What does “spirituality” mean?

I heard the word “spirituality” from so many people at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in so many different contexts, I began to wonder if anybody knows what we all mean by that word. I asked random people how they understand the word.

From a Catholic: “the essence of what my life is about; an expression of my relationship with God”

From a yoga practicing Christian from Latvia: “to know who I am; to see the same in another human being”

From Science of Spirituality: “refers to the Soul and God, which is the only true and permanent part of our life in this world of mind, matter and illusion”

From Buddhist: “something beyond material”

From Sikh: “doesn’t mean anything”

From Jewish: “feeding a hunger to find out who we really are”

From United Church of Canada: “the faith resources that enable me to work for justice and transformation”

From Salvation Army: “the way I transform that Spirit into a way of living; has to be practical; impulse to move me forward”

From Christian: “exploration of our most inner being”

From Christian: “internal resonance of your relationship or experience with the divine”

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  1. #1 by Rui Umezawa on December 9th, 2009 - 1:51 pm

    I once interviewed the chaplain at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital for an article I was writing on its palliative care unit, which, in the late 1980s, was brand new.

    She told me of one patient who never spoke of religion to her, but kept going on and on about his garden. What needed watering when; what came in first in the spring, etc,

    She said she felt she was ministering to his spiritual needs simply by listening to him talk about his garden.

    That is the definition of spirituality which I have carried with me ever since.

    All the best,
    Rui

  2. #2 by Shirley on December 9th, 2009 - 3:29 pm

    Spirituality is a personal thing here’s a definition I found and like: The definition of spirituality is “that which relates to or affects the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.” Spirituality touches that part of you that is not dependant on material things or physical comforts.

  3. #3 by Sandi on December 9th, 2009 - 9:21 pm

    You are probably getting tired of seeing my comments, but I love how you pick up the essence of what really matters to people, or at least in my opinion, should matter.

  4. #4 by Ettore Grillo on January 6th, 2010 - 11:29 pm

    Spirituality means life. If God exists everything is His projection. Everything comes from Him. So I would not discriminate between material and immaterial world. Matter does not exists. The Russian writer Outspensky asserted that even the inorganic matter has psychic processes. Einstein demonstrated that at the light speed the matter changes into energy. The book I have recently written may help in this direction and I want to draw it to your attention. The title is “Travels of the mind” and it is available at http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/TravelsOfTheMind.html
    If you have any question I am most willing to discuss about this topic.
    Ettore Grillo

  5. #5 by Courtenay Rule on September 28th, 2010 - 11:06 pm

    Wow, I love all those ideas from the different people (apart from the “doesn’t mean anything”, which surprises me)! I can relate to them all. Here’s the simplest response I can think of: since God is Spirit, spirituality to me means being Godlike – seeing my and everyone’s true being as God’s likeness… with all that this entails! It’s an infinite concept, truly.

  6. #6 by dean wolfe on May 16th, 2011 - 9:45 am

    spirituality to me means mentally striving to connect to something higher than yourself and then finding a practical way of bringing it back to your current experience and sharing it in some tangible way like a song or art or a prayer to heal someone

  7. #7 by lilly on April 15th, 2013 - 10:43 am

    same i love it too! anyway i think you should make it more descriptive( be more specific)

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