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Sunday, February 19, 2012


Spirituality is, in a narrow sense, a concern with matters of the spirit. The spiritual, concerning as it does eternal verities regarding Man's ultimate nature, is often contrasted with the temporal or the worldly. It may include belief in supernatural powers, as in religion, but the emphasis is on personal experience. It may be an expression for life perceived as higher, more complex or more integrated with one's worldview, as contrasted with the merely sensual.

One aspect of 'Being spiritual' is goal-directed, with aims such as: simultaneously improve one's wisdom and willpower, achieve a closer connection to Deity/the universe, and remove illusions or false ideas at the sensory, feeling and thinking aspects of a person. The 'Plato's cave' analogy in book VII of The Republic is one of the most well known descriptions of the spiritual development process, and thus, an excellent aid in understanding what "spiritual development" exactly entails.

Others say that spirituality is a two-stroke process: the "upward stroke" is inner growth, changing oneself as one changes his/her relationship with God, and the "downward stroke" is manifesting improvements in the physical reality around oneself as a result of the inward change. Another connotation is that change will come onto itself with the realization that all is oneself; whereupon the divine inward manifests the diverse outward for experience and progress.

Spirituality, according to most adherants, is an essential part of an individual's holistic health and well-being.
Due to its broad scope and personal nature, however, spirituality can perhaps be better understood by highlighting key concepts that arise when people are asked to describe what spirituality means to them. Research by Martsolf and Mickley (1998) highlighted the following areas as worthy of consideration:
  • Meaning – significance of life; making sense of situations; deriving purpose.
  • Values – beliefs, standards and ethics that are cherished.
  • Transcendence – experience, awareness, and appreciation of a "transcendent dimension" to life beyond self.
  • Connecting – increased awareness of a connection with self, others, God/Spirit/Divine, and nature.
  • Becoming – an unfolding of life that demands reflection and experience; includes a sense of who one is and how one knows.

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