What Is Spirituality? How To Live A More Spiritual Life

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What Is Spirituality? How To Live A More Spiritual Life
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Spirituality is a pathway to a life connected with your higher power.

In this absolute mess of a year, it can be comforting to look to something higher than us for answers. Spirituality has long been a helpful way people sought control over their own lives.

What is spirituality?

Spirituality concerns our natural intuition and relationship with divinity.

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While you don’t necessarily have to be religious to be spiritual, religion and other belief systems have long been a way for us to seek guidance from a higher power.

What is spirituality, (according to experts):

Christian Puchalski, MD, Director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health, says that spirituality is “the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose..."

According to  Dr. Maya Spencer from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or a sense of belief that there is something greater than oneself.

Spirituality explores universal themes: love, compassion, and life after death. Dr. Spencer stresses that the spiritual journey, more than anything, involves healing. Spirituality affirms the ego — not in an arrogant way, just that the journey helps secure self-esteem, self-worth, and builds on the capacity for love and generosity.

Research conducted by the University of West Georgia titled The Mystical Child suggests that spirituality may come naturally to children through their engagement with their unique wisdom, imagination, and wonder with the world.

So, according to experts, you may be leading a more spiritual life than you realize.

While religion and spirituality can overlap, spirituality is often an individual undertaking, a solo relationship with divinity.

This isn’t to say one is better than the other, rather religion and spirituality can sometimes serve different purposes.

Religion focuses more on a set of organized beliefs and practices, shared by a community or a group. While these beliefs can help the individual, the focus is still on the collective, on the group.

Often spirituality gets roped in with institutionalized religion, which can often scare people away from potentially finding fulfillment in places their day-to-day life isn’t providing for them.

So how can you begin to live a more spiritual life?

Spirituality and finding a fulfilling spiritual journey can seem daunting at first large, especially if the subject matter is unfamiliar to you.

But spirituality mainly focuses on three things: kindness, wisdom, and generosity. As long as you keep those values in mind, leading a more spiritual life actually can be very simple.

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Here's how to live a more spiritual life:

Make a list of life fulfillment goals.

Ultimately, what do you want out of life? This might seem like an incredibly hard question to answer, but actually, for most people, it is relatively straightforward: most just want to be happy and a good person.

But again, easier said than done! What is happiness? What is a good person? These seem like lofty goals, but having a physical list can make these aspirations feel more achievable day-to-day.

Your goals can be “I want to be happy,” or “I want to be a good person,” but the steps you take to reach those goals can start small.

Your life goals shouldn’t be about finding that next promotion, or getting a hot new partner — they should focus on “self-love, self-compassion, self-acceptance, self-respect, self-appreciation, and self-gratitude,” according to Jacqueline Pirtle, a spiritual life coach, in her book 365 Days of Happiness: Because Happiness is a Piece of Cake!

So as long as you keep those values in mind, there are no wrong answers for what your goals can achieve.

Start small.

“I want to treat myself better by allowing myself a day of relaxation every week,” or “I want to show my mom I love her more,” or “I want to be a better friend to others.”

Trust yourself and your instincts.

We naturally reach powers higher than us to help us out in times of difficulty. Sometimes when bad things happen to us, it is hard to remember that it is not just us alone against the universe.

It is important to trust your instincts because it shows the universe that you trust it, and are opening yourself up to its guidance. This is to say, this is not an invitation to throw yourself at every self-destructive impulse you have.

Trusting your gut is trusting your intuition and your heart, rather than your brain. Often opportunities, happiness, joy, are squandered away by our own self-hatred, our anger, or our own doubt.

So while the impulse to overthink every good thing in your life is tempting, learn to slowly trust the first pull of butterflies or the first signs of happiness.

Actively choose optimism, love, and respect.

More importantly, spirituality is about making choices. Sometimes people resent religion and spirituality because they think it infringes on their free will, but this doesn’t always have to be the case.

Spirituality is about consciously choosing good, kindness, and wisdom, over easier options.

Everyday terrible things happen, and every day there will be things that tax you mentally and physically. It is easy to give into more destructive impulses, give in to anger and frustration.

Katie DePaola, the CEO of Inner Glow Circle, a woman’s leadership mastermind and coach training program, states to find inner peace, it is important to “tune out the noise.”

“Most of us are just afraid of feeling. Allow yourself to express whatever exists in the moment.” DePaola explains.

What is easy is often not what is the most fulfilling. Falling quickly to anger and impatience will quickly decenter you, and push you into a more short-term, survival mode type of thinking.

It takes incredible strength to be a good person. But a good thing life gives you plenty of opportunities to build up stamina in this regard.

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Jessica Xing is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture, relationships, and media.