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A Guide to Understanding Spirituality: The Basics


The Pew Research Center found that 27% of adults in the U.S. identify less with religion and are more spiritual.

Choosing a spiritual path can seem confusing and even frightening. Though with the right knowledge and resources, it can be an enlightening experience. Also, spirituality has many positive aspects, such as inner peace and self-esteem.

As you begin your spiritual journey, follow this guide for some basic insights.

What Is Spirituality?

Spirituality is a broad concept that can be understood in many ways. A sense of spirituality is a connection to an experience bigger than ourselves.

The divine connection touches us in different ways as part of our evolution as humans. These connections have been described by many as sacred and allow us to be alive and in touch with our true selves.

Many people build their connection to spirituality within a church or temple. Although, they can also seek spiritual connection in other ways. Some people achieve it by praying and developing a solid connection with God or a higher power. Others have found it while being alone in nature or through their favorite hobbies such as art.

To help you understand more, here's a spirituality definition from an expert. Christina Puchalski, director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health, says, "Spirituality is the search and expression of life's meaning and purpose. The connection enables them to express moments, relationships with themselves and others, and nature more deeply and meaningfully.”

Discovering yourself and your purpose is the key to practicing spirituality.

The Purpose of Spirituality

The purpose of spirituality is to connect inside of you and to become the best version of yourself. You can do this through meditation, prayer, and reflection to find your inner self and purpose.

As you grow into your best self, you will experience the benefits of spirituality. Spiritual people are generally kind, self-actualized, and connected more deeply to their loved ones.

The purpose of spirituality does not have a connection to materialism. It has nothing to do with your car, clothes, where you live, or your career.

Instead, it involves developing values, principles, and beliefs that give your life purpose. When you are grounded in your values, you can take actions and make decisions guided by them.

Why Do People Practice Spirituality?

The spiritual path is considered by many to be a great way to find solace and peace. Spirituality helps us gain a new perspective and accept our roles in life that go beyond our daily duties.

When a greater purpose drives a person, they become independent and detached from material things. Spiritual people may also use it to cope with uncertainty or change.

How to Understand Spirituality

The only way to understand spirituality is to start your journey in it. The journey of spirituality can greatly influence your life and help you see the world in a new light. You’re able to explore thought-provoking questions such as these below:

  • Is God pleased with me?
  • How can I help others?
  • How are these worldly possessions helping me?
  • Why does the universe gives money to others while others continue to suffer?
  • Why do we fear death when we do not know what happens afterlife?

Remember, your journey must be your own when starting the journey in spirituality. You must decide on your own views of God and the meaning of life. Please take note of those that came before you and consider their writings as lessons for you.

Religion vs Spirituality: What’s the Difference?

Despite being closely related to religion, spirituality is fundamentally different. It's important to understand religion as a set of organized beliefs and practices that is. In a certain community or group, related beliefs and practices are shared.

By contrast, spirituality is more personal and has to do with developing a sense of purpose and peace. A spiritual life also involves developing beliefs related to the meanings of life and connecting with others.

The following resources will help you navigate your spiritual journey if it includes a religious component:

It is possible to be spiritual and still practice a religion. However, most people drop their faith in religion and begin to develop a sense of self to connect to the divine.

What Are the Different Types of Spirituality?

There are many ways to practice spirituality. Know you don't have to practice them all simultaneously. Below are five methods to practice spirituality, and you can adapt each in your unique way.

Mystical Spirituality
In this practice, the goal is to transcend the material world and to calm the ego. Thus, personal relationships and the development of unity are at the core of the approach.

Authoritarian Spirituality
This kind of practice requires rules and definitions while exploring spirituality. Nevertheless, you can find this approach in many religious traditions.

Intellectual Spirituality
By studying historical events and theories, practitioners gain a greater understanding of spirituality. This method of studying religion and its text is known as theology.

Service Spirituality
Many religious traditions have this spiritual component. Serving others is an expression of spirituality in this kind of practice.

Social Spirituality
Around others, people can feel a spiritual feeling through this practice. Social support, family, and friends are integral to spirituality.

Learn more about each of these different types of spirituality before you begin your journey. Then, determine which methods are most effective for you and how you can combine more than one.

What Are the Health Benefits of Practicing Spirituality?

There are a variety of spiritual views, but research has shown that spirituality and doing spiritual work can benefit health.

No religious or spiritual person will be surprised by these results. Yet, it is worth discussing to show how these activities can have a positive effect.

A sense of calm and peace that comes from spirituality can contribute to people's overall well-being. In addition, many spiritual people also practice yoga, which is beneficial to physical health.

Here are some more of the benefits of spirituality:

  • Greater sense of well-being
  • Less likely to be depressed
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Ability to handle difficult times
  • Having a positive attitude

If you’re ready to start your spiritual path and need some guidance, try finding a spiritual coach or buddy. A spiritual coach’s advice can help you through your journey and answer any questions you may have.

Misconceptions of Spirituality

When people first think of spirituality, the image of Buddha comes to mind, and more misconceptions of the practice come into mind.

However, when you practice spirituality, you won't always be happy or never experience another lousy day. While you continue your spiritual journey, you will face hard times, but the practice will help you continue your life path.

Also, you can still enjoy money, and no, you do not have to become a minimalist. It’s your journey, and you choose how you are going to live life. Connecting yourself to your best version does not mean you have to get rid of the comforts of life.

Here are two more misconceptions of spirituality:

  • No, you don't have to become vegan
  • No, you do not have to practice yoga

Your journey of spirituality is your own, and you can add whatever you like into your practice. Do whatever helps you connect to your higher self or the divine and brings you inner peace.

How to Practice Spirituality

Practicing spirituality is your journey, and there are many ways to go about it. When you start your practice, life can get in the way, but there are little things you can do to keep it going. Here are some ways to incorporate spirituality into your daily life:

  • Pray to God, the divine, or higher power
  • Practice gratitude
  • Meditate
  • Journal your thoughts out
  • Spend time with family and friends
  • Maintain a healthy physical, mental, and emotional state
  • Practice mindful breathing
  • Surrender to the higher good in life

As you continue on your path, you will observe how easy it can be to include these small actions into your everyday life. However, if for some reason you must stop, don't give up, as you can always begin again when you are ready.

You're Ready to Start Your Practice of Spirituality

This guide will be a stepping stone for the person who is prepared to begin their spiritual journey. To learn more about what spirituality is, you can find resources online or in books. Also, you can read our blog to learn more about spiritual development!

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