Yesterday night I was discussing what spirituality is. I had actually no clue what an official definition would be and started to babble about my ideas. As this is a very emotional and personal topic by nature, the discussion ended in a rather strange way.
I was quite surprised to find an explanation that suits very much to my ideas (no, I didn’t write it myself :)). As I have no clue if their community might change it some time or other, I copied it:
Spirituality may include belief in supernatural powers, as in religion, but the emphasis is on experience. What is referred to as “religion” and what is referred to as “spirituality” are often the same. In recent years, “spirituality” has often carried connotations of the believer’s faith being more personal, less dogmatic, more open to new ideas and myriad influences, and more pluralistic than the faiths of established religions. Those given to speaking of “spirituality” rather than “religion” are apt to believe that there are many “spiritual paths” and that there is no objective truth about which is the best path to follow.
Others hold that spirituality is not religion, per se, but the active and vital connection to a force, power, or sense of the deep self.
Some proponents of spirituality believe that the goal of ‘being spiritual’ is to simultaneously improve one’s wisdom, willpower and communion with God/universe, which necessitates the removal of illusions at the sensory, feeling and thinking aspectes of a person. The Plato’s cave analogy in book VII of The Republic is one of the most well known descriptions of the spiritual development process.
Other spiritual proponents point out that spirituality is a two-stroke process. The upward stroke relates to inner growth and the downward stroke relates towards manifesting improvements in the world/reality around us as a result of the inward change.
In my opinion spirituality is very much about experience. Maybe you could call it a sort of wisdom. It’s about finding your very own view and explanations about things.
Like the question whether there is a God or not. Nobody on this earth can give you an answer to that question that is better than any answer you could simply come up with yourself. Because nobody really knows.
Therefore spirituality is being on a path searching and questioning, finding and reasoning, leaving and arriving … Anybody who’s curious to answer questions like what happens after death?, what do I want to achieve in life?, what is friendship all about?, what is love? and finds his/her answers, is on a spiritual path. Those are questions, you brain doesn’t need an answer for, but your soul does. It’s not reasonable, it’s emotional, it’s instinct, it’s osi level 1.
To find your answers, I claim, you have to look withing yourself – to get to know yourself. This is of course not a one time thing. It’s a process, but after all: the one who knows your strengths and weaknesses, your desires, wishes, plans best – is you. There is always a tendency, a direction, some things you like and some things you don’t like.
Finally this goes into the direction that everybody is his own guru, swami, master, whaeveryouwannacallit … Yep. That’s my point. I honestly don’t see, why anyone should be worshiped with prayers, ceremonies, and some whatever rules should be followed. I like to listen to people like the Dalai Lama, as well as to some rabbi, a disabled person, a yoga teacher … or simply the gas station guy around the corner. Everybody chose a different path, made different decisions in life and therefore made different experiences. But that doesn’t necessarily make the gas station guy less spiritual than the Dalai Lama.
At least that’s what I believe in and you’re free to think whatever you want.