What does the word ‘spirituality’ mean to you? And the word ‘faith’? In my experience, many people see spirituality in one of the following ways:
- Religious observance;
- Certain things we do like meditation, rituals, or religious holidays;
- Praying and reading a sacred text like the Bible;
- Spirituality is for some people and not for others.
But I want to suggest that spirituality is very different from this. When I speak of spirituality this is what is in my mind:
- Everyone is spiritual, whether we know it or not. And we are all pretty passionate about our spirituality, even if we don’t call it that.
- Spirituality is only partly about what we do. Religious observance and spiritual practices can be spiritual but they can just as easily get in the way of authentic spirituality.
- Rather spirituality is:
- What brings meaning, purpose, and goodness into our lives;
- What shapes our values and priorities, directs what is important to us, and guides how we live and relate to others;
- The framework which guides our ethics, politics, and morality;
- Determines what we believe are the big questions of human life and what we believe will bring about a world in which we and others can flourish.
There isn’t a human being alive who isn’t affected by these things. Not everyone is aware of seeking answers to these questions or trying to find the key to a life of meaning and goodness, but whether we’re aware of it or not, we all have this drive in us to try and attain our best life.
Seeking Our Best Life
Spirituality is not necessarily about believing in God, heaven and hell, or the Bible. It is possible to be an atheist and still be a spiritual person and feel a spiritual connection to the universe and to other people. The heart of spirituality is what we value, what we love, and how those things shape our lives—and our impact on other people’s lives.
But here’s the thing—and this is where what we call ‘spiritual practice’ comes in: Not all faith is equally good at getting us where we want to be. Some faith can be destructive and harmful. And some faith can be creative and healing.
Which means that if we really want to find our best life, we need to be intentional about it. We need to think about what gives our lives meaning, what we believe a good life is like, and what shapes our decisions and relationships. And then we need to make choices that help us find a life that is really good, meaningful, and truly alive.
This may mean adopting certain spiritual practices or it may not. That depends on who we are and how we work. But being aware of our spiritual nature will always help us to live with more awareness and consciousness of what we want and how we’re moving toward what we want.
What Do You Think?
So perhaps you can take some time now to consider:
- Do you think of yourself as a spiritual person? What does your spirituality look like?
- What brings meaning, purpose and goodness into your life? How do these things shape how you live?
- How aware are you of these drivers in your life? What would be a helpful way for you to be more intentional about working with the things that drive you?
- What would a truly flourishing, fully alive human life look like to you? And what can you do to be more conscious and intentional about making yours a life that is fully alive?
Feel free to leave your thoughts and responses in the comments below. And please share this post with anyone who could find it helpful.
From next week we’ll be talking more about these things in the EvoFaith Tribe—the online community that I facilitate. You’re welcome to join us as we journey more deeply into practising spirituality in an intentional and meaningful way. Membership is free.
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