What Is Spirituality?

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Spirituality is an internal search for meaning, purpose, transcendence and hope. It can be a source of resilience and well-being in the face of life’s challenges, such as illness, death or loss. It also brings comfort, support and meaning to people who are suffering from depression and anxiety.

A spiritual experience can take place in any setting, even if it is not religious. It can be felt while walking in nature, working on a project or talking to a friend. Some studies suggest that meditation increases feelings of spirituality, while others find that volunteering and helping others are related to feelings of spirituality.

The spiritual dimension aims to achieve inspiration, reverence, awe and purpose, but does not necessarily involve believing in a God or any other entity. It is often brought into focus in times of stress, physical (and mental) illness or during death and bereavement.

Various traditions use different methods to pursue spirituality, including studying, contemplation, prayer and meditation. Some of the most popular approaches include Buddhism: achieving cessation of suffering (nirvana); seeing reality as it is; uprooting mental defilements; yoga: liberation from ego by merging with Absolute Consciousness; and Sufism: experiencing divine revelation. Many people who consider themselves religious will also use these methods to express their spirituality, but spirituality can also be separate from religion. Ultimately, it is the desire to find something greater than yourself that defines spirituality. This can be outside of yourself, as in a higher power, or inside you, as in a part of your consciousness that is linked to all other forms of life.