Spirituality focuses on beliefs, practices and experiences that promote connection with something larger than the self. It can be a source of meaning and purpose in life, as well as a means of finding comfort during difficult times. It also encourages us to be more generous and caring of others. It can be related to religion, but it’s not limited to that — people who describe themselves as spiritual often draw from many different religious traditions and may combine elements of these into their own beliefs.
There is no one answer to the question of what spirituality is. However, some scholars have compared it to an aspect of intelligence, such as the ability to solve problems and develop relationships. Other researchers have analyzed spirituality in terms of specific behaviors, such as expressing gratitude and being more mindful or active in community service.
People who describe themselves as spiritual may engage in many different practices, but some common ones include meditation, yoga and tai chi. They often feel a deep sense of connection with other people and nature, as well as a need to explore the mystery of existence. They may be interested in learning new things about the world and themselves through studying, meditation or contemplation. Examples of spiritual practices include Buddhism (achieving enlightenment, nirvana); Jnana Yoga (achieving liberation from the ego); Vedanta (realising the true Self; dissolving the knot that limits pure Consciousness to a body-mind); and Christian Mysticism (feeling God’s love).
Whether you are rediscovering a lost spiritual path or starting on your journey for the first time, it is important to start where you are. As the ancient philosopher Lao-tzu said, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Start by exploring what brings meaning and value to your life, including your values, beliefs and practices.