What Is Spirituality?

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Spirituality has a large number of definitions and interpretations. People often conflate the term with religion but spirituality can be practiced without being part of any religious tradition. Many believe that spirituality can include anything from embracing human feelings, both good and bad to finding inner peace through meditation or yoga.

Some associate spirituality with the new age movement, psychic powers, astrology and paranormal activity. Others define it as the belief in a higher power or connection to the universe. Many therapists use the term to describe a client’s search for meaning and purpose in life, finding ways of connecting with nature, others and their self. In addition, they may explore the meaning of suffering and death, or their own relationship with a higher power.

Psychologist James Welwood has noted that when used as a shield, spirituality can be a dangerous thing. He has found that when a person’s spirituality becomes so central to their identity, it can lead them to avoid dealing with difficult emotions and issues. Bypassing these issues with a spiritual explanation can ultimately stifle growth and create problems down the road.