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The meaning of spirituality has developed and expanded over time, and various connotations can be found alongside each other. Traditionally, spirituality referred to a
religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, religious text, texts, shrine, sanctified places, prophecy, prophecies, ethics in religion, ...

religious
process of re-formation which "aims to recover the original shape of man", oriented at "the
image of God The Image of God (; ) is a concept Concepts are defined as abstract ideas or general notions that occur in the mind, in speech, or in thought. They are understood to be the fundamental building blocks of thoughts and belief A belief is an A ...
" as exemplified by the founders and sacred texts of the religions of the world. The term was used within early
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's la ...
to refer to a life oriented toward the
Holy Spirit In Abrahamic religions, the Holy Spirit is an aspect or agent of God in Abrahamic religions, God, by means of which God communicates with people or acts on them. In Judaism, it refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the ...
and broadened during the
Late Middle Ages The Late Middle Ages or Late Medieval Period was the period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in musical comp ...
to include mental aspects of life. In modern times, the term both spread to other religious traditions and broadened to refer to a wider range of experience, including a range of esoteric traditions and religious traditions. Modern usages tend to refer to a subjective experience of a sacred dimension and the "deepest values and meanings by which people live", often in a context separate from organized religious institutions. This may involve belief in a
supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the laws of nature.https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/supernatural By definition, a supernatural manifestation or event requires a violation of physical law belie ...

supernatural
realm beyond the ordinarily observable world,
personal growth Personal development consists of activities that develop a person's capabilities and potential, build human capital Human capital is the stock of habits, knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or som ...
, a quest for an ultimate or sacred
meaning Meaning most commonly refers to: * Meaning (linguistics), meaning which is communicated through the use of language * Meaning (philosophy), definition, elements, and types of meaning discussed in philosophy * Meaning (non-linguistic), a general ter ...

meaning
,
religious experience A religious experience (sometimes known as a spiritual experience, sacred experience, or mystical experience) is a subjective experience which is interpreted within a religious framework. The concept originated in the 19th century, as a defe ...
, or an encounter with one's own "inner dimension."


Etymology

The term spirit means "animating or vital principle in man and animals". It is derived from the Old French ''espirit'', which comes from the Latin word ''spiritus'' (
soul In many religious, philosophical, and myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually gods, demigods, or ...

soul
, courage, vigor, breath) and is related to ''spirare'' (to breathe). In the
Vulgate The Vulgate (; , ) is a late-4th-century Latin translation of the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritan ...
the Latin word ''spiritus'' is used to translate the Greek ''
pneuma Pneuma () is an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: ...
'' and Hebrew ''
ruach In folk beliefIn folkloristics, folk belief or folk-belief is a broad genre of folklore that is often expressed in narratives, Tradition, customs, rituals, foodways, proverbs, and rhymes. It also includes a wide variety of behaviors, expression ...
''. The term "spiritual", matters "concerning the spirit", is derived from Old French ''spirituel'' (12c.), which is derived from Latin ''spiritualis'', which comes from ''spiritus'' or "spirit". The term "spirituality" is derived from Middle French ''spiritualité'', from Late Latin "spiritualitatem" (nominative spiritualitas), which is also derived from Latin ''spiritualis''.


Definition

There is no single, widely agreed-upon definition of spirituality. Surveys of the definition of the term, as used in scholarly research, show a broad range of definitions with limited overlap. A survey of reviews by McCarroll each dealing with the topic of spirituality gave twenty-seven explicit definitions, among which "there was little agreement." This impedes the systematic study of spirituality and the capacity to communicate findings meaningfully. Furthermore, many of spirituality's core features are not unique to spirituality; for example self- transcendence, asceticism and the recognition of one's connection to all were regarded by the atheist
Arthur Schopenhauer Arthur Schopenhauer (; ; 22 February 1788 – 21 September 1860) was a German philosopher. He is best known for his 1818 work '' The World as Will and Representation'' (expanded in 1844), which characterizes the phenomenal world as the pr ...
as key to ethical life. According to Kees Waaijman, the traditional meaning of spirituality is a process of re-formation which "aims to recover the original shape of man, the image of God. To accomplish this, the re-formation is oriented at a mold, which represents the original shape: in
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of de ...
the
Torah Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the first five books (Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses) of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: ...

Torah
, in
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's la ...
there is
Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label= Hebrew/ Aramaic ( AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity, the world's largest religion. He was a fir ...
, for
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the Major religious groups#Largest religions, world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and ...
,
Buddha Gautama Buddha, popularly known as the Buddha (also known as Siddhattha Gotama or Siddhārtha Gautama or Buddha Shakyamuni), was an Śramaṇa, ascetic, a religious leader and teacher who lived in History of India#Iron Age (1500 – 200 BCE ...
, and in
Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pronounced , or (when the stress is on the first syllable) ( ...
,
Muhammad Muhammad ibn AbdullahHe is referred to by many appellations, including Messenger of Allah, The Prophet Muhammad, Allah's Apostle, Last Prophet of Islam, and others; there are also many variant spellings of Muhammad, such as Mohamet, Mohammed, ...

Muhammad
." Houtman and Aupers suggest that modern spirituality is a blend of humanistic psychology, mystical and esoteric traditions, and Eastern religions. In modern times the emphasis is on subjective experience and the "deepest values and meanings by which people live," incorporating personal growth or transformation, usually in a context separate from organized religious institutions. Spirituality can be defined generally as an individual's search for ultimate or sacred
meaning Meaning most commonly refers to: * Meaning (linguistics), meaning which is communicated through the use of language * Meaning (philosophy), definition, elements, and types of meaning discussed in philosophy * Meaning (non-linguistic), a general ter ...

meaning
and
purpose Intention is a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future The future is the time Time is the indefinite continued sequence, progress of existence and event (philosophy), events that occur ...
in life. Additionally it can mean to seek out or search for
personal growth Personal development consists of activities that develop a person's capabilities and potential, build human capital Human capital is the stock of habits, knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or som ...
,
religious experience A religious experience (sometimes known as a spiritual experience, sacred experience, or mystical experience) is a subjective experience which is interpreted within a religious framework. The concept originated in the 19th century, as a defe ...
, belief in a supernatural realm or afterlife, or to make sense of one's own "inner dimension."


Development of the meaning of spirituality


Classical, medieval and early modern periods

Bergomi detects "an enlightened form of non-religious spirituality" in
Late Antiquity Late antiquity is a periodization Periodization is the process or study of categorizing the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of time.Adam Rabinowitz. It’s about time: historical periodization and Linked Ancient World Data'. Insti ...
. Words translatable as "spirituality" first began to arise in the 5th century and only entered common use toward the end of the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th to the late 15th centuries, similarly to the Post-classical, Post-classical period of global history. It began with the fall of the Western Roma ...
. In a Biblical context the term means being animated by God. The New Testament offers the concept of being driven by the
Holy Spirit In Abrahamic religions, the Holy Spirit is an aspect or agent of God in Abrahamic religions, God, by means of which God communicates with people or acts on them. In Judaism, it refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the ...
, as opposed to living a
life Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities that have biological processes, such as Cell signaling, signaling and self-sustaining processes, from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased (they have Death ...

life
in which one rejects this influence. In the 11th century this meaning changed. "Spirituality" began to denote the mental aspect of life, as opposed to the material and sensual aspects of life, "the ecclesiastical sphere of light against the dark world of matter". In the 13th century "spirituality" acquired a social and psychological meaning. Socially it denoted the territory of the clergy: "The ecclesiastical against the temporary possessions, the ecclesiastical against the secular authority, the clerical class against the secular class" Psychologically, it denoted the realm of the inner life: "The purity of motives, affections, intentions, inner dispositions, the psychology of the spiritual life, the analysis of the feelings". In the 17th and 18th centuries a distinction was made between higher and lower forms of spirituality: "A spiritual man is one who is Christian 'more abundantly and deeper than others'." The word was also associated with
mysticism Mysticism is popularly known as becoming one with God or the Absolute, but may refer to any kind of Religious ecstasy, ecstasy or altered state of consciousness which is given a religious or Spirituality, spiritual meaning. It may also refer to ...
and quietism, and acquired a negative meaning.


Modern spirituality

Modern notions of spirituality developed throughout the 19th and 20th century, mixing Christian ideas with Western esoteric traditions and elements of Asian, especially Indian, religions. Spirituality became increasingly disconnected from traditional religious organisations and institutions. It is sometimes associated today with philosophical, social, or political movements such as
liberalism Liberalism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, ...

liberalism
,
feminist theology Feminist theology is a movement found in several religions, including Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, with over 1.25 billion ...
, and green politics.


Transcendentalism and Unitarian Universalism

Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803April 27, 1882), who went by his middle name Waldo, was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, abolitionism, abolitionist and poet who led the Transcendentalism, transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th c ...

Ralph Waldo Emerson
(1803–1882) was a pioneer of the idea of spirituality as a distinct field. He was one of the major figures in
Transcendentalism Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement that developed in the late 1820s and 1830s in the eastern United States. "Transcendentalism is an American literary, political, and philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century, centered arou ...
, an early 19th-century liberal Protestant movement, which was rooted in English and German
Romanticism Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1 ...
, the Biblical criticism of
Johann Gottfried Herder Johann Gottfried (after 1802, von) Herder (; ; 25 August 174418 December 1803) was a German philosopher, theologian, poet, and literary critic. He is associated with the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment, ''Sturm und Drang'', and Weimar Classic ...

Johann Gottfried Herder
and
Friedrich Schleiermacher Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (; November 21, 1768 – February 12, 1834) was a German Reformed Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major ...
, the
skepticism Skepticism (American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U. ...

skepticism
of
Hume Hume most commonly refers to: * David Hume (1711–1776), Scottish philosopher Hume may also refer to: People * Hume (surname) * Hume (given name) * James Hume Nisbet (1849–1923), Scottish-born novelist and artist In fiction * Hume, the ...

Hume
, and
Neo-Platonism Neoplatonism is a strand of Platonism, Platonic philosophy that emerged in the second century AD against the background of Hellenistic philosophy and Hellenistic religion, religion. The term does not encapsulate a set of ideas as much as it encap ...
. The Transcendentalists emphasised an intuitive, experiential approach of religion. Following Schleiermacher, an individual's intuition of truth was taken as the criterion for truth. In the late 18th and early 19th century, the first translations of Hindu texts appeared, which were also read by the Transcendentalists, and influenced their thinking. They also endorsed universalist and Unitarianist ideas, leading to
Unitarian Universalism Unitarian Universalism (UU) is a liberal religion characterized by a "free and responsible search for truth and meaning". Unitarian Universalists assert no creed A creed, also known as a confession, symbol, or statement of faith, is a state ...
, the idea that there must be truth in other religions as well, since a loving God would redeem all living beings, not just Christians.


Theosophy, anthroposophy, and the perennial philosophy

A major influence on modern spirituality was the
Theosophical Society The Theosophical Society, founded in 1875, is a worldwide body with the aim to advance the ideas of Theosophy in continuation of previous Theosophists, especially the Greek and Alexandrian Neo-Platonic philosophers dating back to 3rd century AD. ...

Theosophical Society
, which searched for 'secret teachings' in Asian religions. It has been influential on modernist streams in several Asian religions, notably
Neo-Vedanta Neo-Vedanta, also called Hindu modernism, neo-Hinduism, Global Hinduism and Hindu Universalism, are terms to characterize interpretations of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major re ...
, the revival of
Theravada Buddhism Theravāda (; Pali, Pāli, lit. "School of the Thero, Elders") is the most commonly accepted name of Buddhism, Buddhism's oldest existing school. The school's adherents, termed Theravādins, have preserved their version of Gautama Buddha's teach ...
, and
Buddhist modernism Buddhist modernism (also referred to as modern Buddhism, Buddhism, Neo-Buddhism and Neoyana) are new movements based on modern era reinterpretations of Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the Major religious groups#Largest religions, world's fourth-l ...
, which have taken over modern western notions of
personal experience Experience is the process through which conscious organisms perceive the world around them. Experiences can be accompanied by active awareness Awareness is the state of being conscious of something. More specifically, it is the ability to dir ...
and
universalism Universalism is the philosophical and theological concept that some ideas have universal application or applicability. A belief in one fundamental truth is another important tenet in universalism. The living truth is seen as more far-reaching th ...
and integrated them in their religious concepts. A second, related influence was
Anthroposophy Anthroposophy is a philosophy founded in the early 20th century by the esotericist Rudolf Steiner that postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world, accessible to human experience. Followers of anthrop ...
, whose founder,
Rudolf Steiner Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner (27 (or 25) February 1861 – 30 March 1925) was an Austrians, Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architecture, architect, Esotericism, esotericist, and claimed clairvoyance, clairvoyant. Steiner gained initial ...

Rudolf Steiner
, was particularly interested in developing a genuine Western spirituality, and in the ways that such a spirituality could transform practical institutions such as
education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion a ...
,
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domestication, domesticated species created food ...
, and
medicine Medicine is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations ...
. More independently, the spiritual science of Martinus was an influence, especially in Scandinavia. The influence of Asian traditions on western modern spirituality was also furthered by the
perennial philosophy The perennial philosophy ( la, philosophia perennis), also referred to as perennialism and perennial wisdom, is a perspective in philosophy and spirituality that views all of the world's religious traditions as sharing a single, metaphysical truth ...
, whose main proponent
Aldous Huxley Aldous Leonard Huxley (26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963) was an English writer and philosopher. He wrote nearly 50 books—both novels and non-fiction works—as well as wide-ranging essays, narratives, and poems. Born into the prominent Huxle ...

Aldous Huxley
was deeply influenced by
Neo-Vedanta Neo-Vedanta, also called Hindu modernism, neo-Hinduism, Global Hinduism and Hindu Universalism, are terms to characterize interpretations of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major re ...
and
universalism Universalism is the philosophical and theological concept that some ideas have universal application or applicability. A belief in one fundamental truth is another important tenet in universalism. The living truth is seen as more far-reaching th ...
, and the spread of social welfare, education and mass travel after
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a World war, global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved World War II by country, the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great ...
.


Neo-Vedanta

An important influence on western spirituality was
Neo-Vedanta Neo-Vedanta, also called Hindu modernism, neo-Hinduism, Global Hinduism and Hindu Universalism, are terms to characterize interpretations of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major re ...
, also called ''neo-Hinduism'' and ''Hindu Universalism'', a modern interpretation of
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest religion, with over 1.2 billion followers, or 15–16% of the global population, known as Hindus. The word ''Hindu'' is ...

Hinduism
which developed in response to western
colonialism Colonialism is a practice or policy of control by one people or power over other people or areas, often by establishing colony, colonies and generally with the aim of economic dominance. In the process of colonisation, colonisers may impose thei ...
and
orientalism 300px, Eugène Delacroix, ''The Women of Algiers,'' 1834, the Louvre">Women_of_Algiers.html" ;"title="Eugène Delacroix, ''The Women of Algiers">Eugène Delacroix, ''The Women of Algiers,'' 1834, the Louvre, Paris In art history, literature an ...
. It aims to present Hinduism as a "homogenized ideal of Hinduism" with Advaita Vedanta as its central doctrine. Due to the colonisation of Asia by the western world, since the 19th century an exchange of ideas has been taking place between the western world and Asia, which also influenced western religiosity. Unitarianism, and the idea of Universalism, was brought to India by missionaries, and had a major influence on neo-Hinduism via
Ram Mohan Roy Raja Ram Mohan Roy (22 May 1772 – 27 September 1833) was one of the founders of the Brahmo Sabha, the precursor of the Brahmo Samaj, a social-religious reform Reform ( lat, reformo) means the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, c ...
's
Brahmo Samaj Brahmo Samaj ( bn, ব্রাহ্ম সমাজ, Brahmô Sômaj, ) is the societal component of Brahmoism, which began as a monotheistic reformist movement of the Hinduism, Hindu religion that appeared during the Bengal Renaissance. It is ...
and
Brahmoism Brahmoism is a religious movement which originated from the mid-19th century Bengali Renaissance, the nascent Indian independence movement#REDIRECT Indian independence movement {{Rcat shell, {{R from move {{R from other capitalisation {{R unpri ...
. Roy attempted to modernise and reform Hinduism, from the idea of Universalism. This universalism was further popularised, and brought back to the west as neo-Vedanta, by
Swami Vivekananda Swami Vivekananda (; 12 January 1863 – 4 July 1902), born Narendranath Datta (), was an Indian Hindu Hindus () are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism Hind ...

Swami Vivekananda
.


"Spiritual but not religious"

After the Second World War, spirituality and theistic religion became increasingly disconnected, and spirituality became more oriented on subjective experience, instead of "attempts to place the self within a broader ontological context." A new discourse developed, in which (humanistic) psychology, mystical and esoteric traditions and eastern religions are being blended, to reach the
true self True self (also known as real self, authentic self, original self and vulnerable self) and false self (also known as fake self, idealized self, superficial self and pseudo self) are psychological concepts, originally introduced into psychoanalysis ...
by
self-disclosureSelf-disclosure is a process of communication by which one person reveals information about themself to another. The information can be descriptive or evaluative, and can include thoughts, feelings, aspirations, goals, failures, successes, fears, an ...
, free expression, and meditation. The distinction between the spiritual and the religious became more common in the popular mind during the late 20th century with the rise of
secularism Secularism the principle seeking to conduct human affairs based on secular, naturalistic considerations. It is most commonly defined as the separation of religion from civic affairs and the state, and may be broadened to a similar position con ...

secularism
and the advent of the
New Age New Age is a range of spiritual or religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, religious text, texts, shrine, sanctified p ...
movement. Authors such as and
Shirley MacLaine Shirley MacLaine (born Shirley MacLean Beaty, April 24, 1934) is an American actress, singer, author, activist, and former dancer. Known for her portrayals of quirky, headstrong, eccentric women, MacLaine is the recipient of numerous accolades i ...
explored it in numerous ways in their books.
Paul Heelas Paul Lauchlan Faux Heelas (born 1946) is a British sociologist and anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, societies. Soci ...
noted the development within New Age circles of what he called "seminar spirituality": structured offerings complementing
consumer A consumer is a person or a group who intends to order, orders, or uses purchased goods, products, or services Service may refer to: Activities :''(See the Religion section for religious activities)'' * Administrative service, a required part of ...
choice with spiritual options. Among other factors, declining membership of organized religions and the growth of secularism in the
western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and state (polity), states, depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of Europe, Northern America, and Australasia.

Traditional spirituality


Abrahamic faiths


Judaism

Spirituality in
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of de ...
may involve practices of
Jewish ethics Jewish ethics is the moral philosophy of the Jewish religion or the Jewish people. A type of normative ethics Normative ethics is the study of ethical behaviour, and is the branch of philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study ...
,
Jewish prayer Jewish prayer ( he, תְּפִלָּה, ; plural ; yi, תּפֿלה, tfile , plural ; Yinglish: davening from Yiddish 'pray') is the prayer recitation that forms part of the observance of Rabbinic Judaism. These prayers, often with in ...
,
Jewish meditation Jewish meditation includes practices of settling the mind, introspection, visualization, emotional insight, contemplation of divine names, or concentration on philosophical, ethical or mystical ideas. Meditation Meditation is a practice wh ...
,
Shabbat Shabbat (, , or ; he, שַׁבָּת, Šabat, , ) or the Sabbath, also called Shabbos ( yi, שבת) by Ashkenazim Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people a ...

Shabbat
and
holiday A holiday is a day set aside by Norm (social), custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are suspended or reduced. Generally, holidays are intended to allow individuals to celebrate or commemorate a ...
observance,
Torah study Torah study is the study of the Torah Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the first five books (Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses) of the Hebrew Bibl ...
,
dietary laws Some people do not eat various specific foods and beverages in conformity with various religious, cultural, legal or other societal prohibitions. Many of these prohibitions constitute taboos. Many food taboos and other prohibitions forbid the meat o ...
,
teshuvah Repentance ( he, תשובה, literally, "return", pronounced ''tshuva'' or ''teshuva'') is one element of atoning for sin in Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "Kingdom of Judah, Judah", ...
, and other practices. It may involve practices ordained by
halakhah ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ; also transliterated as ''halacha'', ''halakhah'', ''halachah'', or ''halocho''; ) is the collective body of Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people ...
or other practices.
Kabbalah Kabbalah ( he, קַבָּלָה, links=no ''Qabālā'', literally "reception, tradition" or "correspondence") is an esoteric method, discipline, and Jewish theology, school of thought in Jewish mysticism. A traditional Kabbalist in Judaism is c ...

Kabbalah
(literally "receiving") is an
esoteric Western esotericism, also known as esotericism, esoterism, and sometimes the Western mystery tradition, is a term scholars use to categorise a wide range of loosely related ideas and movements that developed within Western society. These ideas an ...
method, discipline and school of thought of Judaism. Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between an unchanging, eternal and mysterious
Ein Sof Ein Sof, or Eyn Sof (, he, אין סוף), in Kabbalah, is understood as God prior to any self-manifestation in the production of any spiritual realm, probably derived from Solomon ibn Gabirol Solomon ibn Gabirol (also Solomon ben Judah; he ...
(no end) and the mortal and finite universe (his creation). Interpretations of Kabbalistic spirituality are found within
Hasidic Judaism Hasidism, sometimes spelled Chassidism, and also known as Hasidic Judaism ( he, חסידות, Ḥăsīdut, ; originally, "piety"), is a Judaism, Jewish religious group that arose as a spiritual revival movement in the territory of contemporary W ...
, a branch of
Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist branches of contemporary Judaism. Jewish theology, Theologically, it is chiefly defined by regarding the Torah, both Torah, Written and Oral Torah, Oral, as Sinai Revelation, reveale ...
founded in 18th-century Eastern Europe by Rabbi Israel
Baal Shem Tov Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer ( 1698 – 22 May 1760), known as the Baal Shem Tov ( he, בעל שם טוב, ) or as the Besht, was a Jewish mysticism, Jewish mystic and healer from Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Poland, who is regarded as the foun ...
. Hasidism often emphasizes the Immanent Divine presence and focuses on emotion, fervour, and the figure of the
Tzadik Tzadik ( he, צַדִּיק , "righteous ne, also ''zadik'', ''ṣaddîq'' or ''sadiq''; pl. ''tzadikim'' ''ṣadiqim'') is a title in Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "Kingdom of ...
. This movement included an elite ideal of nullification to paradoxical Divine
Panentheism Panentheism ("all in God”, from the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is ap ...
. The
Musar movement The Musar movement (also Mussar movement) is a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are members of an ethnoreligious group and a nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins ...
is a Jewish spiritual movement that has focused on developing character traits such as
faith Faith, derived from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...

faith
,
humility Humility is the quality of being humble. Dictionary definitions accentuate humility as a low self-regard and sense of unworthiness. In a religious context humility can mean a recognition of self in relation to a deity (i.e. God) or deities, and s ...
, and
love Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states, from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest Interpersonal relationship, interpersonal affection, to the simplest pleasure. An example of this range of m ...
. The Musar movement, first founded in the 19th century by Israel Salanter and developed in the 21st century by Alan Morinis and Ira F. Stone, has encouraged spiritual practices of
Jewish meditation Jewish meditation includes practices of settling the mind, introspection, visualization, emotional insight, contemplation of divine names, or concentration on philosophical, ethical or mystical ideas. Meditation Meditation is a practice wh ...
,
Jewish prayer Jewish prayer ( he, תְּפִלָּה, ; plural ; yi, תּפֿלה, tfile , plural ; Yinglish: davening from Yiddish 'pray') is the prayer recitation that forms part of the observance of Rabbinic Judaism. These prayers, often with in ...
,
Jewish ethics Jewish ethics is the moral philosophy of the Jewish religion or the Jewish people. A type of normative ethics Normative ethics is the study of ethical behaviour, and is the branch of philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study ...
,
tzedakah ''Tzedakah'' ( he, צדקה) is a Hebrew word meaning "righteousness", but commonly used to signify '' charity''. This concept of "charity" differs from the modern Western understanding of "charity." The latter is typically understood as a spont ...
,
teshuvah Repentance ( he, תשובה, literally, "return", pronounced ''tshuva'' or ''teshuva'') is one element of atoning for sin in Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "Kingdom of Judah, Judah", ...
, and the study of musar (ethical) literature.
Reform Judaism Reform Judaism (also known as Liberal Judaism or Progressive Judaism) is a major Jewish denomination that emphasizes the evolving nature of the faith, the superiority of its ethical aspects to the ceremonial ones, and belief in a continuous rev ...
and
Conservative Judaism Conservative Judaism (known as Masorti Judaism outside North America) is a Jewish religious movements, Jewish religious movement that regards the authority of Jewish law and tradition as emanating primarily from the assent of the people and th ...
have often emphasized the spirituality of
Jewish ethics Jewish ethics is the moral philosophy of the Jewish religion or the Jewish people. A type of normative ethics Normative ethics is the study of ethical behaviour, and is the branch of philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study ...
and
tikkun olam ''Tikkun olam'' ( he, תיקון עולם, , repair of the world) is a concept in Judaism, interpreted by some within Orthodox Judaism as the prospect of overcoming all forms of idolatry, and by other Jewish thinkers such as Reform Judaism as an as ...
,
feminist spirituality Feminist theology is a movement found in several religions, including Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and New Thought, to reconsider the traditions, practices, scriptures, and theologies of those religions from a feminism, femi ...
, Jewish prayer, Torah study, ritual, and musar.


Christianity

Catholic spirituality is the spiritual practice of living out a personal act of faith (''fides qua creditur'') following the acceptance of
faith Faith, derived from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...

faith
(''fides quae creditur''). Although all
Catholics The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ri ...
are expected to pray together at
Mass Mass is the physical quantity, quantity of ''matter'' in a physical body. It is also a measure (mathematics), measure of the body's ''inertia'', the resistance to acceleration (change of velocity) when a net force is applied. An object's mass ...
, there are many different forms of spirituality and private prayer which have developed over the centuries. Each of the major
religious order A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. ...
s of the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . As the wor ...

Catholic Church
and other
lay Lay may refer to: Places *Lay Range, a subrange of mountains in British Columbia, Canada *Lay, Loire, a French commune *Lay (river), France *Lay, Iran, a village *Lay, Kansas, United States, an unincorporated community People * Lay (surname) * L ...
groupings have their own unique spirituality – its own way of approaching God in prayer and in living out the
Gospel Gospel originally meant the Christian message ("the gospel In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, tea ...

Gospel
. Christian mysticism refers to the development of mystical practices and theory within
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's la ...
. It has often been connected to
mystical theology Mystical theology is the branch of theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the Divinity, divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an Discipline (academia), academic discipline, typically in universities and ...
, especially in the
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ri ...

Catholic
and
Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a Communion ( ...
traditions. The attributes and means by which Christian mysticism is studied and practiced are varied and range from
ecstatic Ecstasy (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods ...
visions of the soul's mystical union with God to simple prayerful
contemplation Image:solitude.jpg, Nature contemplation Whilst in the life of the intellect 'contemplation' refers to thinking profoundly about something, in the religious life contemplation is a kind of inner vision or seeing, transcendence (philosophy), trans ...

contemplation
of Holy Scripture (i.e., ''
Lectio Divina In Western Christianity File:Petersdom von Engelsburg gesehen.jpg, 250px, St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, the largest church building in the world today. Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity (Eastern Christia ...

Lectio Divina
'').
Progressive Christianity Progressive Christianity represents a Postmodernism, post-modern theological approach, and is not necessarily synonymous with progressive politics. It developed out of the Liberal Christianity of the Modernity, modern era, which was rooted in Ag ...
is a contemporary movement which seeks to remove the supernatural claims of the faith and replace them with a post-critical understanding of biblical spirituality based on historical and scientific research. It focuses on the lived experience of spirituality over historical dogmatic claims, and accepts that the faith is both true and a human construction, and that spiritual experiences are psychologically and neurally real and useful.


Islam

An inner spiritual struggle and an outer physical struggle are two commonly accepted meanings of the Arabic word ''
jihad Jihad (; ar, جهاد ' ) is an Arabic word which literally means ''striving'' or ''struggling'', especially with a praiseworthy aim. In an Islamic context, it can refer to almost any effort to make personal and social life conform with God' ...
'': The "greater jihad" is the inner struggle by a believer to fulfill his religious duties. This non-violent meaning is stressed by both Muslim and non-Muslim authors. Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, an 11th-century Islamic scholar, referenced a statement by the
companion of Muhammad Image:Mohammed im kreis seiner gefährten.jpg, Muhammad and his companions on an Ottoman miniature Companions of the Prophet or ' ( ar, اَلصَّحَابَةُ meaning "the companions", from the verb meaning "accompany", "keep company with" ...

companion of Muhammad
,
Jabir ibn Abd-Allah Jabir ibn Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Haram al-Ansari ( ar, جابر بن عبدالله بن عمرو بن حرام الأنصاري, died 697 CE/78 AH) was a prominent companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad ) , birth_date = , birth ...
:


=Sufism

= The best known form of Islamic mystic spirituality is the
Sufi Sufism ( ar, ٱلصُّوفِيَّة), also known as Tasawwuf ( ar, ٱلتَّصَوُّف, link=no), is mysticism Mysticism is popularly known as becoming one with God or the Absolute, but may refer to any kind of Religious ecstasy, e ...

Sufi
tradition (famous through
Rumi Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Rūmī ( fa, جلال‌الدین محمد رومی), also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Mohammad Balkhī (), Mevlânâ/Mowlānā (, "our master"), Mevlevî/Mawlawī (, "my master"), and more popularly simply as Rumi (30 S ...

Rumi
and Hafiz) in which a
Sheikh Sheikh ( , ; ar, شيخ ' , mostly pronounced , plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of lett ...

Sheikh
or '' pir'' transmits spiritual discipline to students. Sufism or ( ar, تصوّف) is defined by its adherents as the inner,
mystical Mysticism is popularly known as becoming one with God or the Absolute, but may refer to any kind of ecstasy Ecstasy may refer to: * Ecstasy (emotion), a trance or trance-like state in which a person transcends normal consciousness * Religious e ...
dimension of
Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pronounced , or (when the stress is on the first syllable) ( ...
.Alan Godlas, University of Georgia, ''Sufism's Many Paths'', 2000
University of Georgia
A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a ' (). Sufis believe they are practicing
ihsan Ihsan ( ar, إحسان ''ʾiḥsān'', also romanized ''ehsan''), is an Arabic term meaning "beautification", "perfection" or "excellence" (Ara. ''husn'', meaning: beauty). It is a matter of taking one's inner faith Faith, derived from Latin ...
(perfection of worship) as revealed by Gabriel to
Muhammad Muhammad ibn AbdullahHe is referred to by many appellations, including Messenger of Allah, The Prophet Muhammad, Allah's Apostle, Last Prophet of Islam, and others; there are also many variant spellings of Muhammad, such as Mohamet, Mohammed, ...

Muhammad
, Sufis consider themselves as the original true proponents of this pure original form of Islam. They are strong adherents to the principal of tolerance, peace and against any form of violence. The Sufi have suffered severe persecution by more rigid and fundamentalist groups such as the Wahhabi and Salafi movement. In 1843 the Senussi Sufi were forced to flee Mecca and Medina and head to Sudan and Libya. See Googl
book search
Classical Sufi scholars have defined Sufism as "a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God". Alternatively, in the words of the Darqawa, Darqawi Sufi teacher Ahmad ibn Ajiba, "a science through which one can know how to travel into the Divine presence, presence of the Divine, purify one's inner self from filth, and beautify it with a variety of praiseworthy traits".


Asian traditions


Buddhism

Buddhist practices are known as Bhavana, which literally means "development" or "cultivating" or "producing"Monier-Williams (1899), p. 755, see "Bhāvana" and "Bhāvanā," retrieved 9 December 2008 from University of Cologne
(PDF)
in the sense of "calling into existence."Nyanatiloka (1980), p. 67. It is an important concept in Buddhist Praxis (process), praxis (''Patipatti''). The word ''bhavana'' normally appears in conjunction with another word forming a compound phrase such as ''citta-bhavana'' (the development or cultivation of the heart/mind) or ''metta-bhavana'' (the development/cultivation of loving kindness). When used on its own ''bhavana'' signifies 'spiritual cultivation' generally. Various Buddhist Paths to liberation developed throughout the ages. Best-known is the Noble Eightfold Path, but others include Bhūmi (Buddhism), the Bodhisattva Path and Lamrim.


Hinduism

Hinduism has no traditional ecclesiastical order, no centralized religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet(s) nor any binding holy book; Hindus can choose to be polytheistic, pantheistic, monistic, or atheistic. Within this diffuse and open structure, spirituality in Hindu philosophy is an individual experience, and referred to as ksaitrajña (Sanskrit: क्षैत्रज्ञ). It defines spiritual practice as one's journey towards moksha, awareness of self, the discovery of higher truths, true nature of reality, and a consciousness that is liberated and content.Gavin Flood, Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Editor: Knut Jacobsen (2010), Volume II, Brill, , see Article on ''Wisdom and Knowledge'', pp. 881–84


=Four paths

= Traditionally, Hinduism identifies three ''mārga'' (ways) of spiritual practice, namely Jnana, Jñāna(ज्ञान), the way of knowledge; Bhakti, the way of devotion; and Karma yoga, the way of selfless action. In the 19th century Vivekananda, in his neo-Vedanta synthesis of Hinduism, added Rāja yoga, the way of contemplation and meditation, as a fourth way, calling all of them "yoga". Jñāna marga is a path often assisted by a ''guru'' (teacher) in one's spiritual practice. Bhakti marga is a path of faith and devotion to deity or deities; the spiritual practice often includes chanting, singing and music – such as in ''kirtans'' – in front of idols, or images of one or more deity, or a devotional symbol of the holy. Karma marga is the path of one's work, where diligent practical work or ''vartta'' (Sanskrit: वार्त्ता, profession) becomes in itself a spiritual practice, and work in daily life is perfected as a form of spiritual liberation and not for its material rewards. Rāja marga is the path of cultivating necessary virtues, self-discipline, ''Tapas (Sanskrit), tapas'' (meditation), contemplation and self-reflection sometimes with isolation and renunciation of the world, to a pinnacle state called ''samadhi, samādhi''. This state of ''samādhi'' has been compared to peak experience. There is a rigorous debate in Indian literature on relative merits of these theoretical spiritual practices. For example, Chandogya Upanishad, Chandogyopanishad suggests that those who engage in ritualistic offerings to gods and priests will fail in their spiritual practice, while those who engage in ''tapas'' will succeed; Shvetashvatara Upanishad, Svetasvataropanishad suggests that a successful spiritual practice requires a longing for truth, but warns of becoming 'false ascetic' who go through the mechanics of spiritual practice without meditating on the nature of Self and universal Truths.See: * CR Prasad, Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Editor: Knut Jacobsen (2010), Volume II, Brill, , see Article on ''Brahman'', pp. 724–29 * David Carpenter, Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Editor: Knut Jacobsen (2010), Volume II, Brill, , see Article on ''Tapas'', pp. 865–69 In the practice of Hinduism, suggest modern era scholars such as Vivekananda, the choice between the paths is up to the individual and a person's proclivities. Other scholars suggest that these Hindu spiritual practices are not mutually exclusive, but overlapping. These four paths of spirituality are also known in Hinduism outside India, such as in Balinese Hinduism, where it is called ''Catur Marga'' (literally: four paths).


=Schools and spirituality

= Different schools of Hinduism encourage different spiritual practices. In Tantra#Hinduism, Tantric school for example, the spiritual practice has been referred to as ''sādhanā''. It involves initiation into the school, undergoing rituals, and achieving moksha liberation by experiencing union of cosmic polarities. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Hare Krishna school emphasizes bhakti yoga as spiritual practice. In Advaita Vedanta school, the spiritual practice emphasizes jñāna yoga in stages: samnyasa (cultivate virtues), sravana (hear, study), manana (reflect) and dhyana (nididhyasana, contemplate).


Jainism

Jainism, traditionally known as Jain Dharma, is an ancient Indian religion. The three main pillars of Jainism are Ahimsa in Jainism, ahiṃsā (non-violence), anekāntavāda (non-absolutism), and aparigraha (non-attachment). Jains take five main vows: ahiṃsā (non-violence), satya (truth), Achourya, asteya (not stealing), brahmacharya (sexual continence), and aparigraha (non-possessiveness). These principles have affected Jain culture in many ways, such as leading to a predominantly vegetarian lifestyle. Parasparopagraho Jīvānām, Parasparopagraho jīvānām (the function of souls is to help one another) is the faith's motto and the Ṇamōkāra mantra is its most common and basic prayer. Jainism traces its spiritual ideas and history through a succession of twenty-four leaders or Tirthankara, Tirthankaras, with the first in the current time cycle being Rishabhadeva, whom the tradition holds to have lived millions of years ago; the twenty-third tirthankara Parshvanatha, whom historians date to 9th century BCE; and the twenty-fourth tirthankara, Mahāvīra, Mahavira around 600 BCE. Jainism is considered to be an eternal dharma with the tirthankaras guiding every time cycle of the Jain cosmology, cosmology.


Sikhism

Sikhism considers spiritual life and secular life to be intertwined: "In the Sikh Weltanschauung...the temporal world is part of the Infinite Reality and partakes of its characteristics." Guru Nanak described living an "active, creative, and practical life" of "truthfulness, fidelity, self-control and purity" as being higher than a purely contemplative life. The 6th Sikh Guru Guru Hargobind re-affirmed that the political/temporal (Miri) and spiritual (Piri) realms are mutually coexistent. According to the 9th Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadhur, the ideal Sikh should have both Shakti (power that resides in the temporal), and Bhakti (spiritual meditative qualities). This was developed into the concept of the Saint Soldier by the 10th Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh. According to Guru Nanak, the goal is to attain the "attendant balance of separation-fusion, self-other, action-inaction, attachment-detachment, in the course of daily life", the polar opposite to a self-centered existence. Nanak talks further about the Ik Onkar, one God or Akal (Sikh term), akal (timelessness) that permeates all life). and which must be seen with 'the inward eye', or the 'heart', of a human being. In Sikhism there is no dogma, priests, monastics or yogis.


African spirituality

In some African contexts, spirituality is considered a belief system that guides the welfare of society and the people therein, and eradicates sources of unhappiness occasioned by evil. In traditional society prior to colonization and extensive introduction to Christianity or Islam, religion was the strongest element in society influencing the thinking and actions of the people. Hence spirituality was a sub-domain of religion. Despite the rapid social, economic and political changes of the last century, traditional religion remains the essential background for many African people. And that religion is a communal given, not an individual choice. Religion gives all of life its meaning and provides ground for action. Each person is "a living creed of his religion." There is no concern for spiritual matters apart from ones physical and communal life. Life continues after death but remains focused on pragmatic family and community matters.


Contemporary spirituality

The term ''spiritual'' has frequently become used in contexts in which the term ''religious'' was formerly employed. Contemporary spirituality is also called "post-traditional spirituality" and "
New Age New Age is a range of spiritual or religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, religious text, texts, shrine, sanctified p ...
spirituality". Hanegraaf makes a distinction between two "New Age" movements: New Age in a restricted sense, which originated primarily in mid-twentieth century England and had its roots in Theosophy (Blavatskian), Theosophy and anthroposophy, and "New Age" in a general sense, which emerged in the later 1970s Those who speak of spirituality outside of religion often define themselves as ''spiritual but not religious'' and generally believe in the existence of different "spiritual paths", emphasizing the importance of finding one's own individual path to spirituality. According to one 2005 poll, about 24% of the United States population identifies itself as "spiritual but not religious". Lockwood draws attention to the variety of spiritual experience in the contemporary Western culture, West:
The new Western spiritual landscape, characterised by consumerism and choice abundance, is scattered with novel religious manifestations based in psychology and the Human Potential Movement, each offering participants a pathway to the Self.


Characteristics

Modern spirituality centers on the worldview, "deepest values and meanings by which people live".Philip Sheldrake, ''A Brief History of Spirituality'', Wiley-Blackwell 2007 pp. 1–2 It often embraces the idea of an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality. It envisions an Involution (philosophy), inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his or her being. Not all modern notions of spirituality embrace transcendental ideas. Secular spirituality emphasizes humanistic ideas on moral character (qualities such as love, compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, responsibility, harmony, and a concern for others). These are aspects of Life (disambiguation), life and human experience which go beyond a purely materialist view of the world without necessarily accepting belief in a supernatural reality or any divine being. Nevertheless, many humanists (e.g. Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre) who clearly value the non-material, communal and virtuous aspects of life reject this usage of the term "spirituality" as being overly-broad (i.e. it effectively amounts to saying "everything and anything that is good and virtuous is ''necessarily'' spiritual"). In 1930 Russell, a self-described agnostic renowned as an atheist, wrote "... one's ego is no very large part of the world. The man who can centre his thoughts and hopes upon something transcending self can find a certain peace in the ordinary troubles of life which is impossible to the pure egoist." Similarly, Aristotle – one of the first known Western thinkers to demonstrate that morality, virtue and goodness can be derived without appealing to supernatural forces – argued that "men create Gods in their own image" (not the other way around). Moreover, theistic and atheistic critics alike dismiss the need for the "secular spirituality" label on the basis that it appears to be nothing more than obscurantism in that: * the term "spirit" is commonly taken as denoting the existence of unseen / otherworldly / life-giving forces; and * words such as "morality", "philanthropy" and "humanism" already efficiently and succinctly describe the prosocial-orientation and civility that the phrase "secular spirituality" is meant to convey but without risking confusion that one is referring to something supernatural. Although personal well-being, both physical and Emotional well-being, psychological, is said to be an important aspect of modern spirituality, this does not imply spirituality is ''essential'' to achieving happiness (e.g
see
. Free-thinkers who reject notions that the numinous/non-material is important to living well can be just as happy as more spiritually-oriented individuals
see
Contemporary proponents of spirituality may suggest that spirituality develops inner peace and forms a foundation for happiness. For example, meditation and similar practices are suggested to help the practitioner cultivate her/his introspection, inner life and character. Ellison and Fan (2008) assert that spirituality ''causes'' a wide array of positive health outcomes, including "morale, happiness, and life satisfaction.". However, Schuurmans-Stekhoven (2013) actively attempted to replicate this research and found more "mixed" results. Nevertheless, spirituality has played a central role in some self-help movements such as Alcoholics Anonymous: Such spiritually-informed treatment approaches have been challenged as pseudoscience.


Spiritual experience

Spiritual experiences plays a central role in modern spirituality. Both western and Asian authors have popularised this notion. Important early-20th century Western writers who studied the phenomenon of spirituality, and their works, include William James, ''The Varieties of Religious Experience'' (1902) and Rudolph Otto, especially ''The Idea of the Holy'' (1917) James' notions of "spiritual experience" had a further influence on the modernist streams in Asian traditions, making them even further recognisable for a western audience. William James popularized the use of the term "religious experience" in his ''The Varieties of Religious Experience''. He has also influenced the understanding of mysticism as a distinctive experience which allegedly grants knowledge. Wayne Proudfoot traces the roots of the notion of "religious experience" further back to the German theologian
Friedrich Schleiermacher Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (; November 21, 1768 – February 12, 1834) was a German Reformed Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major ...
(1768–1834), who argued that religion is based on a ''feeling'' of the Infinite, the infinite. Schleiermacher used the idea of "religious experience" to defend religion against the growing scientific and secular critique. Many scholars of religion, of whom William James was the most influential, adopted the concept. Major Asian influences on contemporary spirituality have included
Swami Vivekananda Swami Vivekananda (; 12 January 1863 – 4 July 1902), born Narendranath Datta (), was an Indian Hindu Hindus () are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism Hind ...

Swami Vivekananda
(1863–1902) and D.T. Suzuki. (1870–1966) Vivekananda popularised a modern Syncretism, syncretic Hinduism, in which an emphasis on personal experience replaced the authority of scriptures. Suzuki had a major influence on the popularisation of Zen in the United States, Zen in the west and popularized the idea of Enlightenment (spiritual), enlightenment as insight into a timeless, transcendent reality. Other influences came through Paul Brunton's ''A Search in Secret India'' (1934), which introduced Ramana Maharshi (1879–1950) and Meher Baba (1894–1969) to a western audience. Spiritual experiences can include being connected to a larger reality, yielding a more comprehensive self; joining with other individuals or the human community; with nature or the cosmos; or with the Divinity, divine realm.


Spiritual practices

Kees Waaijman discerns four forms of spiritual practices: # Somatic practices, especially deprivation and diminishment. Deprivation aims to purify the body. Diminishment concerns the repulsement of ego-oriented impulses. Examples include fasting and poverty. # Psychological practices, for example meditation. # Social practices. Examples include the practice of obedience and communal ownership, reforming ego-orientedness into other-orientedness. # Spiritual. All practices aim at purifying ego-centeredness, and direct the abilities at the divine reality. Spiritual practices may include meditation, mindfulness, prayer, the contemplation of sacred texts, ethical development, Dalai Lama, ''Ethics for the New Millennium'', NY: Riverhead Books, 1999. and spiritual retreats in a convent. Love and/or compassion are often described as the mainstay of spiritual development. Within spirituality is also found "a common emphasis on the value of thoughtfulness, tolerance for breadth and practices and beliefs, and appreciation for the insights of other religious communities, as well as other sources of authority within the social sciences."


Science


Relation to science

Since the Science in the Age of Enlightenment, scientific revolution of the 18th-century Enlightenment, the relationship of science to religion and to spirituality has developed in complex ways. Historian John Hedley Brooke describes wide variations: Brooke has proposed that the currently held popular notion of antagonisms between science and religion has historically originated with "thinkers with a social or political axe to grind" rather than with the natural philosophers themselves. Though physical and biological scientists today see no need for
supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the laws of nature.https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/supernatural By definition, a supernatural manifestation or event requires a violation of physical law belie ...

supernatural
explanations to describe reality, some scientists continue to regard science and spirituality as complementary, not contradictory, and are willing to debate, rather than simply classifying spirituality and science as non-overlapping magisteria. A few religious leaders have shown openness to modern science and its methods. The 14th Dalai Lama, for example, has proposed that if a scientific analysis conclusively showed certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then the claims must be abandoned and the findings of science accepted.


Quantum mysticism

During the twentieth century the relationship between science and spirituality has been influenced both by Freudian psychology, which has accentuated the boundaries between the two areas by accentuating individualism and secularism, and by developments in particle physics, which reopened the debate about Relationship between religion and science, complementarity between scientific and religious discourse and rekindled for many an interest in holistic conceptions of reality. These conceptions were championed by New Age spiritualists in a type of quantum mysticism that they claim justifies their spiritual beliefs, though quantum mechanics, quantum physicists themselves on the whole reject such attempts as being pseudoscience, pseudoscientific.


Scientific research


Health and well-being

Various studies (most originating from North America) have reported a positive correlation between spirituality and mental well-being in both healthy people and those encountering a range of physical illnesses or psychological disorders. Although spiritual individuals tend to be optimistic, report greater social support, and experience higher intrinsic Meaning of life, meaning in life, strength, and inner peace, whether the correlation represents a causal link remains contentious. Both supporters and opponents of this claim agree that past statistical findings are difficult to interpret, in large part because of the ongoing disagreement over how spirituality should be defined and measured. There is also evidence that an agreeable/positive temperament and/or a tendency toward sociability (which all correlate with spirituality) might actually be the key psychological features that predispose people to subsequently adopt a spiritual orientation and that these characteristics, not spiritually ''per se'', add to well-being. There is also some suggestion that the benefits associated with spirituality and religiosity might arise from being a member of a close-knit community. Social bonds available via secular sources (i.e., not unique to spirituality or faith-based groups) might just as effectively raise well-being. In sum, spirituality may not be the "active ingredient" (i.e., past association with psychological well-being measures might reflect a reverse causation or effects from other variables that correlate with spirituality), and that the effects of agreeableness, conscientiousness, or virtue – personality traits common in many non-spiritual people yet known to be slightly more common among the spiritual – may better account for spirituality's apparent correlation with mental health and social support.


Intercessionary prayer

Masters and Spielmans conducted a meta-analysis of all the available and reputable research examining the effects of distant Intercession, intercessory prayer. They found no discernible health effects from being prayed for by others. In fact, one large and scientifically rigorous study by Herbert Benson and colleagues revealed that intercessory prayer had no effect on recovery from cardiac arrest, but patients told people were praying for them actually had an ''increased risk'' of medical complications. Knowing others are praying for you could actually be medically detrimental.


Spiritual care in health care professions

In the health-care professions there is growing interest in "spiritual care", to complement the medical-technical approaches and to improve the outcomes of medical treatments. Puchalski et al. argue for "compassionate systems of care" in a spiritual context.


Spiritual experiences

Neuroscientists have examined brain functioning during reported spiritual experiences finding that certain neurotransmitters and specific areas of the brain are involved. Moreover, experimenters have also successfully induced spiritual experiences in individuals by administering Psychoactive drug, psychoactive agents known to elicit euphoria and perceptual distortions. Conversely, religiosity and spirituality can also be ''dampened'' by electromagnetic stimulation of the brain. These results have motivated some leading theorists to speculate that spirituality may be a benign subtype of psychosis
see
– benign in the sense that the same aberrant sensory perceptions that those suffering clinical psychoses evaluate as distressingly incongruent and inexplicable are instead interpreted by spiritual individuals as positive (personal and meaningful transcendent experiences).


Measurement

Considerable debate persists about — among other factors — spirituality's relation to religion, the number and content of its dimensions, its relation to concepts of well-being, and its universality. (ref) A number of research groups have developed instruments which attempt to measure spirituality quantitatively, including the Spiritual Transcendence Scale (STS), the Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness/Spirituality (BMMRS) and the Daily Spiritual Experiences Scale. MacDonald et al. gave an "Expressions of Spirituality Inventory" (ESI-R) measuring five dimensions of spirituality to over 4000 persons across eight countries. The study results and interpretation highlighted the complexity and challenges of measurement of spirituality cross-culturally.


See also

*
Anthroposophy Anthroposophy is a philosophy founded in the early 20th century by the esotericist Rudolf Steiner that postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world, accessible to human experience. Followers of anthrop ...
* Esotericism * Glossary of spirituality terms * ietsism * Interspirituality *
New Age New Age is a range of spiritual or religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, religious text, texts, shrine, sanctified p ...
* Numinous * Outline of spirituality * Perennial philosophy * Reason * Relationship between religion and science * Religion * Spiritual intelligence * Sacred–profane dichotomy * Secular spirituality * Self-actualization * Self-help * Skepticism * Spiritual but not religious * Spiritism * Sublime (philosophy) * Syncretism * Theosophy (Blavatskian), Theosophy


Notes


References


Sources


Published sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * . In * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Web-sources


Further reading

* Downey, Michael. ''Understanding Christian Spirituality''. New York: Paulist Press, 1997. * * Charlene Spretnak,
The Spiritual Dynamic in Modern Art : Art History Reconsidered, 1800 to the Present
', 1986. * Eck, Diana L. ''A New Religious America''. San Francisco: Harper, 2001. * ** * Schmidt, Leigh Eric. ''Restless Souls : The Making of American Spirituality''. San Francisco: Harper, 2005. *


External links

*
Sociology of Religion Resources

Sociology of Religion Resources
Spiritual life concept] {{Authority control Spirituality, Belief Metaphysics of mind New Age Philosophy of mind