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wundayatta's avatar

How does spirituality relate to daily life?

Asked by wundayatta (58625points) May 22nd, 2012

First of all, “spirituality” is a word that probably means different things to different people. So the first thing I’d like to know is what the word means to you, and I think that is best expressed by describing how you experience spirituality. Could you describe an experience you’ve had that you would label as “spiritual.”

The second thing I want to know is whether spiritual experience affects your behavior in some way? If it does, how does it affect your behavior? Are there decisions you have made, or actions you have taken that you attribute to the influence of spirituality? If so, what are they? How did your spiritual experience change your behavior?

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21 Answers

Charles's avatar

what the word means to you

Some sort of imaginary thing in someone’s head

Doesn’t affect me at all except for the humor and entertainment I get listening to people who think spirits exist.

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t think or believe in any spiritual stuff, but I have feelings of awe and wonder; these help keep life in perspective: not taking anything too seriously, having fun, reducing stress, embracings feelings of love and happiness etc.

Facade's avatar

In my opinion, spirituality should be daily life. People are so disconnected, and it shows…

The second thing I want to know is whether spiritual experience affects your behavior in some way? How does it affect your behavior?
Absolutely. It’s about growth, and if your behavior doesn’t change, you’re not growing. It’s hard to put into words exactly how it affects my behavior, but it definitely makes me who I am as a person.
Are there decisions you have made, or actions you have taken that you attribute to the influence of spirituality? I consult God on a daily basis, so yes definitely. My spirituality has influenced my decisions and actions in both small and large ways.

GQ @wundayatta

Coloma's avatar

I have “spiritual” experiences every day. Turning off the mind chatter and feeling, on a deep intrinsic level the interconnectedness of everything. Shut the mind up and all that’s left is awareness basking in awareness.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
wundayatta's avatar

@Charles It sounds like you are mystified by the word. Or don’t trust it. Like it could lead people to do very horrific things. Do you have any theories on why that is?

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Trillian's avatar

“Secular spirituality emphasizes humanistic ideas on qualities such as love, compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, responsibility, harmony, and a concern for others[8]:22, aspects of life and human experience which go beyond a purely materialist view of the world, without necessarily accepting belief in a supernatural reality or divine being. Spiritual practices such as mindfulness and meditation can be experienced as beneficial or even necessary for human fulfillment without any supernatural interpretation or explanation. Spirituality in this context may be a matter of nurturing thoughts, emotions, words and actions that are in harmony with a belief that everything in the universe is mutually dependent; this stance has much in common with some versions of Buddhist spirituality.”
What would be a word defining people who aren’t happy just living their own lives as they see fit but feel some need to continually demean, trivialize, deliberately mis-interpret,criticize, diminish, generalize and dismiss the beliefs of others?


Trillian's avatar

never mind.

ucme's avatar

I’m not in the least bit spiritual, but once in a while, normally when i’m drifting off to sleep, this thought hits me. What is it I hear you cry? Well if you’ll shut up & let me finish i’ll tell you.
Out of nowhere, I think about what happens when i’m dead, complete nothingness in terms of conscious being, forever, that’s some pretty freaky arsed stuff right there.
Never lasts long though, but it surfaces from time to time.

Paradox25's avatar

I consider myself spiritual, but not religious. I also really do believe that we all have a spirit. My views are likened to that of Silver Birch, a well known spiritual figure who allegedly communicated with a medium over a period of years. According to SB, spirituality is simply all about being kind, compassionate and in service to others. Spirituality has nothing to do with going to church, singing hymns, repetitive prayers, faith in a god/savior and religious customs. There are many nontheists whom are much more spiritual than many religious folks in my opinion.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I agree that the word literally can mean anything and as such I don’t utilize it to describe anything I’m experiencing. I think life is kind of amazing and I feel sort of plugged into the universe and some of its forces, let’s say, but that’s not me being spiritual, that’s me being me. In my daily life, I can see how it’s important to question both science and religion, how it’s important to let people have beliefs but not have those beliefs influence my own convictions. I don’t see people’s spirituality as beyond reproach like many do, it’s not a ‘special topic.’

Charles's avatar

what happens when i’m dead, complete nothingness in terms of conscious being, forever, that’s some pretty freaky arsed stuff right there.

Here’s another way of looking at it. If life itself is a complex system of biochemical processes, then your kids are a continuation of those biochemical processes.

Charles's avatar

According to SB, spirituality is simply all about being kind, compassionate and in service to others.

I think the original poster meant something completely different. We’re not talking “team spirit” or SB’s “goodness” definition here.

wundayatta's avatar

No, I meant for people to talk about their understanding of the term and how it fits in their lives. If it means team spirit to someone, than so be it. If it means SB, then so be it. I just want to know how people see it. I don’t have some notion that spirituality is this or that. I know what it is for me, but I am interested in finding out what it is for others.

flutherother's avatar

Everything that exists has two natures, a physical nature and a spiritual nature. We can play about with the material side of things but the spiritual essence we cannot touch but can only wonder at. With me these two natures are so closely intertwined as to be almost indistinguishable and so I have a tendency to leave things alone and let them follow their own natural course.

serenade's avatar

My opinion/perspective is similar to @Coloma & @Simone_De_Beauvoir—mostly that spirituality is “simply” the experience of creation with the awareness of one’s connection to it as opposed to experiencing creation(s) as something separate. It’s also awareness of one’s capacity as both observer and creator. Put another way, it’s awareness that we are “creation’s way of experiencing itself.” Awareness that our multiplicity allows for the manifestation of and experience of the breadth of creation.

I believe we can access this spirituality through trance states be they major or minor. Common trance states might be daydreaming, or the state between wakefulness & sleep, or the drifting that happens when one is driving. More deliberately it might be through drums, chanting, etc.

I think it’s a simple process that is intrinsic in our nature, but that we have a “tradition” of sorts of selling/trading/giving this awareness over to institutional religion. In return, we are made to pay for our spirituality, and the version we receive is hobbled at best, which is why spirituality can mean anything and why people become so disaffected so as to turn away from it altogether. It’s a con. It’s monsters under the bed, and we give up our inherent conduit to “spiritualness” in exchange for protection. That, or we abandon it altogether.

For better or worse, I believe this traded/abandoned spiritualness mostly gets split and used to appease people’s need to feel hopeful, salved, and able to cope, while a portion of it (a derivative perhaps) is used to mask and perpetuate evil.

So my personal response is an attempt to reclaim spiritualness as an intrinsic capacity that is simple to access and capable of creating/manifesting whatever I can imagine (perhaps limited by the influence of mass(ed) spiritualness). I’ve been experimenting of late with inducing my body towards healing in this manner. If anything, the practice has induced a fair degree of peacefulness in my psyche.

So perhaps that’s a clumsy description and open to contradiction. I’m not very well inclined to explain it further. I’d rather just pursue it as I understand it and see what happens.

Coloma's avatar

@serenade Well said, yes, without getting too non-dual here, it can be said that all life forms are the creative force ” God” if that’s what your comfortable calling it, expereincing itself in the multiplicity of life.

I like the saying that we don’t have a life, we are life, no separation. It is the mind that segregates all life forms into an hierarchical order that really does not exist.
The human ego doesn’t like the idea that they really aren’t any more or less “special” than a Sea Turtle or an Oak tree. lol

rooeytoo's avatar

I didn’t read the other answers because I wanted to find my own words, I will read after. For me it means than I acknowledge that humans are not the highest order, there is something higher, I am not sure what it is but I have that much faith. I choose not to believe that my ancestors were apes and that my generosity or laughter or love or tears are simply electrical impulses generated in my evolved brain. Instead I believe there is a spirit in me. This imbues me with a responsibility towards all other creatures, to be helpful when I can, well the easiest way to put it is to be the person my dog thinks I am. I believe in reward and punishment, if there were none, I am not sure if I would even come close to my dog’s expectations.

Earthgirl's avatar

I was surprised to find that I really had to think about this question in order to define what spirituality means to me.

I thought about how so many people say that spirituality is a sense of connectedness to all living things, to nature if you will…I asked myself if that is how I really experience what I think of as spirituality. I think yes, spirituality involves connectedness. Intellectually I believe that. Yet, that isn’t really how I experience it, to be honest.

Somewhat ironically I decided that I experience my sense of spirituality, for the most part anyways, when I am observing and not interacting with people. It is then that I can feel a deeper appreciation of the grand parade of life. I do sometimes think of myself as that proverbial tiny grain of sand on the beach in the unfathomable universe of life (including ETPro‘s slime molds, lol.) and inert matter…there’s so little we can know of it…’s just out there, it exists and here we are in it.

Maybe I’m not that developed spiritually because this feeling of being a small part of a larger whole does nothing for me. At least not when I think of it in such abstract terms. Yet when I sit by the ocean, preferably alone, and watch the waves wash up against the rocks, I do have a feeling of peace. Maybe there is peace in accepting that I am just a small being, humbly struggling my way through life, and that is enough…I love being an observer….our culture lauds the achievers and the heroes. Of course we need those people, actually we need more of them. But I don’t think I am cut from that cloth. In my so called spiritual moments I tell myself that this is not good or bad, it simply is. Like Popeye, I yam what I am! Or like Yahweh, I am who am. You see that is my sort of spiritual underpinnings, asking myself what it means to be human. Continually asking and not accepting easy answers. Knowing that it is important to simply ask the question, to ponder and to enjoy a sense of wonder.

I do believe we are descended from the apes, yet the amazing thing is, I believe, that we are more than animals and the thing that separates us from the animals is our spirituality. We are war-mongering, bloodthirsty, greedy animals with moments of redeeming grace. I think striving toward having more of those moments of grace is what makes us special. Recognizing that who we are and what we become and that how we live our lives defines us, that it matters, if only to us, it matters. In quiet moments or in searing insights or in gentle introspection we discover our spiritual nature. It’s hard to put a finger on what exactly that is for me. This is the best that I can do. GQ wundayatta :)

In part 2 I will try to answer how this influences my behavior. I am tired now, pheww!!!

cookieman's avatar

I have definitely experienced what might be described as “spiritual moments”. Listening to music, being out in a windstorm, staring at the sky, watching my daughter sleep — these and many others have induced “spiritual feelings” in me. A feeling of connectedness to a greater universe, a glimpse at something so beautiful it’s difficult to describe, a sense of something I can’t possibly fully understand.

Are these things actually “spiritual” or connected to some otherworldly spirit (god?)? Probably not. Instead, I suspect they are simply examples of times my intelligence and my senses and my experience can not fully understand what is before me. It is, in that moment, both wonderful and overwhelming. And, while I’m sure there’s some logical and scientific explanation for all of of it, in that moment… I don’t care – because sometimes it’s nice to just believe in something, if only for a moment.

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