Most definitions call it a philosophy that covers many perspectives. It usually includes a connection to something beyond us as humans and searches for answers to such questions as Who am I and Why am I here?
Questions and the many branches included in spirituality bring people from all backgrounds together in search for a higher meaning of life and its purpose. For some it is transcendence or to experience the relationship with family and community or to explore the magic and sacredness of nature.
Spirituality is usually thought of as an immaterial reality where one goes within for answers, to discover their own universe and/or to experience life in a different way where they find their own values and truths. Often times it leads one to different practices or paths. There are many paths; all leading to the same destination, Home.
People search for different reasons. It may be to know their God, to know what is truth or to know who they really are. It can also be for an understanding of why they are here on Earth. It might be to find their purpose or a direction to make their path easier by staying in the flow. Maybe there is an emptiness within or something missing or limiting one. Perhaps it is seeking peace and happiness or knowledge and adventure or helping humanity. Many search to remember who they are and to discover themselves again, only to find they were never lost.
While there is no one reason, spirituality is a vehicle for those who are looking for more than the material side of life. There are many branches to spirituality. Some pursue Zen, Buddhism, Yoga, New Age or some other organized form in seeking guidance and answers.
Spirituality and Religion
One does not have to follow a religion to be spiritual. I am often asked my religion and what religion are the masters I have worked with. I have experienced many religions, using what works for me and what I feel comfortable with or drawn to. I have also been blessed many times to have attended intensives with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Gurumayi.
Religions usually have rules, rituals, and a specific set of beliefs which usually involve a code of ethics. For me, the religions I participated in gave me a foundation as I found common threads such as the concept of love Jesus preached and the path he showed us. To me, spirituality is my own personal journey beyond religion, allowing me to explore and experiment with the teachings and to go straight to God when needed.
Spirituality and Metaphysics
The Greek prefix ‘meta’ means beyond. Added to the base word ‘physical’, meaning nature, it refers to the supernatural. Most definitions refer to it as a philosophy of abstract thought or a reality beyond the senses concerning the nature of our being. It seeks to understand the meaning of the universe through thought. It is based on speculative or abstract reasoning; studying the relationship between mind and nature.
In conclusion, spirituality is difficult to put into a set definition of one size fits all. Maybe that is part of the mystery of it. It is a philosophy which has many branches to it. Spirituality and metaphysics often intertwine while religion follows a specific set of rules, rituals and beliefs with a code of ethics.
Hope this gave you some clarity,