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What is spirituality, anyway?

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

It seems to me this is quite a legitimate question to ask. I’ve read and listened to a lot of material by mostly modern teachers, and it seems there is a lot of talk of meditation, mindfulness, insight and what happens after death. But these things seem to a certain extent normal, ordinary things.

The dictionary defines it as “the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to physical or material things”, which kind of defines it in opposition to materialism. However Buddhism holds that there is no such thing as a soul, yet as a movement it is held to be highly spiritual.

It seems to me the New Age defines spirituality more in terms of whether you believe in crystals and incense and yoga, rather than anything to do with the human spirit? I was wondering how people think about it.

Snakeskin

Comments

  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    hmm..breathing is living.one definition of spirit is breath.

    Snakeskin
  • Spirituality is metaphysical, beyond the physical. It is that which can't be touched with the hand yet is experienced. The activity of the brain can be observed, because it's physical. But the observable activity is only one dimension of that reality, the physical dimension. Within that same reality is another dimension: the experience of that physical activity, its content. That dimension can't be observed. It can't be touched with the hand. It can't be verified to exist apart from asking the person where the activity occurred, "What was the content, the experience of that activity?" That's the spiritual dimension, beyond the physical. Spirituality is concerned with that metaphysical dimension. The neural activity of mindfulness or the tangible reality of a crystal verifiably exists in the physical dimension and is therefore the domain of physics. The experience of mindfulness or of a crystal unverifiably exists in the spiritual dimension and is therefore the domain of spirituality.

    FosdickadamcrossleyNerida
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    I would define it as not only the wonder that proceeds the realisation of the non-physical but the direction it sets us on our path.

    Snakeskin
  • TsultrimTsultrim Hawaii Veteran

    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/spirituality
    nounPlural spiritualities. mass noun. The quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. 'the shift in priorities allows us to embrace our spirituality in a more profound way' 'a deep sense of spirituality that connects them to the natural environment'
    spirituality | Definition of spirituality in English by Oxford Dictionaries
    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/spirituality

    As always in English, the definition smacks of duality {""being concerned"" implies a concerner, ""embracing our spirituality"" implies an embracer and ""our spirituality"" suggests spirituality belongs to some one. Understanding, of course, how difficult it is to use the language nondualistically.

    In Buddhism, spirituality must always be non dualistic or it''s not Buddhism, at least at fruitional levels. At those levels, there is the experience of Buddhist spirituality but no one or I or ego experiences it.

    So, what is Buddhist spirituality ( i don't even know if the word applies, i have no clue what spirit or soul is.") For the purposes of discussion we'll say it is the experience, without an experiencer, of the true nature of mind (mind, not our mind), which is, briefly stated: emptiness inseparable from awareness.

    As mentioned above, it could also refer to the path that leads to the experience of the true nature of mind.

    Thank you for the question, Kerome.

    Kerome
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    What is spirituality, anyway?

    Hmm something that if marketed well one could make millions ;) :lol:

    yagr
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    On a more serious note....

    When I 'think' of the term spirituality ...the 'psyche' comes to 'mind' :)

    I guess for me personally spirituality is in a sense just getting to know the workings of the mind ...and some might even call this a form of psychology .....

    So in this sense The Eightfold Path is a spiritual path ... a path of which one works on/with the wholesome qualities of the 'mind' ...

    adamcrossley
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    Maybe a focus on our internal experience as a source of meaning and happiness as opposed to external, material factors.

    NeridalobsteryagrShoshin
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    Growing up I thought of it as something that was seeking beyond either materialism or sensuality.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited April 23

    New Age dhrama-rama woo-woo is about energy, spirituality, lite practice and a new set of values and mind caging ...

    When we go inward rather than labelling and being spiritually biased, what happens? We find the spirit or essence of dharma that @Shoshin and @person mention ...

    Who wants to sell their soul, guru and fantasy spiritual dhrama for ... [insert non delusional state of choice] ...

    In this two part talk we have, religious, cultural and philosophical Buddhism ...

    I'll join ... cancel any memberships ....

    ShoshinBuddhadragon
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Whether you include the psyche or not is rather a key question, after all nearly everything we do starts in the mind. So if you do include the psyche, and I do, then such things as finding a new life direction fall under spirituality.

    Learning the inner nature of the mind is all very well, but I feel one should not become too attached to goal-oriented modes of searching. That is the mind doing it’s thing, and if your goal is just for the mind to know the mind, then you are likely moving towards a dead end.

    Shoshin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Well said @Tsultrim

    ... the authentic insight you describe is the only form of spirituality worthy of the name ...

  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    We all come to ponder on spirituality when we come face to face for the first time -or several times- with the experience of suffering.
    When day-to-day life presents a void that compels us to look for further truths and answers beyond material satisfaction.

    When all experiences in life bring us head-on against impermanence, not-self, dukkha, again and again.

    From there, the answers and truths we glean down the path are pretty personal and each person's experience can be very unique.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited April 24

    @Tsultrim said:
    The only entity or nonentity that could possibly see mind is mind itself, since only it has the awareness to do so.

    Certainly the only thing that could comprehend what you are seeing is mind, since mind is our one and only instrument for comprehending things. Whether what you see is more than the mind can comprehend is open to debate, sinceseeing is not necessarily part of mind, only understanding is.

    It puts me in mind of the comment of an 85 year old spiritual seeker, which I read yesterday: “I spent so much of my life trying to be in the present, and now I find with my memory and mind going that the present is all that is left.”

    lobster
  • TsultrimTsultrim Hawaii Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @Tsultrim said:
    The only entity or nonentity that could possibly see mind is mind itself, since only it has the awareness to do so.

    Certainly the only thing that could comprehend what you are seeing is mind, since mind is our one and only instrument for comprehending things. Whether what you see is more than the mind can comprehend is open to debate, sinceseeing is not necessarily part of mind, only understanding is.

    It puts me in mind of the comment of an 85 year old spiritual seeker, which I read yesterday: “I spent so much of my life trying to be in the present, and now I find with my memory and mind going that the present is all that is left.”

    Hi Kerome. I'm trying desperately not to get into a lot of concept that will not only confuse you but also myself. I'll make a few statements and see if we can piece them together to reach an understanding.

    First, the seeing that i'm talking about occurs in the mind. If you visualize your home as a child you are seeing with the mind's eye. It is that eye that sees the true nature of itself.
    Second, seeing mind with the mind's eye is not more than mind can comprehend. Mind knows itself in an instant, at least in my experience.

    Kerome
  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    another thought came to mind:the spirit of the letter.every breath we take;we meditate. =)

    Shoshin
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited April 24

    I like to view the word spirituality as referring to that which tends to the needs of the heart and leads towards happiness for ourselves and others. I think that, ultimately, people engaged in religion, meditation, yoga, or the use of things like crystals and incense are doing so in an effort to tend to their hearts and happiness, whether or not they hold a belief in some immaterial and innate aspect of ourselves such as a Self, soul, or spirit. While they may all have similar motivations, I think that some spiritual ideas and practices are more beneficial than others. From the Buddhist point of view, one of the primary jobs of discernment is to help us make that distinction with constant reflection on our actions and their results. If, after constant reflection, we find that something leads to pleasant consequences, pleasant results, and found to be conducive to our long-term welfare and happiness, then what we're doing is skillful and we're on the right track. If not, then maybe we need to rethink whatever it is we're doing.

    Keromefedericaperson
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Jason , may you be well; may you be happy.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited April 24

    What is spirituality, anyway?

    @Kerome said:
    It seems to me this is quite a legitimate question to ask. I’ve read and listened to a lot of material by mostly modern teachers, and it seems there is a lot of talk of meditation, mindfulness, insight and what happens after death. But these things seem to a certain extent normal, ordinary things.

    The dictionary defines it as “the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to physical or material things”, which kind of defines it in opposition to materialism. However Buddhism holds that there is no such thing as a soul, yet as a movement it is held to be highly spiritual.

    It seems to me the New Age defines spirituality more in terms of whether you believe in crystals and incense and yoga, rather than anything to do with the human spirit? I was wondering how people think about it.

    I guess in a nutshell @Kerome ....(and because it seems to mean different things to different people)....

    A definition of spirituality (which is a 'condition/quality of being') could be when (in earnest) one has this deep desire to get to know the self...

    (Bearing in mind the interdependent nature of all things/phenomena 'including the self' )
    "Know Thy Self".... searching for/seeking understanding by using whatever means available :) ...crystals incense yoga or....

    Hmm in a sense life itself/living is a spiritual path... :)

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I like to view the word spirituality as referring to that which tends to the needs of the heart and leads towards happiness for ourselves and others.

    That seems like common sense.

    Interestingly enough spirituality transcends common sense, whilst often fulfilling needs on a variety of levels ...

    This is why the spiritual awakens the individual, their social environment and encounters, to the good of all.

    iz plan

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