What is spirituality?
The term “spirituality” conjures up many different ideas. It means different things to different people. In Christianity it even means different things to different streams of Christians.
In the secular world, spirituality generally means that an individual has a more open, personalised, and less structured outlook on life. In this regard even some atheists, despite disclaiming the existence of a Deity, supernatural world or spirits, claim to be “spiritual”. ‘Secular spirituality’ can thus be defined around an individual’s awareness and pro-activity concerning the notion that thoughts, actions and emotions are in some way interconnected with all things in the universe. Proponents of this outlook maintain that there exists to a greater or lesser degree a mysterious flow of energy that manifests in universal cause and effect, and is independent from time and distance.
Others see spirituality as a sense of community or togetherness and so define a person’s sensitivity to the needs of others as him or her being “spiritual”. Still others disclaim entirely the existence of a Deity or a spiritual world and assert the idea of mankind creating God in his own likeness in order to satisfy the need for ritual or structure or order, or to make sense of life. As a modern-day example of myths and stories being created in this way, it is well known that Hawaiian natives received Captain Thomas Cook as a god because of the colour of his skin and the fact that his arrival coincided with ancient native prophesy.
Others may see a study of the planets or stars or predictions based on astrology  as describing "spirituality".
From a theistic  or religious point of view, spirituality is most often connected with organised religion, which holds as true ancient manuscripts and books describing communication and interaction between human beings, the spiritual world and/or spiritual beings, including God. Theists maintain a belief in the pre-eminence of a Divine being or Creator, who holds certain powers within the spiritual and/or natural worlds. By definition theists – who believe in a spiritual being who is Creator - believe in the existence of a supernatural or spiritual world, which exists in parallel with the natural world and is outside of time.
There is growing popularity amongst Christian believers and non-believers alike to merge some of the concepts found in both secular and theistic spirituality. In this way, truth, which is paramount and immoveable, is sought in a metaphysical  sense. Stories, mysteries and myths are held as 'somewhat true' but are seen as representing ‘fill-gaps’ for that which mankind simply does not understand. Therefore, it is reasoned that in the absence of a true or accurate account of history, myths and stories were invented to make sense of mankind’s perception of reality. In this way ancient manuscripts such as those contained in the Bible are said to be mainly myth or mystery. Accordingly, in terms of finding truth, scientific evidence is preferred above Biblical accounts, even by the churches who claim to be the custodians of Jesus's ministry on earth.
And so, Biblical accounts of Sodom and Gomorrah, the account of Creation, Noah’s Ark, the resurrection of Jesus and others are said to be ‘myth, not manifest’.
But Christians who do not believe the account of Noah’s Ark or Jonah and the fish as a literal truth struggle to explain how it is that Jesus Himself endorses these accounts as literal truths: “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark” (Matthew 24:8), or “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40).
Inadvertently, even amongst those who deny the existence of the spiritual realm, its effect on everyday life is affirmed by many. Sayings such as “karma” and “what goes around comes around” affirm that people believe in some unseen force at work. This has been attested by many – those within organised religion and those outside of it. Individuals use it and companies too  – it is part of everyday life, yet it is spiritual.
But these sayings have an origin:
In reality these sayings are nothing more than a reference to the New Testimonial Galatians 6:7-8, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (NIV).
By these sayings the spiritual principle of sowing and reaping is seen in action. It is perhaps verse 8 that forms the premise of Christian living:
“For whatever a man sows, that and that only is what he will reap. For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Amplified Bible).
Spirituality from a Believer’s point of view is a most simple or complex aspect of life. In one way it is defined by pure faith where no evidence is required for what Jesus calls the "heavens", an uncompromising reliance on the unseen God and an open obedience to Him. In another way it is imagined; accompanied by signs, symbols and/or rituals meant for consumption by the Master. These serve as a proxy for bringing honour or personal sacrifice to the Superior being – in a metaphoric way they worship the Master.
Spirituality in the Biblical sense is a journey and a destination. It is neither a mountain nor a valley. It is neither short nor long. It is neither difficult nor easy. Its pathway is broad – many can travel by it. Its safety is narrow – few go in by the narrow gate.
In the end the Kingdom of God true spirituality is the essence of life to those who are looking for it.
- Astrology: the study that assumes and attempts to interpret the influence of the heavenly bodies on human affairs.
- Theistic: the belief in one god as the creator and ruler of the universe, without rejection of revelation.
- Metaphysical: concerned with abstract thought or subjects, as existence, causality, or truth. Concerned with first principles and ultimate grounds, as being, time, or substance.
Last update: August 2011