Talk to people about spirituality and you often see them get a worried look on their faces. There’s a lot of “woo-woo” associated with spiritual conversations and many people mistake them for religious ones. But that’s not what spirituality is.
Spirituality is the search to find meaning in our lives and to connect to others and to the greater universe. That’s it. There are no rituals required. No prayers. No superstitions. There’s no need to embrace a higher power or kneel to a deity. In fact it is not anti-religion either, a lot of spiritual people are also religious people. Even the most devout of atheists can lead a spiritual life.
There are questions that people ask themselves that help them see spirituality in the “big picture” context.
· As a person, I am a good person?
· Why do I need to suffer? Is there a reason for it?
· How am I connected to the things around me?
· Is there an underlying purpose for existence?
· What would it take for me to live the best life that I can?
It is true that a religious person may answer these questions with reference to a god or gods but there’s no need to do so. A spiritual but not religious person can ask all these questions and come to different conclusions from a religious person and they can both be right. Respecting our individual and collective right to have these differences is necessary to understand what it is to be human.
We are all different and the answers to our questions are all different too. The importance of spirituality is not in being right but rather in progressing down a path that leads to emotional wellbeing.
The right answers to our spiritual searching will result in positive emotions. These may include awe, peace, acceptance, gratitude and the biggest blessing of them all, contentment.
They help us to see that we are more than just an individual floundering around in the confusion of life but we are, in fact, connected to everyone and everything else. This connection builds further positive emotions. We are, after all, a social species. Connecting helps us fulfil our innermost needs for company. In fact, it is our decreasing levels of connection that is leading to our collective epidemic of unhappiness.
That’s a great question and, of course, there’s no one size fits all answer to this. However, it is important to make time for spirituality. It is an important part of our overall wellbeing.
Some people do this by taking walks in nature, others by meditating, others by taking a workout in the gym during the day, there are many ways to give yourself the space to think and appreciate the bigger questions in our lives.
One instant benefit of considering our spiritual side is that it helps us develop a sense of purpose. Having a sense of purpose makes it much easier to get what you want from life and to help others get what they want from their lives too.
It is not selfish to make some space in your busy day for the spiritual, quite the contrary, it will pay you back and everyone around you back too. Try it and see.