What is Spirituality?, definition, type of spirituality, benefits of spirituality


With the growing popularity of spirituality, people all around the world want to know what spirituality actually is.

For some, spirituality is a collection of imaginary things which don't even exist, but for others, it is much more than just a thought or belief. 

In this article, I am going to take you to the depths of spirituality, its definitions, types, benefits, importance, and much more.

So without any further ado, let's get started.

    Meaning Of Spirituality

    Spirituality is defined as a journey towards finding love, happiness, peace and get in tune with our spiritual self without trying to seek it on the outside(material world) but on the inside. It is a never-ending quest for meaning, truth, God, and to look at every internal and external thing as a creation of God. 

    For many spiritual practitioners, spirituality is having an ocean full of genuine intentions, love, compassion, empathy, sympathy, respect for every living being and seeing them as the children of God.

    There are many more definitions of spirituality developed by others and some of them are listed below.

    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 sensory
    experience, 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 worshiping 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)."

    So now, as we have defined spirituality and understood its meaning, let's find out why it is important.

    Why is Spirituality Important?

    importance of spirituality, what is spirituality?


    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, shortcomings and gives 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.

    In every religion, the end goal is to seek God. No spiritual texts state that money is bad because to eat, to live, to have a shelter, to sustain you need money. 

    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 observes what silliness they are into.

    Benefits of Spirituality

    what is spirituality, benefits of spirituality


    If all those things which you have learned till now about spirituality do not convince you, then let's dive into the proven benefits of spirituality.

    According to many spiritual masters like Sadhguru, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Vivekananda, Sri Paramhansa Yogananda, etc. spirituality benefits you in your career, relationship, and health. 

    So here's a list of 15 health benefits of spirituality:

    1. It helps to reduce the risk of disease.

    2. Helps to improve the immune system. 

    3. It makes you more compassionate.

    4. It helps you understand yourself.

    5. Spirituality increases productivity 

    6. Reduces workplace stress.

    7. It gives you a sense of fulfillment.

    8. You try to understand everything in depth.

    9. You will understand life and its miracles. 

    10. Spiritual practices can help you maintain a balance between mind and body.

    11. You become more grateful towards life. 

    12. You become more forgiving.

    13. Helps you calm your mind.

    14. Many studies have shown that spirituality and spiritual practices help to overcome depression.

    15. Spirituality can help you battle cancer.

    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). 

    NCBI

    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.

    Mentalhealth.org.uk 

    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 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. So, let's now understand what makes spirituality different from religion.

    Difference Between Spirituality and Religion

    difference between spirituality and religion

    Spirituality and religion both are very complex topics and to understand it 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.

    Difference Between Spirituality and Religion


    spirituality and religion

    Source

    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 "learn 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 is about division. Hindu, Muslims, Sikhs, Christianity, Jainism, these religion divides us into people of different faiths and beliefs but spirituality unites us as it believes in the concept that everything is God.

    difference between spirituality and religion



    You may identify them as different or as the same but either way being spiritual doesn't make you religious or vice-versa.

    Quotes 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

    Conclusion

    Doesn't matter if you are religious or not; you can practice spirituality because either way, you are on the path towards 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 human 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 explore everything, and in that pursuit, you'll find your true self. 

    Thanks for reading, I hope this blog post answers most of your questions on spirituality. Feel free to ask questions in the comment section. Do not forget to share it with your friends.