General Question

bigbanana's avatar

What is your concept of spirituality?

Asked by bigbanana (494points) February 24th, 2009

I am more curious about the non religious how you walk in the world, purpose, meaning of life.. you know the big stuff.

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21 Answers

adreamofautumn's avatar

For me Spirituality is largely related to that sense of knowing…knowing that everything is going to be okay in the long, will work out in the end, to quite one of my favorite poems of all time “the universe is unfolding as it should”.

Ashpea9288's avatar

@adreamofautumn I repeat that line to myself about 50 times a day, although I add the “no doubt” at the beginning to it. It really helps me remember that there are some things I can’t change, and that someday I will understand why those specific things are happening the way they are.
Also, the line “remember what peace there may be in silence” helps me…sometimes I have trouble with that, haha. I think the Desiderata fits exactly with what my spiritual beliefs are: be at peace with yourself and God, “whatever you conceive him to be,” and trust that everything is happening for a reason.

adreamofautumn's avatar

@Ashpea9288 yah I am pretty sure I could claim Desiderata as my “holy text” I care more what that poem says than most any “holy book” around.

Ashpea9288's avatar

Same here! I’ve definitely found it to be much more true than any other religious text :P

fireside's avatar

Desiderata is a great poem!

For me, I think I’ve reached a point where I can no longer separate spirituality from religion.

bodyhead's avatar

For me, I have reached a point where I can no longer separate spirituality from religion or magic. I don’t believe in any of it. The soul doesn’t exist and when people feel things ‘in their soul’, it’s really just a chemical reaction in your brain.

I believe in science and I belive that humans have to cooperate to survive. I’m nice to other people because it’s a positive thing to do and not because God is looking over my shoulder ready to fling me into hell.

I pretty much do what I want as long as no harm (emotional or physical) comes to others. I tell the truth because it’s easier to remember then a web of lies.

I’m non-religious and a non-believer but I’m willing to bet that if you put me up against any average churchgoer, I will stop to help you more often. Helping feels good.

Noon's avatar

I have to agree with the two posts above mine (that means I’m actually agreeing with you @fireside)

Spirituality, is a nice new PC term for religion/magic/faith/ferries. It is a simple placeholder for what ever you believe in that can not be supported by empirical evidence.

Also it is used by the “progressive-affluent-former-hippy-peoples” as a way to break away from what ever religion they grew up with, and exoticise an asian or native american or pagan belief system that they now subscribe to.

wundayatta's avatar

Feeling the connection between all people and all things, and understanding that our actions don’t just affect us, and don’t just affect the people around us, but have consequences far away in both space and in time. If you think about the effects of your actions over time and for people in the whole world, I think you will make better decisions; spiritual decisions.

Just one example. A decision to ride a bike instead of driving a car is a decision made with spirituality. You recognize that consuming petroleum products might lead to a world we wish our grandchildren didn’t have to live in. You are thinking of people all around the world (those living on islands that will be inundated if the sea level rises a foot or so), and in time (grandchildren, etc).

Spirituality is that kind of magic state where you can actually feel all the connections, and all the possible ramifications of actions, and you feel love for everything, and are able to live a better life because of it.

adreamofautumn's avatar

@Noon I think you could be correct, but I also think that “spirituality” and “religion” are very different. I think spirituality is about what you feel/believe on your own. It doesn’t have to have a religious basis at all. I think religion is all about doctrine and indoctrination.

arnbev959's avatar

I generally avoid the term “spiritual” when describing things that I do, because of all the religious connotations it carries, but my concept of spirituality would be introspection. Just thinking about myself, my life, my mortality, the big questions. That’s spirituality.

fireside's avatar

@adreamofautumn – as a Baha’i, i recognize all religions as laying out guidelines for spiritual heath. Which is why I spent 15 years exploring spirituality after shunning religion, only to find that once i figured out what spirituality was, then religion made sense. well, most parts of religion made sense

Otherwise, I cannot deny my belief in the soul and the spirit and God.

bodyhead's avatar

This reminds me of this comic (whe’s name elludes me) who just moved to the west coast and all the girls are all like, “I’m not religious but I’m spiritual,” and so he says, “I’m not honest, but you are interesting.”

elenamillaa's avatar

My personal concept of spirituality is just having a sense of perpetual happiness that can’t be shattered. It is knowing that everything happens for a reason and all will be resolved in the long run. Being spiritual is knowing that you are imperfect, different, sinful, and full of crap, and yet moving on anyhow and making the best of what you’re given. It is knowing that kindness, happiness, compassion, generosity, and wisdom are more important than materialism. And above all, spirituality is just being aware that we are really only very small in the grand scheme of things and live to serve others, and that one day, we will go to a better place, name it what you will.

nebule's avatar

it’s the connection you have with your higher power and not associated with organised religion

essieness's avatar

For me, my spirituality is reflected in my compassion, morals, and good deeds.

Vinifera7's avatar

That’s actually called “optimism”.
That’s actually called “empathy”.
Again, it’s called “optimism”.

There’s no reason to use a different word for words that already have commonly understood meaning. It indicates that you have a special reverence for the word “spirituality” when you use it as a placeholder for labels that already exist.

It’s like saying “god is everything” or “god is nature” or “god is love”. There’s no reason to apply a different label to something that is already understood by everyone.

wundayatta's avatar

@Vinifera7: I think you are way over-the-top on the the meaning of empathy. Empathy is about people or animals you know. It’s not about the entire environment, or the entire population of the earth. In fact, Wikipedia suggests it is only about other people:

Empathy is the capacity to share and understand another’s emotion and feelings. It is often characterized as the ability to “put oneself into another’s shoes”, or in some way experience what the other person is feeling. Empathy does not necessarily imply compassion, sympathy or empathic concern because this capacity can be present in context of compassionate or cruel behavior.

Other definitions suggest that it is more than other people, but when it is, it is about projecting emotions on an object, not feeling connected with it, and not grasping it’s place in the grand scheme of the world.

Empathy is not a “connection,” or if it is, it’s about only one attribute of connection. Empathy is imagining you are feeling what someone (or, occasionally, an animal) is feeling. I’m sorry, but you totally missed the boat on this one. Maybe you were just skimming the thread.

Vinifera7's avatar

Hmm.. maybe I did miss the boat. But I can’t really understand what you are talking about. I can understand having an appreciation and reverence for nature, but I’m not really sure what you mean by connectedness unless you are talking about other people.

laureth's avatar

We’re connected to nature every time we eat food, or drink water, or take shelter from a tornado, or garden, or watch a squirrel at the bird feeder, etc. etc. – at least imho. People don’t exist in a vacuum, just a highly domesticated state. I find that this domesticated state can fall away rapidly under the right circumstances.

wundayatta's avatar

@Vinifera7: Hmmmm. I don’t know if I’ve ever been in this position before. See, how do you explain something that really doesn’t make sense until you experience it? I’ll try, but it won’t do it justice.

Intellectually, you know what Laureth just wrote, right? Every action we take affects not just other people, but animals and insects, and the earth, etc, etc. Each action has many unforeseen consequences. You can prove this mathematically or through physics. Whatever.

Well, as I think I said above, I believe that there is a part of our mind that is thinking along, but it doesn’t have language. So it’s got a problem in communicating to the part of us that does have language. I believe it is this non-linguistic mind that has all our sudden bursts of inspiration, or moments of genius. It often communicates at night, or while we are doing something else. It’s like when you get the answer to a problem you have been struggling with, and you give up, and go run or eat lunch or something, and when you come back to work, the answer is there, like magic.

Well, I think this part of our mind has a better grip on how things fit together, not just problems you are working on, but to all things. Every action has consequences that ripple out. That non-linguistic mind has an easier time projecting and understanding those consequences that the talkative mind.

Thus, in order to pay attention to the non-linguistic mind, you have to find a way to still your talking mind. Some people use meditations of various sorts to do this. Some people find it happens suddenly, for no reason at all. I use music and dance meditations. We have a process to get out of our minds and “into our bodies.” We tend to associate our body understanding with the non-linguistic part of our minds.

When this happens, you don’t just intellectually understand your connection to all things. You feel it. You are it. You understand your place in it, and you feel your relationship to all the other people in the room, and if you are dancing, it turns the dance into something that looks like it is choreographed, but never could have been choreographed. With music, it turns individual musicians in the band into one being. We call it something like “we all are reading off the same page.” Except there is no page.

Now some people call these kinds of feelings mysticism or inspiration from a deity, as far as I can tell. I call them being in the non-linguistic part of the mind.

It is easier with other people, because they are most like you, but it is also possible with the environment, or animals, or plants, or even, as I did once, the stars in the sky. Actually, that first mystical event of my life (it happened with I was maybe 18), gave me that first insight—something of the “we are all the same” nature. Or, we are all connected.

Anyway, that’s the best I can do now. I don’t know if it makes sense. All I know is how it feels to me, and what I’ve read about the brain. Most of the non-linguistic mind stuff is theoretical—my theory. Maybe in a decade, neuro-scientists will find something similar, or I might be proven totally wrong. So take it with a grain of salt. It’s just theory.

fundevogel's avatar

I don’t like to call myself spiritual. I don’t believe in any gods, spirits or the supernatural. I don’t see any evidence of an intrinsic purpose or justice to life. Ultimately though my failure to see any supernatural purpose or plan does not make life meaningless. On the contrary, it makes things more complex. With a deity, his will simply is. Good and evil are defined by his will and can not be challenged.

Without a divine creator no answers are free. You have to figure things out for yourself as best you can. This is where I am so far.

There is no innate purpose to life. We each define our life’s purpose which is not necessarily the same from person to person. Our life’s purpose will very likely change some over the course of our lives.

My life, as far as I can tell, starts with my birth and ends with my death. It is finite and the most precious thing I have. As such I must live in the most fulfilling healthy way possible and respect others whose lives are just as finite and precious as mine.

I am inseparable from my body and it is me. In taking care of it I contribute to my general well being and self respect.

As an animal I am biologically driven to certain behaviors and interactions, this is part of who I am and while they may not always be appropriate they are natural, not evil.

I am a member of a society. It is my role to function within that society, but not my role to be dominated by it. Societies are designed to promote the wellness of its members through group living. If my society fails me or others I will not tolerate its shortcomings.

The world is a complicated place, in order to live the most full and rewarding life I should try to learn as much about this world as I can.

I am personally and solely responsible for myself and my actions so they should the best I can do.

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