What is Spirituality? — Definition, Types and Benefits
Last Updated on February 2, 2023
Spirituality is an idea that has been around for hundreds of years, but many people still find it hard to understand.
Spirituality is about connecting with something bigger than ourselves and tapping into a sense of purpose and meaning that goes beyond the physical world.
Spirituality can be a powerful tool for personal growth and well-being, whether you are looking for a deeper connection with your inner self or a way to connect with a higher power.
In this article, we’ll go deep into the world of spirituality, looking at what it is, why it matters, and how you can find your own path to a more meaningful life.
You will learn about the different kinds of spirituality, the benefits of incorporating spirituality into your daily life, and how to find your own spiritual path. This article will give you the information and inspiration you need to take the next step in your spiritual journey, no matter how long you’ve been on it or how new you are to it.
So, join me as I look into the fascinating and changing world of spirituality.
What Is Spirituality?
Spirituality is a personal journey that has fascinated people for thousands of years. It’s the connection we feel with something bigger than ourselves that we can’t explain.
It’s what drives us to look for purpose, meaning, and a better understanding of where we fit in the world.
Imagine, if you will, that life is a journey that can be both exciting and hard. At times, you may feel like you don’t know where you are or what’s going on.
Here comes spirituality into play. The lighthouse shows you the way, guiding you through storms and shining brightly when the sky is clear.
Spirituality has been around as long as people have lived.
People have tried to connect with the divine, find peace and inner harmony, and go beyond the limits of the physical world since the beginning of time.
People have always tried to figure out their place in the world and live meaningful life, whether through religion, meditation, or something else.
For some, spirituality is a religious journey, a way to connect to a higher power through prayer and worship.
For others, it’s a more secular journey, a connection to nature, the universe, or just their own inner selves. No matter how you define spirituality, it is a personal and life-changing journey that can bring you a lot of happiness, peace, and understanding.
Definitions of Spirituality
1. Cambridge dictionary: “The quality that involves deep feelings and beliefs of a religious nature, rather than the physical parts of life.”
2. Oxford dictionary: “The quality of being connected with religion or the human spirit.”
3. Dr Maya Spencer defines spirituality as: “Spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than myself, something more to being human than sensoryexperience, and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature. Spirituality means knowing that our lives have significance in a context beyond a mundane everyday existence at the level of biological needs that drive selfishness and aggression. It means knowing that we are a significant part of a purposeful unfolding of Life in our universe.”
4. Wikipedia: “It is a concern with matters of the spirit, however, that may be defined, but it is also a wide term with many available readings. It may include belief in supernatural powers, as in religion, but the emphasis is on personal experience. It may be an expression for life perceived as higher, more complex or more integrated with one’s worldview, as contrasted with the merely sensual.”
5. NCBI definition of spirituality: “It involves belief and obedience to an all-powerful force usually called God, who controls the universe and the destiny of man. It involves the ways in which people fulfill what they hold to be the purpose of their lives, a search for the meaning of life, and a sense of connectedness to the universe. The universality of spirituality extends across creed and culture. At the same time, spirituality is very much personal and unique to each person.”
6. Spirituality according to Hindusim: “Spiritualism in Hindu is not only worshipping God, following rituals and offering donations, but it also explains “how to make the world a better place to live in peace and security!”
7. Spirituality, according to Christianity: “Biblical spirituality centers in the relationship between the elect community and the God who called forth that community. It is this relationship that enables the community to understand itself, its place in the world, its distinction from other nations, its destiny under the deity’s leadership. One central motif in the biblical literature is the portrayal, in many ways, of Israel and the Church as holy people.“
8. Mario Beauregard and Denyse O’Leary’s definition of spirituality: “Spirituality means any experience that is thought to bring the experiencer into contact with the divine (in other words, not just any experience that feels meaningful).”
Why is Spirituality Important?
Spirituality is important as everyone’s definition of truth is different, and spirituality gives people the freedom to figure it out for themselves. So the core reason why spirituality is important is because of its freedom of exploration of truth.
The search for truth has many paths, and while in that journey, one finds his true self and the meaning of life.
With that said, spirituality helps a person to connect with a higher power.
Spiritual practices such as meditation, affirmations, and other things strengthen people to overcome their fears, and shortcomings and give them a positive eyepiece to perceive life.
If you observe life closely, you will find that we all are on a spiritual journey. We avoid this thought because we get so clutched into the material world that we never open our eyes and see the hidden.
According to Hinduism, the purpose of a man is to pursue Purusharths — dharma (righteousness), wealth (artha), desire (kama), and salvation (moksha).
But in our lives, we always pursue three things which are righteousness, wealth, and desires and at last, we say life is so mean, life is hard.
The purpose is to pursue four Purusharthas which does make sense because we neglect salvation, and spirituality plays a big role in attaining it, and that’s why spirituality is important.
The goal of every religion is to find God. No spiritual texts say that money is bad because you need money to eat, live, have a place to live, and stay alive.
But what they tell us is never spend your entire life accumulating money and praise, spend a part of your life in seeking God and knowing the truth.
This is also the reason why spirituality is becoming important in modern life as everyone is on their way to becoming bigger and better, but only a few pauses and observe what silliness they are into.
What Are The Benefits of Spirituality?
According to many spiritual masters like Sadhguru, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Vivekananda, Sri Paramhansa Yogananda, etc.
Spirituality can bring a wealth of benefits to your life, both physical and mental. Some of the most significant benefits of spirituality include:
1. Better mental and emotional health: Spirituality can help you find peace, calm, and a sense of purpose in your life, which can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress.
2. Physical health benefits: Studies have shown that spiritual practises like meditation and mindfulness can be good for your physical health by lowering blood pressure, making it easier to sleep, and making your immune system stronger.
3. A sense of community and connection: Many spiritual practises are done in groups, which can help people feel like they belong and are part of something bigger. This feeling of being connected can be very important for people who feel alone or cut off from others.
4. Self-discovery: Spirituality encourages people to look inward, think about themselves, and find out more about themselves. This journey of self-reflection can help you learn more about your own beliefs, values, and wants. It can also lead to personal growth and change.
5. A deeper connection to something bigger: Spirituality gives many people a sense of connection to a higher power, nature, the universe, or just a deeper sense of meaning and purpose. This connection can make you feel calm and safe, especially when things are hard or uncertain.
Researches on Spirituality
There are many scientific pieces of research on spirituality that prove its benefits.
According to an NCBI study of spiritual benefits over depression:
As with self-esteem, mental health professionals have argued that R/S might increase guilt by focusing on sin and could thus lead to depression. Again, however, this has not been found in the majority of studies. Of 70 prospective cohort studies, 39 (56%) reported that greater R/S predicted lower levels of depression or faster remission of depression, whereas seven (10%) predicted worse future depression and seven (10%) reported mixed results (both significant positive and negative associations depending on R/S characteristic).
Another research on spirituality and its benefits over employees discovered:
Three different perspectives are introduced on how spirituality benefits employees and supports organizational performance based on the extant literature: (a) Spirituality enhances employee well-being and quality of life; (b) Spirituality provides employees a sense of purpose and meaning at work; (c) Spirituality provides employees a sense of interconnectedness and community.
Spirituality and Performance in Organizations: A Literature Review
Spirituality and depression:
One study found that for every 10-point increase in a person’s intrinsic religiosity, there was a 70% increase in recovery from depressive symptoms after physical illness. Similar findings have been found amongst those who believe in a transcendent being or higher power and amongst those who belong to a community with others who share their values and offer support.
In short, the overall conclusion drawn by much of the research is that many expressions and elements of spirituality are helpful in reducing depressive symptoms and/or increasing general wellbeing.
There are many more studies that have shown similar results. There is no one reason how spirituality changes the lives of people, but one thing is certain, spirituality can do wonders if done with proper faith and understanding.
Types of Spirituality
Though people talk about various types of spirituality, in reality, there is no type. However, you can divide spirituality into two types – religious and non-religious.
1. Religious Spirituality
People who believe in religion and follow spirituality at the same time are said to be practicing religious spirituality.
Well, there is not much of a difference as there are people who follow rituals of their religion as well as meditations and other spiritual practices.
2. Non-religious Spirituality
The other type is non-religious spirituality, popularly known as “Spiritual but not religious.” (SBNR).
The people who follow this type do not accept organized religion as the sole or most valuable means of furthering spiritual growth.
Not everyone accepts these types because spirituality in its pure form is undefinable and cannot be broken into types.
3 Common Spiritual Practises
Common Spiritual Practices are the methods and activities that individuals use to deepen their connection to something greater and to bring more meaning and purpose to their lives.
Some of the most common spiritual practices include:
Meditation is a simple yet powerful spiritual practice that involves focusing the mind on a single point of awareness. This can be achieved through mindfulness, visualization, or simply focusing on your breath. Meditation helps quiet the mind and reduce stress, promoting a sense of calm and inner peace.
Prayer is a form of communication with a higher power, and is a common spiritual practice in many religions. Whether through silent reflection, recitation, or speaking aloud, prayer helps individuals connect with a higher power, express gratitude, and seek guidance.
Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice that involves physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. It is designed to bring balance to the body and mind, and to promote inner peace
Difference Between Spirituality and Religion
Spirituality and religion both are very complex topics and to understand them you have to understand how they differ.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, spirituality relates to the soul, and religion deals with the existence of superhuman controlling power, especially God or gods, usually expressed in worship.
Traditionally, spirituality was a synonym of religion, but as the beliefs and faith evolved, they both became different. There is a very subtle difference between religion and spirituality.
Religion speaks about judgment, sin, guilt, and other factors. Whereas spirituality believes in “learning from the errors.”
Spirituality is about individual practices but religion is more about a community. So, for example, Christianity and the followers of this religion are a community and they practice this together. But spirituality is more about freedom of choice.
Religion often divides us into distinct groups based on differing beliefs and practices. However, spirituality transcends these divisions by promoting the idea that everything is interconnected and divine.
Instead of separating people based on religious affiliation, spirituality unites us by recognizing a common spiritual thread that runs through us all.
You may identify them as different or as the same but either way being spiritual doesn’t make you religious or vice versa.
So don’t get confused because you can be both spiritual and religious at the same time.
3 Spiritual Books To Read And Start Your Spiritual Journey
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1. Autobiography Of a Yogi
A book by Paramhansa Yogananda is beautiful biography on Yogananda’s life. This book takes you to the ancient secrets of Yoga and solidifies your belief in God. I have read this book myself and found it intimidating.
This spiritual book talks about some topics which are beyond belief and I recommend you to read this book if you have a great interest in finding what spirituality is.
2. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
An Eckhart Tolle’s masterpiece, this book focuses on the spiritual importance of the present moment. This book contains some powerful spiritual truths and one must have little knowledge of spirituality before he/she begins reading this book. Well, if you have read this article then you should not worry. Thanks to me!🙄
If you are interested in reading Eckhart Tolle’s quotes then you can check that article to know more about his wisdom.
3. Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy
Sadhguru, if you are a spiritual seeker and you are unfamiliar with that name then it would really put me into a surprising state. Sadhguru is one of the most popular spiritual gurus around the world and this book is his best selling book on spirituality.
Inner Engineering is not just a normal spiritual book, it is more than that because it helps not only in spiritual growth but also in personal growth.
After completing this book your perception of life, work and relationship will change. Also, read motivational Sadhguru quotes, you might get an idea of his teachings, beliefs and philosophies.
Who is a Spiritual Person And What Are His Qualities?
I have told you what spirituality is, I have talked about its benefits as well. But do you know what is a spiritual person? or what qualities make a spiritual person?
No problem, let’s find out how a spiritual person lives his life.
A spiritual person is someone who lives in harmony with himself and others. A spiritual person is an awakened being. Who with the practice of spiritual techniques (yoga and meditation) find peace with his inner self. A spiritual person is kind, generous and happy with everything that life brings to him/her.
Qualities of a Spiritual Person:
- Peace with his inner self
- Calm mind
- Lives in present
- Perceives everything as God’s creation
- Loves simplicity
- Finds happiness in small things
What Are The Elements Of Spirituality?
There are many elements in spirituality, for instance, according to Bible we would say that the elements constitute, God the Father, God the Son, and God the holy spirit.
Whereas, if we talk about the earth-based elements of spirituality then there are five of them; earth, water, fire, air, and spirit of course.
But the most commonly known and experienced elements of spirituality are, love, compassion, altruism, and connecting with the higher self.
These four concepts were identified by many spiritual traditions as being central to all human experiences. The individual journey through life is one that includes these universal themes in varying degrees depending on an individual’s personal beliefs or religious practices.
How Can You Start Your Journey Into Spirituality?
Spirituality is a word that means different things to different people. It often has to do with the personal connection one has with various religious beliefs, life experiences, and feelings.
This can be described as an individual’s search for meaning and purpose in their life. Spirituality is also about how one relates to or feels about themselves and others and the world around them. It is not just a belief but an integral part of the human experience.
We all have a spiritual side no matter what we believe in, so it is important to pay attention to what spirituality means to you.
So after discovering what spirituality implies to you, you can pioneer on the path of finding reality.
Starting your journey into spirituality can be an exciting and transformative experience. Here are 6 simple ways that will help you get started on your spiritual journey:
1. Get to know yourself
Take time to reflect on your beliefs, values, and what you are searching for in life. This self-discovery process can help you identify what kind of spiritual practice or path resonates with you.
2. Explore different spiritual practices
Research and try out different spiritual practices to see what works best for you. This could include meditation, prayer, yoga, nature walks, journaling, or something else entirely.
3. Find a community
Joining a spiritual community, such as a church, temple, or meditation group, can provide support, guidance, and a sense of belonging. Being part of a community can help you deepen your spiritual practice and make new connections.
4. Make time for your spiritual practice
Whether it’s meditation, yoga, or another practice, make sure to set aside time each day or each week to focus on your spiritual growth. This consistent dedication to your practice will help you build a deeper connection and achieve greater benefits.
5. Practice openness and compassion
Spirituality is about connecting with something greater and embracing a sense of unity with all things. Practicing openness and compassion for others can help you deepen your spiritual connection and bring more meaning to your life.
6. Be patient and persistent
Spirituality is a journey, not a destination. Embrace the ups and downs and trust that you will experience growth and transformation over time.
What do The Most Intellectual Minds say About Spirituality?
1. “True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” – Charles Spurgeon
2. “Fight the good fight of faith, and God will give you spiritual mercies.” – George Whitefield
3. “Faith is as essential to the spiritual realm as oxygen is to the natural realm.” – Ray Comfort
4. “One of the greatest indicators of our own spiritual maturity is revealed in how we respond to the weaknesses, the inexperience, and the potentially offensive actions of others.” – David A. Bednar
5. “The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. Poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.” – Mother Teresa
6. “The spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it.” – Henri J.M. Nouwen
7. “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
8. ” Spirituality does two things for you. One, you are forced to become more selfless, two, you trust to providence. The opposite of a spiritual man is a materialist. If I was a materialist I would be making lots of money doing endorsements, doing cricket commentary. I have no interest in that.” – Imran Khan
9. “You can read books without ever stepping into a library; and practice spirituality without ever going to a temple.” – Anthony De Mello
10. “Most importantly, the meaning of spirituality lays the seeds for our destiny and the path we must follow.” – Dennis Banks
Doesn’t matter if you are religious or not; you can practice spirituality because either way, you are on the path toward God. What makes spirituality unique and beautiful is freedom.
There are no rules or authority; there is just you, figuring out the truth about life, God, and yourself. Every religion talks about spirituality, every research which has been done on it proves its benefits and how it can change the way humans think.
As a spiritual practitioner myself, I can assure you, you will feel the difference. If you are a religious person don’t leave your religion because am too one of you. If you are not religious, then do try religion too.
Both of them are unique, and you can practice them at the same time, just be open to exploring everything, and in that pursuit, you’ll find your true self.
What Are Examples of Spirituality?
Meditation, spending some time alone, praying, journaling and building awareness are some examples of spirituality.
What Are the 3 Elements of Spirituality?
The three elements of spirituality are faith, devotion, and your relationship with God.
Who Is a Spiritual Person?
A person who loves himself and others, a person who lives in harmony with the world, is said to be a spiritual person.
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