What is the meaning of spirituality? Does it have a value? Can it be measured? What makes someone more or less spiritual? I think we too often confuse spirituality with religion and therefore, an identity of some kind. And so, for many whom take on the word “spiritual” to describe themselves may often be characterized by devoting the larger of their efforts to growing or spreading their ideas to others and believing themselves to be spiritual for doing so. But given that spirituality is a universal phenomena, it can’t be this. After all, if a Muslim believes themselves to be spiritual when practicing their faith and a Chrisitan when remaining faithful to their own, how could either of them truly claim to know what spirituality really is? If we assume, however, that both are correct then we’d have to define spirituality as a verb describing the mere pursuit of preserving or expanding your tribe, regardless of the belief system itself. But then even the growth of a company or a political party would qualify as being something engaged in a spiritual process.
There may – actually – be truth to this but i’m not interested in exploring the actions people take when spiritually driven, i’m interested in exploring spirituality itself, before it even takes on a form. So what is the damn thing if anything but?
Spirituality must be a real thing, but real perhaps only in the sense that love is real. You can’t really see it (love) yet its effect on people is undeniable. I would argue still that spirituality in and of itself does not depend on life and also not a manifestation of it. Therefore not even love is a proper analogy as love only exists because life does and life because of some expression of love.
What about an antonym to spirituality? Physicality? Well now, if that were true, we’d be making an assumption that spirituality stands in opposition to the physical which most certainly cannot be the case as then there would be no point in having any spiritual pursuits while being in our physical form. This might be why so many believe ultimate spiritual attainment comes after we die. I have no interest in understanding something that has no use for me in life, so this can clearly not be what spirituality means.
After bending my thoughts on this subject for years i’ve come to think that the true kind of spirituality that has true meaning and true value is the kind that augments and improves the condition of the individual, regardless of their race, religion, nationality, identity and does so without any monetary or material cost to themselves or to others. Therefore it is truly the only resource that exists in infinite supply and yet, ironically, the hardest to come by.
I would measure it simply like this: the less of something or someone outside of yourself you need to be content and at peace (maybe even joyful and blissful), the more spiritual you likely are. Conversely, if you find that your state of happiness and well-being only comes into play the more things you aquire, pleasures and lovers you attain, then you are likely to be less spiritual. If this is the case it would help shine a light on why a market economy and or a capitalistic society would either forgo spirituality or adopt its tenets only to the extent it is able to use them to promote a product. Marketing is often replete with ideas of joyfulness, bliss, peace and contentment, but always in association with a given product. It’s as if we all still know and rememeber spirituality exists but only to the extent it can be capitalized on which defeats the purpose and nature of spirituality and the true value it can bring to our life. It’s almost as if humanity is living in a perpetual state of cognitive dissonance where the mind is playing games on our consciousness to make us believe we are being spiritual when in reality we are not.
If this all were true, then how would we go about increasing it within us? How do we go about becoming such an individual that upon waking every morning feels the rush of bliss simply for the sake of being alive another day? How do we go about becoming such an individual that is overcome with curiosity and wonder at everything that is new or different and odd or even everyday things like the pouring of water out of a spout into a cup? How do we become someone that feels lit by life? Well that’s the eternal question isn’t it? And it’s what everyone is looking to find and what so many are trying to sell you solutions for. Your answer these days may come in the form of products, events, philosophies and religions. But the true answer is with you already and all around you, you just need to silence your mind and your appetites, so you can finally begin to see what is really there.
I struggle to find it but have experienced it briefly, so i know it’s there. It comes only when i’m able to divorce myself from myself and let go of all identity. I become no more or less meaningful than a flower and every living thing becomes like my family. It is the opposite of loneliness. It is the opposite of frustration. It is the opposite of wanting something you don’t have. It is the opposite of accumulated memory. It is the opposite of irritability, anxiety and entanglement. Spirituality is the opposite of these things and it’s completely free and has no demands on you. You can’t make something or someone spiritual, you can only aim to make yourself receptive to it. Therefore its presence can only be measured by its absence, because its the absence of spirituality that clutters our life with things and the presence of it that leads to the beauty that can’t be seen.