What is Spirituality?
Spirituality is the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.
Why is Spirituality important?
Often we find that the more spiritual we become, the more able we find ourselves to let go of our need for pleasure from materialistic worldly possessions, and are more able to gain peace and happiness and joy from other things- like Faith in God, or the act of seeking truth, knowledge and wisdom, or love for one another, or taking part in acts of kindness, or self-sacrifice for the benefit of others, and forgiveness, gratitude, compassion etc.- things that money cannot buy. Spirituality can be an amazing journey and is usually considered to be relative. Some people are not religious but would still consider themselves to be spiritual. Other may consider themselves religious but not to be spiritual. Spirituality comes with having a connection with our souls, and the Spirit of God, and it helps us to better know ourselves, to reflect and learn on how we can always better ourselves- purify our thoughts, intentions, speech and behaviour for the benefit of others, and to attain wisdom, understanding and Light.
Some describe spirituality to be ‘following the Message’ from God that was passed down through all the prophets and messengers from God since man was created from Adam, to Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus, and Mohammed- amongst many others.
Others may or may not believe or know about the scriptures but still practice spirituality in other ways- the beauty of spirituality is that there is not only one path- but many paths to Truth.
How can Spirituality help us?
Spirituality can help to improve our spiritual well-being, help us to understand ourselves and others better, help us improve our ability to ‘Connect’ with the Creator, help us become more ‘Aware’ and ‘Mindful’ of our speech and behaviour, and enable us to constantly ‘grow’ and purify our souls in our journey to wisdom, truth and knowledge and love. When we become ‘God-Conscious’ in all that we say and do, we can use our free-will to help improve the lives of ourselves as well as our loved ones and the people around us. Often with spirituality comes a feeling of ‘positivity’ that shines on others in their presence. It enables us to spread the message of peace and love and kindness in everything we do and say and brings happiness to all around us when we find happiness within ourselves.
When we ourselves feel more spiritual, our spiritual well-being can help to improve both our mental, emotional and physical well-being too. Often those who feel more spiritual, are less likely to suffer from depression, or anxiety, or insomnia, or addiction problems. Those who believe in an afterlife, or aim to follow the message sent through God’s messengers and prophets are much less likely to act upon thoughts of self-harm or suicide, or engage in any activity which causes harm to our souls or well-being. They are more likely to engage in peace-making, and more likely to find it easier to forgive and pardon others that may have hurt them in their past, and therefore will more able to ‘let go’ of resentment and feelings of guilt and anger that hold them back from moving on with their lives. It can therefore also help indirectly from recovering from traumatic events, loss of loved ones, and they are more likely to be able to forgive themselves because they have reflected, learnt and mended their ways. When we are happier and more content within ourselves, we find that it can help with our energy levels, and physically give us more strength to deal with the daily challenges we face, so we find we function better at home, in our relationships, at work- and in everything we do. When we are happier within ourselves, we find that our sensation of chronic pain is reduced, backache, tension headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome also are likely to improve. So Spiritual well-being can be healing and type of therapy used to improve our mental and physical sense of well-being.
Spirituality can give us strength to persevere during times of hardship, and help us to be patient and empathise with others who are also facing hardship. Through Faith and Hope, those who are spiritual and feel ‘connected’ to a Higher Source tend to feel less ‘suffering’ as we learn that suffering is a state that is within ourselves and not hugely dependent on the materialistic world around us. By helping us to remain ‘positive’ during a situation which others may see as ‘negative’ we become much more likely to use our past experiences whether negative or not, in order to bring meaning and purpose to our lives by converting it into something ‘positive’ or ‘more positive.’
How can our spirituality help others?
When we become more spiritual and ‘connected’ to a source greater than ourselves, and get to know ourselves better- we are more likely to be able to gain control of our speech and actions and adapt them with our morals, in a way that helps others. When we are happier within ourselves, we are more likely to be able to love ourselves, and therefore love others. The more we love others and treat others how we ourselves would want to be treated, the more we grow spiritually, and the effect on others becomes even greater. When we feel more comfortable with ourselves we find it easier to be able to connect directly with a Higher Source, and the more mindful we become of The Higher Source in our speech and behaviour, the more likely we are to inspire others with the messages of love, peace, kindness, tolerance, respect, forgiveness, humility, gratitude, faith, hope, compassion etc- because we learn how to incorporate these attributes to our own lives. When others feel inspired by this message of humanity- they then too can benefit from spirituality on a personal level- to help with their own mental well being and physical well-being and can go on to inspire others- and what a beautiful thing this is! We become vessels of Light uniting in spirit and soul..
How can we become more Spiritual?
Becoming more spiritual is not often something that happens overnight. It can be a continuous journey with ups and downs and can feel testing at times. There is no upper limit on how spiritual one can be and many would agree that it is an infinite journey. The level of spiritual peace and happiness and contentment within ourselves is always relative, just like the amount of wisdom or knowledge that one can gain through enlightenment- the more we know, the more we realise how little we know. Through realising this itself can increase our levels of humility, which furthermore can help to increase our level of spiritual well-being.
Spirituality is a personal journey- there is no right or wrong way- as long as we use our minds and hearts and souls and are open to gaining insight- and are able to use reason to help us to find Truth- and open our eyes and our ears to wisdom and knowledge- one can use the following methods to help guide them:
An important concept to accept on our journey is that we could always be wrong- and the honest desire to seek truth is important- because this enables us to be able to criticise ourselves and more open to criticism from others. Through asking questions- we are more able to reach the right answers which satisfy our souls.
Here are some ways that we can improve our level of spirituality that many find helpful:
Truthfulness: -Seeking truth while being truthful
Humility: - Not feeling too proud to ask for help and guidance
Justice: -Treating others how we ourselves want to be treated
Love: -Acts of kindness and love. Giving of what we love of worldly possessions and beyond our needs of materialistic value- to help others who need it more than we do. Loving others as we love ourselves.
Reading: -Increasing knowledge and wisdom through reading scripture- The Torah, The Gospel, The psalms of David, The Proverbs, The Holy Quran.
Meditation -The more we reflect on our knowledge, wisdom, speech and behaviour in our day to day lives- the more likely we are able to understand ourselves and how our behaviour affects others
Prayer - Enables us to ‘speak’ to our Creator, directly- ask Him for guidance to Truth, for help in facing our challenges, for hope. We can create this opportunity to improve our gratitude for our blessings, pray for others as well as ourselves, ask for forgiveness for others as well as ourselves. An opportunity to praise and glorify Him, and seek refuge in Him from evil. It can be helpful to focus our prayer to His Attributes and call upon Him using those Names- for example addressing Him as ‘The Most Forgiving’ when asking for forgiveness, or ‘The Truth’ when seeking guidance and understanding. OR ‘The Just One’ when praying for justice. The more we remember God in prayer, and reflect on His Attributes the more we find our faith increases, and Peace enters our souls and hearts; we become God-conscious. For one to be able to connect to God directly, without intercession one must feel worthy of His presence, and believe that He is Aware of our thoughts and intentions and Sees everything we do or say. Sometimes people feel too ashamed to ask God for help and that’s why acts of kindness and love and compassion and charity may help one to be able to establish a purer connection with their Source- because it helps the soul feel more ‘worthy’ of His Presence- even though God knows that He is Present anyway. The more worthy we feel of His Presence- the more likely we are to be ‘sincere’ in our prayers and to ‘pray from our hearts’ and trust that they have been accepted. One must believe that He is Most and Oft-Forgiving and that He loves us enough to want to hear our prayers. One must surrender to His Divine Will and believe that He does not always answer our prayers how we might expect Him too- but that if we put our trust in Him while trying to lead a righteous life with an honest heart- He will guide us, help us, and forgive us if we mend our ways- One must remember that what we sometimes think is good for us is in fact bad for us and what we sometimes think is bad for us is in fact good for us. He knows Best.
Reflection -The more we are able to reflect- the more we are able to learn and grow
Mindfulness -The more mindful we are in everything we do- the more we are able to gain the spiritual benefit of ‘awareness’ and ‘understanding’ and ‘connect’ to Our Source of Life.
Creativity -Art, Music, poetry, film, -all these are paths to learning and inspiring others during our spiritual journeys
Questioning more -We cannot gain wisdom and knowledge if we do not question ourselves and others. What is the source of the information we read? If our aim is to seek Truth- we must question. The more we question- the more likely we are to reach the right answers.
Listening more -When we listen more to others, people as well as nature- we are more likely to be able to learn from their behaviour and actions and words- and when combined with reflection, mindfulness, and seeking truth- we are more likely to benefit ourselves and others too from doing this- helping us and others to become more spiritually aware.