What is Spirituality?
Spirituality means different things to different people. On this page, some of the world’s most spiritual people talk about what it means to them.
"In its simplest definition, ‘spirituality’ means knowing how to live with meaning and purpose," Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University.
"Realise deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life,” Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment.
"Spirituality is not something that can be defined, it is not something that can be answered. It is something that you have to explore," Osho.
"Our own life has to be our message," Thich Naht Hanh.
"Given the scale of life in the cosmos, one human life is no more than a tiny blip. Each one of us is a just visitor to this planet, a guest, who will only stay for a limited time. What greater folly could there be than to spend this short time alone, unhappy or in conflict with our companions? Far better, surely, to use our short time here in living a meaningful life, enriched by our sense of connection with others and being of service to them," The Dalai Lama.
"At the core of spirituality is the need to feel and express love and compassion for everyone, with the understanding that we are all part of a greater reality," Amma (the "hugging" guru).
"Spirit is an invisible force made visible in all life," Maya Angelou, Wouldn't Take Nothing For My Journey Now.
"We all see our lives, and/or the space wherein we live our lives, as having a certain moral/spiritual shape. Somewhere, in some activity, or condition, lies a fullness, a richness; that is, in that place (activity or condition), life is fuller, richer, deeper, more worthwhile, more admirable, more what it should be. This is perhaps a place of power: we often experience this as deeply moving or inspiring," Charles Taylor, A Secular Age.
"Spirituality, community, and justice constitute the living tree of lives of depth, joy, and meaning. Spirituality is our roots – the connectedness with the ground of our being that nurtures us. It is our support and our stability. We grow spiritually by deepening. Community is the wood of the tree. It is the solid collection in which we may be protected and supported. Amid the collection of branches, we find relationship and are able to reach both toward one another and outwards. And the leaves, flowers, and fruit of our tree of religion may be identified with justice – with our reaching out to others and offering of beauty and nurturance to the world. It is through flowers and fruit – through justice – that seeds of a brighter future are generated. We must recognise the essential interconnections between these aspects of the abundant life. The roots are fed not only by the ground, but by the leaves and woody parts of the tree. Without community and justice, spirituality weakens and eventually dies. Only in wholeness and integrity – with a balanced life that includes spirituality, community and justice – will we truly flourish," Andrew Pakula, The London Spirituality Network.
"In my vision the collective unconscious is God; the conscious is man as individual; and the personal unconscious is the interface between them …I have come to believe and have tried to demonstrate that people’s capacity to love, and hence their will to grow, is nurtured not only by the love of their parents during childhood but throughout their lives by grace, or God’s love. This is a powerful force external to their consciousness which operates through the agency of their unconscious as well as through the agency of loving persons other than their parents and through additional ways which we do not understand," M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled.
"Spirituality and spiritual life give us the strength to love," bell hooks.
"Spirituality, for me, is everyone’s natural connection with the wonder and energy of life ...and the instinct to explore that experience and its meaning," William Bloom.
"Spirituality is not about beliefs - it is about the way we live and conduct our day-to-day lives," Satish Kumar, No Destination.
"The spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it," Henri J. M. Nouwen.
"Since the 1960s increasing numbers of people have turned to spirituality rather than religion as a source of solace and to find sanctuary from the busy consumer world. People are eager to express their spirituality and to promote spirituality in society …What people mean when they use the word ‘spirituality’ varies enormously. When somebody says that they are spiritual this could mean they enjoy meditation or that they like to go for solitary walks. Or it could mean that they appreciate great art or that they love music. Above all, it usually means that they believe in the infinite value of human love," Abbot Christopher Jamison, Finding Sanctuary.
"Spirituality is an awareness that there is something far greater than we are, something that created this universe, created life and that we are an authentic, important, significant part of it, and can contribute to its evolution," Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.
"Our consiousness is not actually yours or mine, it is the consiousness of humanity evolved, grown, accumulated through many, many centuries...when one realises this our responsibility becomes extraordinarily important," J. Krishnamurti.