What is spirituality?

Spirituality is how we shape our lives – a shaping that flows from our values and beliefs, from those things that matter most to us.

Spirituality is about three things:

  • desire: uncovering our deepest desire(s) and letting them shape our lives;
  • meaning: where we find and make meaning in all the awe and terror of life;
  • connection: to ourselves, to others, to the world, to the Divine.

Knowingly or unknowingly, we have desires, beliefs, and values that shape how we live and inform the choices we make. We seek and make and break connections. So, each of us has a spirituality, whatever our religious affiliations.

Here are some other attempts to speak about spirituality.

Spirituality is about relationship, but not in the first instance relationship with other people. It is relationship with the depths of existence, the source of all, the Mystery from which all things come and to which they return. All other relationships, whether with people or any other aspect of creation, are but expressions of this one, primal relationship.

Simon Small, From the Bottom of the Pond, p.9

When I use the word ‘spiritual’ … I just mean the ability to feel the grandeur, mystery and beauty of life and the universe.

William Bloom, Feeling Safe, p.64

Spirituality I take to be 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 bring happiness to both self and others.

Dalai Lama, Ancient Wisdom, Modern World, pp.22–23

Spirituality also involves:

  • attention to the present moment and place
  • how we live with desire
  • how we make good choices
  • our desire to belong to what is greater or beyond ourselves
  • how we deal with pain, suffering, loss, and death
  • the ‘little deaths’ that lead to a new experience of self and life

My spirituality is rooted in a desire for God. I seek a way of life that integrates all the richness of who I am: body, feelings, mind, soul, spirit. This involves a connection with that which is greater than I am: other people, society, the environment, the cosmos, the divine. I am still seeking!

I believe that an authentic spirituality should bring life to the individual and to all beings and it is my desire that people should find more life through their work with me. I work largely, though not exclusively, within the Christian spiritual tradition. I have a deep respect for other traditions and the wisdom they offer. I like to work with people of any faith including those who do not profess a faith.

Another take on spirituality can be found in an article by Gerald May.