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What Is Spirituality?

Pink cherry blossomsThe word “Spirituality” is very charged. If you mention it to the average person, she will probably think a) religious belief, b) meditation and alternative practices, or otherwise c) a delusional, unrealistic way of seeing the world. Never something natural, organic.

But it’s difficult to circumvent it when talking about Spirit. Spirit-uality is the awareness that all is Spirit.

This is beyond human spiritual/religious beliefs or systems. No human created Spirit, therefore Spirit itself is not affected by human beliefs, regardless of how big they are, or many humans accept them. If you choose not to believe in the existence of ‘something else’, you can. Spirit won’t disappear just because you don’t believe in it. It will just, well, pretend It’s not there, to comply with your belief.

You are one spirit, belonging to the larger collective that I usually refer to as ‘Spirit’, with a capital ‘S’. You have a body, emotions, thoughts, feelings, but behind it all is a spirit. Everything that you do, and everything you focus your attention on, has at some level Spirit, and your spirit, involved. Your focus of attention comes from your spirit. Whatever you do, even if you focus on your human self (mind, emotion, body), derives from your spiritual self at some level.

In a very broad sense, absolutely everything that you do, and that you are, is Spiritual. There’s a quote by Thomas Carlyle that goes something like this: the spiritual is the parent of the practical. This is what it means.

Spirit, both in a broad sense (the Divinity, the ether, the ‘unseen stuff’) and in an individual sense (your spirit) is what animates things. It gives life, meaning, and propels. It holds the laws of physics together, and it’s from where everything comes from. It’s the vital force, so to speak.

Spirituality: a Less Broad Perspective

Now, of course, after many existences of focusing on matter, on things, on the physical, and “believing in what you see”, at some point a realization arises: is there something more? This is when the focus starts becoming explicitly (or at least partially explicitly) spiritual.

This questioning may therefore take many forms. The scientist longs for the truth of things above all certainty, the religious one finds safety in the belief of a higher power, and the “unnamed” spiritual seeker searches for the meanings in life itself.

And you can flip-flop around. You can try a religious belief and then shift to a very atheist, or scientific one. You can do the opposite, and turn from a very skeptic, atheist person, into the most sensitive and spiritually attuned.

But behind this, behind this looking for things, is that question being made: what is it? Is there something more?

It’s your spirit asking the question.

It’s always the spirit who questions. It’s its nature. It’s when you can see it at work.

And it’s inviting you to discover yourself back again, because you are a Spirit, and you came from Spirit. And in the long run, all Spirit and all spirits long to return back Home, that is, to realize their true nature, and exist fully and wholly in it. The many paths and stages you take are varied, and you can call them all forms of Spirituality.

But the true core of Spirituality lies in the underlying desire to seek. The need to find a standpoint that you’re comfortable with. Even if that standpoint is “there is no such thing as Spirit”. The need to know, to have a standpoint, is spiritual in itself.

Spirit at its core is benevolent. It’s its nature. In Spirit (the broad one) there are pockets of not very spiritual (positive) things. There are pockets of darkness, or anti-spiritual. There are also gradations, some things a little less bright, and others a little more dark, because nothing in this world is ever black-or-white.

But, Spirit at its core is purely benevolent. All the rest came from that. And that’s where Home is.

Spiritual Spirituality

Even knowing that the thing which is doing the seeking is actually Spirit, many belief systems, stages, and ways one encounters to make sense of reality are not always explicitly turned to Spirit itself. Science (the modern, mainstream one) is very much reluctant into accepting that what it cannot see and what it cannot prove. Even as it finds out that very precise calibrations and values make up the core of the Universe, scientists still are very reluctant into using the word God. As such, many of these models of the world, even coming from an underlying Spiritual quest, are not “spiritual” per se.

But at some point the human heart has to open to the unknown, to the intangible, to the unseen, within itself and in external reality. The linear mind which only seeks proof and isn’t open to the uncertain now, is very strict and closed. At some point the path becomes interior, mainly from within. And for this to happen, the mind must relax, and the heart (not “emotions” or “feelings”, but the part of the human that is closest with his eternal Self) must be put in charge.

The path is then felt, not seen. And what is felt is more real than anything else, at all.

Spiritual, then, could be defined by being the standpoint, any standpoint, that is aligned with the idea that the human is, or belongs, to an eternal and higher Spirit, rather than being a finite biological being with a given lifespan – after which everything ends. Try for a moment to imagine the moment of your death, from the standpoint of a non-spiritual perspective, that is, that when you die your perception ceases to exist. Try to imagine you not.

You can’t truly conceive you not being, you not seeing, you not – the absence of you. Perhaps you can conceive it from the outside, as if you’re observe yourself as someone else; but you can’t imagine yourself not being. The reason is, because it’s not possible. You are always there. You are eternal. You are a spirit. You Are. Always. At no point does that come to an end.

Spiritual is every thought, idea, belief, and choice you make, that takes into account that you’re an eternal spirit.

Therefore, you might be a Buddhist and live your life from a spiritual perspective. Or a Catholic Christian. All of these are Spiritual. Or, you might be washing your dishes, raising your children, driving your car, and thinking about the ball game, in a spiritual way. Spirituality is not really about a specific belief system you adhere to. Spirituality is a term for coming from the standpoint of Spirit. All the standpoints and practices that convey this are, therefore, “Spiritual”.

Ultimately, though, you won’t adhere to a specific rule set, religion, cult, opinion, standpoint, etc, that is maintained in a more or less fixed form outside of yourself. You’ll recognize that your Spirit is a natural seeker, and at some point, that seeking encompasses so much that any specific point of view is only going to limit it. It’ll be no more than a cumbersome crutch.

Where once you found safety from uncertainty, you’ll now feel trapped and confined. Where once you felt affinity to parts of a specific philosophy, and called yourself a member, despite the things you did not felt related to, now you won’t tolerate a single thing that is not aligned with you. Where once you felt content at explaining parts of reality, now you’ll feel comfort only at being in total integrity with yourself and your own truth – and nothing else.

Where once you found meaning in figuring out life lessons from the sacred scripture, you’ll now sense it as a waste of time – because Spirit is right there with you. Right there, without distances, rituals, or agendas.

Ultimately, Spirituality is whatever is is in alignment with your own spirit. Your own self. Not just in some moments, in some decisions, but as a constant, breath-by-breath, second-by-second way of being. In a way that it doesn’t bring you any uncertainty or doubt, it doesn’t leave you hanging, but a very pragmatic, supportive, real, and reassuring way.

In a way that you don’t really need anything from outside, yet you feel truly free to explore everything outside, and to be whatever you are.

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