to get back to.

Spirituality and its definition around the World

The Institute of Spirituality in Asia is an organization which states they are, “committed to the search and research of lived spirituality that is dynamic, transformative and liberating that leads to iner-faith dialogue and collaborations.”

The Harvard Gazette along with Jacob Olupona, professor at Harvard Divinity School offers this for spirituality “African spirituality simply acknowledges that beliefs and practices touch on and inform every facet of human life”

 

Denmark Technical College offers a Certificate in Spirituality, Health and Healing, they describe spirituality as, “Although spirituality may include traditional religious beliefs and practices, spirituality is a much broader concept that also includes nonreligious beliefs and expressions. it includes a sense of connection to something larger than ourselves and typically involves a search for meaning in life”.

Fetzer Institute surveyed that Americans identify spirituality as, “People from a variety of spiritual and religious backgrounds shared that spirituality is an essential element of being human that can bring beauty to our lives and animate us in powerful ways.

How do I begin being more spiritual?

Feeling more spiritual in your daily life can be as simple or complex as you like. The advice here is to look at many diverse conversations about spiritual topics, just as you are reading this site, and open yourself up to choosing information based on your gut feeling - you know that feeling you have when you “know” something is right for you. Give yourself time to choose a practice to research and even follow.  You may discover there are many spiritual activities you’d like to participate in, and that’s okay!

Common misconceptions about spirituality

Spirituality is not just flowy tops, amazing Instagram posts, gemstone jewelry, a top-knot bun, or the hottest prints on yoga pants. It’s not saying “Namaste” after receiving your coffee or being sweet and polite while being a doormat. It’s simply whatever you say and think it is and that’s the beauty of doing the research for yourself. 

Also, remember that Religion and its practices are spiritual too, so do not feel as if you don’t fit this category. If you take the outer experience of what something looks like without seeing how it evolved there, then you do yourself a great disservice.

Spirituality is an individual path and can look like many others, or none at all. The idea here is to investigate for yourself and not be turned off by the look or the dogmatic definitions that exist. Give that top knot bun and hot yoga pants the experience they deserve!

 

Resources: 

languages.oup.com- (Google dictionary provided by Oxford definitions)

isa.org.ph- Institute of Spirituality in Asia

news.harvard.edu- The spirituality of Africa

ed2go.com- Certificate in Spirituality, Health and healing

 

By: Keesha