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Spirituality – Exploring the Meaning of Spirituality

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Spirituality – Exploring the Meaning of Spirituality

July 30, 2015

“What is spirituality?”

This is a question posed by religious leaders, scientists and secularists alike. For some, the term “spirituality” suffers from a bad image. It has negative connotations. It may also imply paranormal experiences. For others, spirituality is a synonym for faith and religion.

Many people aspire to live what we can call a spiritual life. They would never consider it so, nor express it accordingly. Yet, they’re on a spiritual journey. Their life reflects the stages of spiritual growth. Their actions express the basic nature of a popular definition of spirituality.

The issue is a complex one. Religious leaders and scientists have stepped into the debate. They’re attempting to clarify what they see as the meaning and the effect, if any. Medical professionals sit on both sides of the fence. Many, alternative and conventional, now believe some connection between being healthy and spirituality does exist. The issue, for the scientists, is why?

Defining Spirituality

How then can we define spirituality? Is it truly a religious off shoot? Does it have links with the occult? Does it even exist?

The current Dalai Lama has no difficulty defining spirituality. He writes in Ancient Wisdom, Modern World that “spirituality is concerned with those qualities of the human spirit – such as love and compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, a sense of responsibility, a sense of harmony – which brings happiness to both self and others…”

Even those of us who are not Buddhists can relate to what the Dalai Lama is saying. Generally, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, love and compassion are desirable traits. In fact, they’re sometimes downright necessary for the world to survive intact.

Prayers and/or meditation often bring us closer to understanding the values incorporated in spirituality. They can result in spiritual growth and development. Yet, at the very heart of such actions is a realization that all humans consist of more than mind and body. It’s present, whether you believe in it or not.

Whether you’re a skeptic or a believer, the question of what is spirituality is a debate that refuses to go away. In light of scientific research, the topic is increasingly becoming a popular one. This is, in part, the result of a specific perception – that connectivity between the body, the mind and the spirit exists. In fact, research indicates the impact of spiritual beliefs on the healing process.

The Importance of Spirituality

For those who understand the intricate connection between the body, the mind and the spirit, the answer to what is spirituality is important. We may continue to lead healthy and fruitful lives without spirituality. Yet, life improves when we embrace some form of it.

In fact, by including some type of everyday spirituality into our lives, we may actually increase our ability to be healthier, live longer and decrease the debilitating problems resulting from stress and depression. This should indicate that we should all adopt a spiritual growth plan and seek the answer to “what is spirituality?”

The Steps to Spiritual Growth:
Mind, Body, Soul

In a busy world, it’s easy to forget to take the necessary steps to spiritual growth. We’re all caught up in the game of life. We need to improve our chances to “make-it” in the real world. We are trying to move ahead, or treading water frantically just to stay afloat.

Sometimes, life seems too full to consider spirituality. Sure, we may go to church, mosque, or temple, but that may not be enough. We may simply be paying lip service. It may be simply a social thing.

Is this enough? Is it fulfilling to our entire being to neglect this particular aspect of our make-up? Even if we don’t believe in a supreme deity, should we ignore the mind-body-spirit connection? If we want to become complete entities, if we want to help our physical selves remain strong and healthy, the answer to this last question is “No.”

Spirituality and Physical Harmony

More and more research is indicating the link between the physical, emotional and intellectual selves to the spiritual entity. Stress disperses, or decreases, when through such things as meditation we reach within ourselves. Through meditation, people who are ill help decrease the pain and achieve a sensation many would call spiritual.

Spiritual Growth Comes from Within

It all begins by looking deep within. Only if we work from the inside out can we make changes that will last. Yet, just because the steps to spiritual growth start from within, does not mean we should avoid formulating a spiritual growth plan. By examining our lives, looking at what makes us happy, content and responsible and applying that to others in our lives, can we move forward in our spirituality growth patterns.

For a plan to be successful, you need to devote yourself to it. When it comes to the stages of spiritual growth, begin with gradual changes. Be mindful of where you tread and how hard you are walking on this earth. Be more compassionate, be more loving and, above all, be more mindful of all your actions.

Actions do speak louder than words. They speak to who we are and where we’re going. If we continue along the path of mindfulness, we’ll find we don’t have to wonder about spirituality and its existence. We will find ourselves in harmony with our own bodies and the universe.

Spiritual Growth and Development

When we take the first few steps to spiritual growth, we’re on the start of a long and fulfilling journey. It’s no longer a question of “what spirituality is, and what it means in our lives?” We’re now well on a journey of self-healing. Whether we reach our goal through meditation or prayer is, in the end, irrelevant. It’s the journey of self-discovery that matters.

Even though it seems that spirituality and mental health do not have anything in common, there is a thin line that binds the two together. Spirituality affects mental health in a positive way and creates an environment conducive for personal wellbeing.

In the modern age, spirituality is being referred to one of the forgotten dimensions of personal wellbeing and mental health care. It is most often described as a mental platform, where one can meet their true self. It is considered a sacred realm of human and self-experience.

Mental health is a state of wellbeing in which an individual is able to realize their abilities and lead a fruitful life. When mental health of an individual is affected, it can lead to instability.

Lack of mental wellbeing and health can disturb the harmonious balance in one’s life and give rise to anti-social behaviors as well as psychological disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Spirituality, on the other hand, is a way of helping one to find their meaning and purpose in life. Spirituality helps people:

  • create a sense of purpose in life
  • create a sense of connection with the inner self, other people, god, and nature
  • continue their quest for attaining wholeness
  • search for harmony in life and hope
  • create a strong sense of belief in higher being
How Spirituality Helps Improve Mental Health

Both spirituality and mental health have been the center of many debates. For ages, benefits of spirituality on physical health and wellbeing have been documented, but little is known as to how it affects mental health. There are several ways by which spirituality aids in the wellbeing of a person on a purely mental or psychological plane. People suffering from various mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and stress, benefit from spirituality in many ways. Some of the benefits are given below:

  • Spirituality helps increase self-worth and instill self confidence and self-esteem
  • It helps boost self-control
  • It aids in faster recovery from stress and other symptoms of mental ill health
  • It helps improve personal and professional relationships. It also helps improve an individual’s relationship with self.
  • It provides peace of mind by renewing hope.
There are different types of practices that people around the world follow to achieve a state of mental wellbeing. These practices help define the subtle connection existing between spirituality and mental health. These practices help people understand and embrace it so that they can achieve mental peace.

One of the most important spiritual practices that improve mental health is meditation. Meditation is a way of transforming the mind. It can help remove mental blockages and lets positive energy to flow. Meditation has several medical benefits, but more than that, it helps the mind focus on the self. Thus meditation helps a person not only follow a spiritual path, but also achieve mental peace. There are several other practices that connect spirituality and mental health and, if followed on a regular basis, can provide long-term mental peace and harmony.

The Meaning of Spirituality:

When it comes down to it, we’re the ones who define our spirituality. The answer to the question, “What is spirituality?” depends upon our approach.

If we are a Muslim, Christian, Jew or Neo-pagan, we look at spirituality in terms of our relationship with the God, Goddess or Gods. If we ignore the existence of any form of deity, spirituality may appear as the essence or feeling resulting from actions we take in our lives.
In any case, asking a spiritual healer could be helpful to understand what is more useful and fulfilling for you.
Whichever path you choose to follow, understanding our own spirituality will help ensure the healing process is complete. Mind, Body and Spirit will work together as one.



New member
Excellent compilation Sir.

Gandhiji, once said by education I mean .... the all round drawing out the best in body mind and spirit.

As love and compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, a sense of responsibility, a sense of harmony – which brings happiness to both self and others…”

....... are functions of the different faculties of the mind. If not properly developed forms as traits of one's behaviour.

For the harmonious development of all the faculties of the human mind spiritual education is required to some extent.
It is the belief of some ancient philosophers that spirit is with in mind and it sublimates the mental faculties.
Now many people have a mix up of spirit with the religious belief .

I don't want to enter into the domain of definers of "soul", which could not be understood even by good souls .
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