We often notice the term “spirituality” a lot these days, don’t we? But what is spirituality? What exactly does it entail? Spirituality is not about believing or disbelieving in something. In general, it is a particular way of our being that has a sense of connection to something beyond our self or identity.
It involves the experience of great ecstasy, a sense of wholeness, love, and compassion. It is more about seeking the meaning of our vast existence, something that combines us in a deeper aspect of life.
Spirituality provides an outlook that shows that there is more to life than what we perceive and feel on a sensory level. It makes us question whether there could be a world without greed, selfishness, hatred, and conflict.
Some people find spiritual comfort in churches, temples, mosques, etc. Others may seek comfort by developing a personal relationship with God or higher power. Therefore, everyone’s definition of Spirituality differs throughout life and how they have perceived their relationships.
Difference between Religion and Spirituality:
For millennia, humanity has pursued the answers to Truth – about life and the universe. They have asked deep and insightful questions, which are:
1) Who am I?
2) What is my purpose in this world?
3) Is there any meaning to this life?
4) Is there something beyond all this?
Most of humanity has taken the routes to this ultimate Truth through – Religion and Spirituality.
Spirituality and Religion are two different things, but they are somehow related. Religions are often based on the teachings of a historical figure (Christ, Krishna, Muhammad).
On the other hand, Spirituality is not just about following those teachings verbally but living ethically without any guidance, as the individual seeks a greater meaning in life.
Religion: In general, religion is a methodological institution based on religious beliefs, attitudes, ethics, and practices. When people identify with a particular religion, they offer their services by worshiping God through certain rituals and traditions.
Spirituality: Spirituality, on the other hand, indicates an experience that connects everything and goes beyond the physical senses. Genuine people do not consider themselves spiritual or religious; instead, they live in a sacred manner throughout their life.
Individuals observe without judgment and express their purpose through their connectedness to the self, others, their significant other, and nature.
How to get started with Spirituality?
Spirituality doesn’t involve any practices. As mentioned earlier, it is a way of being. However, there are many things that an individual can do to get there. It is like the blooming of a plant. We have to consider sunlight, soil, and other things to make sure they yield flowers from it. Anything that is out of order can affect its growth.
Therefore, you need to organize your body, mind, emotions, and energies so that you blossom into a beautiful human being. When you inquire with a certain level of maturity, then your entire perception of life changes profoundly.
Some of the steps that you can follow are:
1) Spend time in nature:
Did you know that nature is your best friend? Being in nature opens up your trapped emotions and feelings, giving you tremendous freedom. An intimate relationship with nature is crucial for your physical and emotional health.
Nature impacts us positively only when we can build a pure connection that doesn’t involve greed and other materialistic concerns.
2) Face the facts:
What we usually do is run away from facts, don’t we? For instance, we see that human beings are always in conflict. What do we do then? We either look for ways to stay away from them or destroy them. We never actually observe our actions on the matter.
To bring changes, we inevitably have to face the facts without employing self-imposed actions. When you do that, you will see a different movement altogether that is beyond self-activity. This action is held with pure love and compassion.
3) Show gratitude:
How often do we feel grateful for what we have right now? Very little, right? Being thankful for the present moment can do wonders for you. The universe provides you with many opportunities and will always have your back.
Here are some simple ways to practice gratitude:
A) Once you wake up in the morning, think of one thing to be thankful for. It may be as simple as being alive, or the sunlight entering your room, or that you have begun your day with good health.
B) Be grateful for the financial situation that you have built. Always remember that there are many people burdened with a cash crisis, and some struggle to earn in what they do. You are blessed and fortunate to have more than numerous others.
C) We are in a generation where people have the freedom to follow whatever religion they want. While people in the past used to follow a particular religion that their elders imposed upon them. Understand and be grateful that the modern lifestyle has given you one such freedom, which is the most important.
4) Mindful Breathing:
Practicing this is really essential if you are reactive most of the time. Its purpose is to get you in the present moment so that you can let go of worrying about the past or future, helping you to be aware of your thoughts without any judgment or evaluation.
Here is a short and quick breathing technique that will enable you to be more responsive and less reactive:
1) Take a deep breath (as per your convenience) for a count of 4
2) Hold your breath for a count of 5
3) Exhale for a count of 4
4) For a count of 5, hold the exhale.
5) Repeat the same seven times.
What is a Spiritual Awakening?
You may have heard talks about spiritual awakening and how it can lead you to a more ethical and moral life (or so-called “enlightenment”). But what does it really mean?
People have discussed the idea of spiritual awakening for several centuries; some call it “nirvana,” “enlightenment,” or “bliss.” It is a spontaneous happening where you step back and see the world with a whole different perspective.
The experience of coming to that state has always been a part of being human. Usually, our ego, greed, and ignorance act as a barrier, making us live petty lives without a sense of oneness.
Initially, spiritual awakenings can be alarming, as they make you question your existence, your sense of purpose, and your relationships with others. When you are past that phase, there is an element of joy and aliveness that you don’t want to let go of. (1)
What causes Spiritual Awakening?
An awakening happens unexpectedly, triggered by either non-spiritual interests or life-changing events. Traumas include chronic illness, divorces, heartbreaking breakups, mental health crises, or even a near-death experience.
Some say it comes with elegance without your will or doing. You can think of it as falling asleep. Sleep comes naturally to you. The more you try to put effort into sleeping, the more you keep yourself awake.
However, you need to set a comfortable environment like a quiet, dark room, soft clothes, etc. Desperately trying to sleep denies that quality of sleep as it cannot be forced or triggered. In the same way, spiritual awakening has its own beauty to it.
Doctor of Psychology, Danielle Dowling on 6 spiritual ways to transform your life.
5 Signs of Spiritual Awakening:
One of the most crucial signs is noticing or observing your patterns. All this while, you may have gone on autopilot mode without giving much thought to who you are, what you want, and your real relationship with people and nature.
Asking these questions to yourself makes you more aware of your current situation and become more humble and open-minded. Some of the questions that you might ask are:
- Is comparing myself to others making me dull and shallow?
- Why am I drinking or smoking so much?
- Is eating meat necessary to survive?
- Why am I getting angry about small things?
- What is the point of conflicting with the other?
2) You let go of attachment:
Letting go of attachment doesn’t mean you are detaching yourself from others; instead, you see the consequences of being attached to people or things. You can see how and why people react and cause such behavior. Believe it or not, your whole life is defined by the attachments you have built.
You may identify yourself with the car or bike you have, the property you own, who you spend time with, what kind of profession you are into, and many other things. Since childhood, you take on beliefs and conform to a pattern set by your parents, your friends, the media, and society.
Once you become aware of the organized systems and how humanity has lived until now, you see right through everything.
3) Increased intuition and synchronicity
Have you ever thought of something instantly, and it came about true? A strong feeling of going something right or wrong, a feeling that arises before the happening of an event. This level of intuition happens regularly for awakened people. This indicates that you are more in tune with yourself.
The same goes for synchronicity. You tend to see an event or happening on several occasions. For instance, if you are thinking of somebody, you see them posting a photo or story after some time, and then you get a text or call from them on the same day.
Some call it coincidence, while others believe that the universe gives them these subtle signs.
4) More empathy and compassion
Empathy is the ability to sense what others are experiencing. As you begin to feel more connected to everything around you, there is an increased empathy related to other people’s suffering.
Compassion is something that you not only feel what others are suffering, but you suffer with them. The word literally signifies “to suffer with.” People going through various stages of spiritual awakening can notice that they can feel and act regarding people’s situations which may seem natural and fulfilling.
5) You feel more connected to nature
As you embark on your spiritual journey, you will feel that nature is a big part of who you are as a human being, not as a personality. You may notice that plants, animals, and everything surrounding you is always trying to convey something that may feel quite moving.
The bottom line:
Spirituality is a way how we address ourselves and the world around us. We can see that many people, especially in the money world, have no sense of genuine affection, love, or compassion. Spirituality precisely deals with that. It values our needs, necessities, and physical and psychological health.
It helps you discover the deepest part within you that encompasses everything in the universe.