In modern Western society it is commonplace for many people to describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” This suggests an acknowledgement or recognition that there is something beyond our ordinary day-to-day understanding of reality, but that that “something” is difficult to define or put into words. Also implicit in that statement is often a rejection of contemporary religious organizations, or a least a recognition that their structure has failed to satisfy the desire for meaningful spiritual understanding and experience. Those that consider themselves spiritual have likely known, intuited, or remembered, that there is something potentially greater available to their experience. It is not unusual to identify with the statement “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” What we commonly consider to be spiritual can be found at the depth of most religions.
A.H. Almaas wrote: “The Buddha observed and studied his own mind, and developed methods of meditation that enabled others to do the same. Almost all of Indian philosophy and spirituality begins, and ends, with the study of the self, the atman. The Delphic injunction, “Know thyself,” became through Socrates and Plato the primary foundational principle of the Western wisdom tradition, which in turn became central for Neoplatonism: “To find ourselves is to know our source.” (Plotinus, Enneads, p. 544.) Christian spirituality, as seen through the teachings of the desert fathers, begins with the knowing of the soul and the purification of the soul that is needed for it to mirror or be receptive to divine inspiration. The cornerstone of Islamic spirituality and philosophy is the saying attributed to God: “Whoso knoweth himself knoweth his lord.”
Now, the question remains “What is spirituality?” You will notice in the following quotes that there is no consensus about a definition, but much food for thought.
You have to be in the world to understand what the spiritual is about, and you have to be spiritual in order to truly be able to accept what the world is about.
~ Mary Oliver
The spiritual path - is simply the journey of living our lives. Everyone is on a spiritual path; most people just don't know it.
~ Marianne Williamson
Spirituality is rebellion; religiousness is orthodoxy. Spirituality is individuality; religiousness is just remaining part of the crowd psychology. Religiousness keeps you a sheep, and spirituality is a lion’s roar.
That is the real spiritual awakening, when something emerges from within you that is deeper than who you thought you were. So, the person is still there, but one could almost say that something more powerful shines through the person.
~ Eckhart Tolle
Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don't know it, are asleep. They're born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence.
~ Anthony De Mello
Spirituality is meant to take us beyond our tribal identity into a domain of awareness that is more universal.
~ Deepak Chopra
Many people think that it is the function of a spiritual teaching to provide answers to life's biggest questions, but actually the opposite is true. The primary task of any good spiritual teaching is not to answer your questions, but to question your answers. For it is your conscious and unconscious assumptions and beliefs that distort your perception and cause you to see separation and division where there is actually only unity and completeness.
An authentic spiritual path takes us beyond our ordinary sense of separation and helps us deal with the challenges of being human – inherently perfect at the core and yet also works in progress. We come home to ourselves. We remember we are inherently connected to everyone and everything. This liberates us from the self-centeredness that is the cause of so much suffering. We become kinder, more forgiving, more generous, fleshed out human beings. The more each one of us is committed to living with awareness, our lives become a blessing and of benefit to our world.
~ Miranda Macpherson
True spirituality is not a comfort – it is a furnace, burning up your cherished homes and dreams, your outdated beliefs about life, the universe and everything.
~ Jeff Foster
There is no such thing as spirituality;
whatever is, is only this worldly life, in the five-elemental play.
You are nothing better than vegetation.
Just as grass is growing, human beings are growing.
Will anybody accept this?
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
Remember that the first step in spirituality is not to speak ill of others. All human beings have weaknesses and faults. Yet they are all God in their being. Until they become Realized, they have their imperfections. Therefore, before trying to find faults in others and speaking ill of them, try to find your own weaknesses, and correct those
~ Meher Baba
Spirituality is the science of the soul.
~ Swami Vivekananda
Spirituality is natural goodness. God is not a person; God is a presence personified in us. Spirituality is not a thing; it is the atmosphere of God’s Presence, goodness, truth and beauty.
~ Ernest Holmes
Spirituality is not religion. It is a path for us to generate happiness, understanding, and love, so we can live deeply each moment of our life. Having a spiritual dimension in our lives does not mean escaping life or dwelling in a place of bliss outside this world but discovering ways to handle life’s difficulties and generate peace, joy, and happiness right where we are, on this beautiful planet.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
The new spirituality is that it will produce an experience in human encounters in which we become a living demonstration of the basic spiritual teaching 'We are all one.'
~ Neale Donald Walsch
Essence of spirituality is that we are constantly aware of the oneness of who we are, at the same time we celebrate the uniqueness of the individual.
Spirituality is about being ready. All the spiritual disciplines of your life - prayer, study, meditation or ritual, religious vows - are all there so that you can break through to the eternal. Spirituality is about awakening the eyes, the ears, the heart so you can see what is already happening right in front of you.
~ Fr. Richard Rohr
The real spiritual progress of the aspirant is measured by the extent to which he achieves inner tranquility.
~ Swami Sivananda
The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts and the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measures to gauge spiritual progress.
~ Ramana Maharshi
Serving the Truth becomes our life instead of just an isolated event. It takes the abstractness out of spirituality. That’s the opportunity of real spirituality: to be in service to the silence of the heart."
This is the nexus of the spiritual path: liberating our blocks to the awareness of love’s presence. Peeling back the veils of hurt that have caused us to close down, play safe and hide out in habits of protection. For any of us this is no small task. Identifying, forgiving and surrendering the hurts and the conclusions we have arrived at that concretize our fear is daily work. But nothing is ever more pressing than uprooting whatever blocks the nectars of our heart to flow freely. . . .
Being the Presence of love - That is really what all spiritual practice is for in the end.
~ Miranda Macpherson
The spiritual journey is not about acquiring something outside yourself. Rather, you are penetrating the layers and veils to return to the deepest truth of your own being.
~ Ram Dass
Spirituality, at least in the Diamond Approach, means recognizing the true condition of reality and understanding through experience that it is much more mysterious than we think.
~ A.H. Almaas