For the record, there is an official definition of spiritual: “Relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.” But let’s face it, no two people — anywhere, on any corner of the planet — will ever truly agree about what it means to be spiritual. Is it about prayer, nature, meditation, some kind of god, or anything else that’s usually listed in discussions like this?
Regardless of semantics, many folks like to brag about their level of spirituality and judge others for doing it “wrong.” (Thus explaining the title of this article.) What if I told you there are some simple ways of exploring your “spiritual” side without turning into that person on social media who brags about their scented candles, downward-facing dog, and enlightened chakras?
What if I also told you there are some simple ways of exploring your “spiritual” side without committing to a particular religion? There’s also an official definition for religion: “The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods; a particular system of faith and worship.” Being that we have roughly 4,300 religions in the world (with myriad variations of each), I wouldn’t suggest you go looking for any consensus on the meaning of that word either.
So, if spirituality is ultimately in the eye of the beholder, well… behold these five ways to feel spiritual even if it’s not your thing:
We live in a multi-tasking society of smartphone notifications and distraction masquerading as enrichment. Sit down. Turn off your devices. Get quiet. Close your eyes. Breathe. Still your mind. You can call it “meditation” if you insist but it may best be viewed as choosing calm over commotion — as often as possible
Consumer culture teaches us to chase manufactured needs. Gratitude reminds us of all we already have. Contentment isn’t about settling or sacrifice. It’s a basic recognition of our place in this present moment.
Solitude can often be a “spiritual” experience. Collaboration not only heightens our sensory reality by connecting us with others, it also makes our moments of solitude all the more satisfying.
No one likes a know-it-all. To pretend you have all the answers requires you to squash your natural curiosity. Set your spirit free by embracing wonder. Be awed more often. Bask in the glow of learning something new, seeing something new, becoming something new. Activate your beginner’s mind and begin perceiving a lot more possibilities at your disposal.
You might say this is the root of any true spiritual or religious life. In fact, I just did. Trade your judgment for empathy and try a little tenderness. Think of it like the quote often attributed to St. Francis: “Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.”
Contrary to the threats of various holy books and the boasts of countless holy men, spirituality is not a 24/7 promise or guarantee. We live in a material world. Thus, our responsibilities cannot be safely or wisely ignored. Cultivating your divine side provides balance to offset this sobering reality.
Spirituality may occasionally be found in a church or temple or mosque or even on the yoga mat. But it can be a lot more fruitful — and enduring — to instead discover it in the fabric of your everyday life.