The True Meaning Of Spirituality And Its Importance In Life
The True Meaning Of Spirituality And Its Importance In Life
Being a spiritual person. It means you choose your own beliefs.

What is the meanguring of spirituality in 2019? And what is the importance of spirituality in life?

The answer to that question may surprise you.

The true meaning of spirituality is not what most people think. In fact, it is the opposite of what a lot of people think.

And it’s important that you know the true meaning of spirituality, because science has proven that spirituality is important in your life.

If you’re unhappy or unhealthy, spirituality can help. But the masses still turn their noses up to spirituality, partly because they confuse it for religion, and partly because there have been some spiritual cults, although this are a rarety and is often open to debate [for an example, read my article on Maum Meditation]. 

Let’s change that.

The proper meaning of spirituality (VS religion)

Let’s set this down in writing right now: spirituality is not religion. It is not even necessarily related to religion. Those two things are simply not the same. If we look at spirituality VS religion we can see that there are huge differences.  .

You cannot look at the importance of spirituality in life in the same way that you look at religion. Although there are some similarities, and the two share some practices.

Religion means sticking to a fixed view of the world, of life, of creation; a view that’s given to you (usually) from a book.

Religion is an unyielding belief that what an authority says about life and morality is the be all and end all.

And while there might be spiritual self help gurus and books, no spiritualist can tell another spiritualist what to belief. Spiritualists have the freedom of choice.

So when it comes to spirituality VS religion, the former is about freedom where the latter is about submitting to a prescribed set of beliefs.

Spirituality means different things to different people. And indeed, there are lots of ways to be a spiritual person.

The true meaning of spirituality is: Having a perspective on life, creation, and existence, a perspective that involves concepts of morality. And, importantly, it is your belief.

Millions of people have their own spiritual beliefs that they created, that they live by, and that are entirely about themselves as an individual.

So, again to consider spirituality VS religions. The former is your beliefs that you chose. Religion is the beliefs that were given to you by an authority.

It is very easy to confuse the two.

Spirituality and religion are so closely related. A lot of people confuse the two, because they both cover similar grounds. Both involve creationism, morality, concepts of good and evil, and a code of conduct to live by. 

It’s not about God

Some spiritualists may believe that god (or a god) created the world.

“Ah ha, so you are religious then,” people say.

Not really.

Just because you believe that a god created the world doesn’t mean it’s the god of the bible or one of the Hindu gods.

A spiritualist might believe the creator is a god only they themselves know. Or they might believe the world was created by a four-headed monkey.

Spiritualists are free to believe anything they want, because spirituality is subjective and individual.

That goes for morals too.

Morals

One of the main reasons for the importance of spirituality in life is this: Morality.

Many spiritualities focus on the either of good karma and bad karma, the idea that good deeds are rewarded and bad deeds punished.

I’m a deeply spiritual person myself, and my spirituality heavily influences my concept of morality.

Most spiritual people are deeply moral, which is one reason why they do so much to try and stop evil in the world.

A key part of most spiritual people’s lives, for instance, is being one with the universe.

I genuinely go out of my way to be kind to everyone I meet.

Compassion is vital for me too [Read: importance of compassion].

If I find someone unhappy I will do anything in my power to make them smile.

Now you might say “Buddhists say the same thing”. And true enough one of the most important Buddhist beliefs is being kind to others.

But just because my spirituality happens to touch on some concepts of Buddhism does not mean I’m a Buddhist. It just means that Buddhism and I share a few things in common.

We live in a day and age where we’re made to believe in an all-or-nothing attitude. Either you’re religion A or religions B. That’s bullshit.

Spiritualists are free to adopt different parts of different religions while not following that religions as the be-all-end-all.

 

Unlike religion, spirituality is about choice

True spirituality is ultimately about being true to yourself. This is why many spiritual people are also free spirited . It’s about finding a system that works for you. That system might involve some aspects that come from different religions.   But there is still personal choice involved.

If you’re religious you’re told to believe all of that religion.

Christians have to believe in the whole bible.

But a spiritualist?

A spiritualist can pick up the bible and say “Ah ha, this commandment about not stealing. I can agree with that.” But it doesn’t mean they have to follow the whole bible.

The best example of this is yoga. Yoga is historically religious (it stems from Hinduism). But obviouly you do not need to be religious to do yoga.

One of the best things about being a spiritualist is that you can take parts of different religions and apply them to your own system.

Spiritualism is about freedom of belief.

Spiritual people can pick and choose parts of religions and integrate them into their own system.

Personally, I appreciate a lot of Eastern philosophy.

Taoist beliefs and practices, for instance, promote harmony between mind and body.

Lao Tzu said that a healthy mind creates a healthy body.

That’s true, and I personally believe in that, so I follow some of the Taoist practices for harmonising mind and body.

I also practice some Buddhist meditation techniques. And there are some Hindu mantras that I use. Oh, and then yoga, I love yoga.

Those are all religions. But as a spiritual person I’m free to pick and choose parts of those religions to use for my own belief system.

That’s the beauty of it: You can take the beliefs that you, as an individual, truly believe in, and combine them to form your own belief system.

What Spirituality Means To You Can Be Different To What It Means To Me

When you put all this together you realise that the true meaning of spirituality is “freedom for individual beliefs”.

And that is what TheDailyMeditation.com is all about.

On this site you’ll find Hindu mantras, Buddhist mudras, Taoist practices, modern science, and some articles which are simply things that I personally believe in.

It’s a spiritual approach to belief.

That’s why I believe TheDailyMeditation.com is such a great resource for spiritualists, because it says: Here are some amazing beliefs and practices, but hey, you pick what works for you because you should be free to create your own spiritual system for your own life.

That’s what TheDailyMeditation.com is all about. And that, in a nutshell, is the true meaning of spirituality.

EDITOR: I’ve added the following from  previous blogpost that was written by MJ. 

 Why Too Many People Hate Spiritualists

A lot of people do not understand the importance of spirituality in life. In fact, some even hate spiritual people.

If you follow some of the best spiritual blogs, you will notice they have a lot of followers. So clearly lots of people like spirituality. But lots of people hate it too. And one of the main reasons is because they misunderstand the true meaning of spirituality.

Nowadays, people roll their eyes at the term “soul mates” and aren’t even aware that the term “twin flames” exists.

Nowadays, the mass public isn’t into a lot of spirituality, mainly because it is considered fanciful, a romantic notion pleasant to consider but hardly to be taken seriously.

A stereotype has been created that anyone who is into spirituality, or just believes in anything that is somewhat connected to anything spiritual is just “insane”, “crazy” etc.

Well, let’s put this ignorance to rest.

You mustn’t let small talk get to your head and change the way you think. You mustn’t let the uninformed interfere with your spiritual path.

I have asked myself a lot about how people only base their opinions on “something they read” or “something they heard”. Do you really want to let the media and the status quo get to your head and change the way you process your opinions or the way you look at the truth?

Next time someone decries your beliefs and turns their nose up at your spiritual side, challenge them, question what they’re saying to you. Because maybe, just maybe, your beliefs are right.

It makes me really angry that people just accept any stereotype that crosses their path, in every aspect of life. While this happens in almost every situation, I want to say something about how stereotypes affect the growth of spirituality among people worldwide.

It’s All About Energy

Anything non-physical, non-material, affecting our emotions and intuition, triggering various energies within our body, and connected to the unconscious part of our mind is called spiritual. Spirituality is often associated with meditation, as it triggers intense “spiritual awakenings” and helps with “connecting to one’s intuition”.

But, whenever I mention spirituality” in front of the average person, I always get a reaction about religion, because their definition of spirituality is misinformed.

It is true that spirituality and religious beliefs do have things in common, but they are far away from meaning the same thing. When we look at spirituality VS religion, there are huge differences.

Often, the reason people link spirituality to religion is because spirituality and science are two opposite terms, which have no common grounds.

Historically people consider religion to be opposite of science (and many great debates and even battles have been thought over this divide). And by extension, spirituality takes the side of religion, because the mass populace considers spirituality to be unscientific.

READ: Spiritual protection technique to remove negative energy

The relationship between spirituality and science

A lof people disregard the importance of spirituality in life because they believe it has no scientific backing. This, however, could not be further from the truth.

Fascinating fact. A lot of athetists and agnostics are getting into spiritual techniques like meditation.

That’s because spirituality and science are more closely related than people realise.

Many people do not realize that the energies that a person’s spirit create or trigger have a much stronger bond with science than with religion.

Those energies can be calculated and very much scientifically proven, which means that spirituality is much closer to science than many people realise.

And that’s just one more reason why the mass populace’s definition of spirituality is so erroneous, because in many ways spirituality is closer to science than to religion.

We must accept that spirituality will be a part of our lives till the day we die.

It will be always a part of our health and conscious and unconscious mind, affecting our perspective of the world. Keeping ourselves spiritually healthy is the best thing we can do to maintain a perfect perspective of the world around us. And that is why we must ensure that the mass public understands and appreciates the true definition of spirituality, because too much is lost in ignorance.

Once the mass public understands the true definition of spirituality, hopefully we can enjoy a happier and healthier time when people embrace spirituality rather than decrying it.

The Importance Of Spiritulity In Life [Benefits]

New insights reveal that there is a staggering importance of spirituality in our lives.

There are incredible benefits of spirituality for those who maintain a spiritual practice and a spiritual mindset.

As spiritual people we are happier. We are healthier. We have better perspectives. We are more enlightened. And we are likely to live longer.

But it goes further than that. It’s been shown that there are even benefits of spirituality for serious issues like fighting diseases and overcoming depression. From neuroscience to positive psychology, scientists have proven time and again that  there is real importance of spirituality in life.

This is partly because spiritual practices have their own individual benefits.

For instance,

  • There are more than 100 benefits of meditation
  • There are massive benefits of yoga practice
  • There are big health benefits of Daoist exercises like Tai Chi and QiGong.

But it goes even further than this.

One reason for the importance of spirituality is this: There are massive health benefits of being spiritual

Science has proven that there are many reasons why spirituality is important in life. The majority of the benefits of spirituality are to do with health and happiness.

And some of them are truly mind-blowing.

1. Spirituality is so important because it stops stress and depression

Spiritual people know how to stay positive in negative times.

And that’s huge because negative life experiences can have a massive impact on our health.

One huge benefit of spirituality is that it helps us maintain mental strength when facing hard times, like doing exams, facing grief from the death of a loved one, or handling setbacks in a career.

When we go through rough patches in our lives, spirituality can help us to see the bigger picture. Because of this, spiritual people are less likely to dwell on the bad, because they are able to see the bad as part of the bigger picture of life.

Scientific studies back this up:

  • The National Institute of Health conducted a study that revealed the importance of spirituality in schools. They showed that Canadian college students who were connected to their campus ministries suffered less stress during hard times. [1]
  • In 2002 researchers studied 147 independent investigations covering 98,000 people. They found that, on average, the more religious a person is the less depression and stress they suffer.
  • In 2008 researchers studied 115 articles and found that 92% of the articles linked religiousness to improved mental health.
  • In 2012, the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that religiousness reduces the chance of depression. Catholics and Protestants had a 76% lower chance of suffering major depression.

2. There are massive health benefits of spirituality

Research by Harold G Koenig [3] shows that there are serious health benefits of spirituality.

This is largely due to the fact that spiritual people are more likely to pursue positive, healthy lifestyles.

Many religions and spiritualities include advanced health systems. For instance, there are meditations in buddhism, and exercises in Taoism that are designed to cultivate chi. These philosophies and exercises help spiritual people to achieve and to maintain health, and because these health practices are integral to the lifestyle, people are more likely to stick to them.

Many spiritualities are also vocally opposed to narcotics and to meat consumption.

These changes in lifestyle, over many years, lead to longer, healthier lives.

3. Reduces fear of death:

One of the most common fears is the fear of dying.

It’s easy to see how non-spiritualists view death so bleakly, seeing it as the absolute end.

Spiritualists, however, tend to believe that death is not the end, but a new beginning. This greatly eases the psychological burden of the idea of dying.

A more positive outlook on death helps us face illness and health complications more rationally. Bereavement is also more tolerable as spiritualists tend to believe the one they have lost has ascended to a better place.

Plus, scientific research has shown that religious funeral rituals help people to handle grief and to stay strong after the death of a loved one.

4. Meaning and purpose:

Spirituality gives you meaning and purpose, which in turn leads to more complete, fuller lives.

When we see that our life is intrinsically connected to a higher power we value our lives more and are more likely to act in positive ways, contributing to society and in particular to the spiritual or religious communities or which we are part.

Waking up everyday with a sense of purpose immediately promotes positive living. We wake up early, eager to work towards our goals. We look after ourselves because we value our lives more highly. We are more active, working towards our purpose.

5. Spirituality helps us see the beauty in life:

 Appreciation of beauty is one of the twenty four character strengths of positive psychology (and so is spirituality) [4].

Scientific research has proven that people who appreciate beauty are more likely to be happy and healthy. This includes physical beauty but also the beauty of the world, of nature, of the elements… the more we appreciate beauty, the happier and healthier we are likely to be.

Therefore, another benefit of spirituality is that it makes us happier because it makes us more appreciate.

Spirituality helps us to see beauty in life. A spiritualist is able to see the divine in everyday occurrences. Where something as simple sunlight may be nothing more than light to a non-believer, to a spiritual or religious person that same sunlight is a connection to the divine, it means more to the spiritualist than to the non-spiritualist.

6. Spirituality is important because it helps us to forgive:

One of the reasons why spirituality is important in life is because it heps us to forgive.

Forgiveness:

  • Increases lifespan
  • Reduces anger
  • Helps health across the board
  • Improves immune system functioning
  • Reduces stress
  • Strengthens relationships
  • Promotes happiness

Most spiritualities include lessons designed to help us to forgive.

In Buddhism there are specific meditations for forgiveness, as there are in other spiritualities. The bible teaches us to forgive too. In fact, forgiveness is one of the most common traits among world religions. And this is another core part of the importance of spirituality in life, because it helps us to forgive others, which improves our relationships.

For instance, from the bible:

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you”–Colossians 3:13

Because of spiritual teachings, the spiritualist understands the importance of forgiveness. They are able to acknowledge and accept the shortcomings of other people. This leads to less anger and less stress.

Some research also shows that spirituality makes us more empathetic. Although research is not 100% clear on why, and not to mention, there are both pros and cons of being an empath.

7. Anti-aging: 

Spiritual people age slower.

This is largely because they are better equipped to handle stress.

Stress accelerates the aging process. Spiritual techniques like meditation, prayer, yoga, tai chi, and more, limit the affects of stress and thereby slow the aging process.

This is definitely one of the most amazing ways in which spirituality is important. You might not think about the importance of spirituality to your age, but it is a factor, and an amazing one at that.

8. Helps you make sense of it all.

Perhaps the most universal benefit of spirituality is this: It helps us understand life.

The wisdom found in different spiritualities can help you to understand life in a healthier way. It also helps us to be more hopeful and optimistic [read: the importance of hope in life]

How To Become Spiritual

It is not always easy to be spiritual. There are times when you will question your spirituality. My own spirituality is love and compassion. And there are times when my loving, non-judgmental attitude is tested.

But by doing the following things you can continually strengthen your spiritual character.

  1. Read about different religions and beliefs and how they have helped other people. By reading about spirituality you’ll start your mind down the road of questions and answers that spirituality bathes in.
  2. For millenia art has been intrinsically linked to spirituality. Visit art museums and meditate on the way different artists depict their religious beliefs.
  3. Practice some non-religious meditations. Twenty minutes meditation per day will silence your thoughts and stresses about work, personal life and other day-to-day subjects. This will give you the mental space needed to consider thoughts of spirituality. Who knows, you might have deeply layered spiritual beliefs that have been defining you but which you’ve never found the time or open-mindedness to realise.
  4. Follow some spiritual blogs for inspiration
  5. Imagine you’re dead. . . no really! This sounds morbid but by imagining that this is the last day of your life, or even that you are already dead, you’ll look at the present moment in a whole new context, one that could give you an entirely new and more spiritual way of looking at the world.
  6. There are lots of inspirational spiritual gurus. Do any of them inspire you? Read about them. For me, I love the Dalai Lama and I try to follow the Dalai Lama’s life lessons. But that’s just me. You are free to follow whomever you choose.  

These are just some of potential ways how to become spiritual.

The best thing to do is to just look for spirituality in life in general.

  • Look for some meaning to it all.
  • Look for areas and times of your life where you’ve felt like some external force was helping you out and guiding you.
  • Look to nature
  • look to love
  • look to art
  • look to beauty
  • look to everything in the world that is so miraculous that there simply must be some explanation for it.

Conclusion: 

Scientific research, personal experience, and ancient wisdom all reveal the importance of spirituality in life. That’s why we should take the ever to continually go deeper in spiritual practice.

Spiritual individuals are happier and healthier and they live longer lives (on average).

We spiritual people are fortunate. Our spirituality gives us the keys to a better way of living.

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SOURCES: 

1: https://psychcentral.com/blog/spirituality-and-prayer-relieve-stress/
2: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3426191/
3: http://faithhealth.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/Review-Article-Religion-Spirituality-and-Health-Koenig-2012.pdf
4:https://positivepsychology.com/classification-character-strengths-virtues/

Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a meditation teacher and writer. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.
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