Spirituality is a big word, and it means something different for everyone. There are many different ways to be a spiritual person.
You can be a spiritual person in and outside of religion. Spirituality is about recognizing and experiencing the life force that connects you with everything animate and inanimate. It connects you with a greater power that humans have given many names.
If you are part of a faith community, you might refer to this higher power as God, Allah, Goddess, Mohammad, Jesus, Buddha, and many more.
Religion vs spirituality
The major religions of the world have much to teach us about spirituality. No religion is better than another; they are just different.
Each one came into being to help people live joyful, meaningful, and purposeful lives. People who inspired the great religions of the world saw a need to build more caring and just communities.
What does it mean for you to be a spiritual person?
Religion is a powerful source
Religion has done great things, such as ending slavery, providing education for all, standing up for civil rights, bringing down the iron curtain, and more.
Also, terrible things happen in the name of religion, such as the crusade, antisemitism, promotion of slavery, division, extremist ideology, Islamaphobia, and Christian nationalism.
Learn your faith tradition if you have one
If you are part of a faith tradition, find a person who can help you to learn your tradition, letting go of what no longer serves you and practicing traditions that give you life. Each religion has a different lens to experience spirituality.
In the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity), a good guide would be to follow the great commandment to love God with all your heart, be kind to yourself, and love your neighbor as yourself.
Moving into the secular world
As much of the world has become more secular, spirituality has taken on a life beyond the world's religions. I am going to focus on finding spirituality outside of organized religion.
The irony is that many practices used in the secular world have origins in religion.
How would you describe your understanding of what it means to be a spiritual person to a friend?
Here are 8 ways to find your spiritual path
1. Slow Down
An excellent place to start is to slow down enough so you can pay attention to what is going on within you and around you.
Whether you are walking, sitting, or running, notice the sensations in your body. How tight are your muscles? How open does your chest feel? Are you aware of your emotions? Is your mind quiet?
The Spirit communicates with us in many ways. The Spirit speaks through our bodies, hearts, and heads. We need to clear the clutter so we can hear divine wisdom. This is the spiritual life at its best.
Mediation is an effective way to quiet your mind. When you clear the chatter in your head, it is easier to pay attention to the body's subtle and sometimes loud messages.
It helps you to connect with your heart, enabling you to feel your emotions as they happen.
It keeps your mind receptive to hearing wisdom from your higher power. It opens you to unexpected revelations that will guide your life journey.
Miracles surround you if you only pay attention. Discover the gift you are to the world. What do you notice when you observe the world through the spiritual lens?
Are you yearning for something in your life? Take the time to imagine how you can make your dream a reality. Maybe the time has come to act.
Isn't it amazing how you started life as a tiny spec and grew into who you are today? Look around at those you love, your pets and wild creatures, to see the miracle of life.
When you notice the extraordinary in the ordinary, it helps you see the world with new eyes.
The more you can experience the wonder of life, the more grateful you will be. The more grateful you are, the harder it is to look down upon others. Seeing the spark of goodness in all people, especially those who make you angry, becomes more accessible.
4. Look deeply into the eyes of someone you care about
Having a deep spiritual connection with another person reminds you how important other people are to you, whether they be friends, family, or strangers.
If you look deep into the eyes of a friend or family member will connect you in ways that no words can describe. You will be able to recognize the divine in another person, which reflects the light on your divinity.
What kind of music touches your soul? Music can take you places that no words could ever do; this is the spiritual realm.
Choose music that gets you in touch with your body. This music might have the strong beat of the heart (base) connecting you with your own heart.
Music that warms your heart opens your heart to love others. Maybe it is a love song or a song that reminds you of good times from the past. Perhaps certain music and songs inspire courage in you to stand with those pushed to the fringes.
6. Creative expression
You are a creative person. You may have been told the opposite, and this is a lie. When the Spirit works through us, you can not help but be creative.
There are many forms of creative expression. Discover what feeds your soul. What brings out the joy in your heart? Maybe it is painting, drawing, ceramics, cooking, gardening, dancing, photography, graphic arts, etc. What opens the door for you to the spiritual realm?
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The Spirit will help you through your creativity to find a joy deep in your heart that will help you thrive despite life's ups and downs.
Finding a community of people to support and encourage you in your spiritual growth is essential. Now with technology, there are so many ways to connect.
Look for a group you can trust to walk with you on your spiritual journey. It could be a meditation group, a book club, or a group that supports a spiritual practice such as breathwork or dance.
8. Radical gratitude
Practicing gratitude is essential for spiritual growth. When you stop taking life for granted and realize how much you have to be thankful for in life.
Try keeping a gratitude journal; it will help keep your heart open. It will remind you that you are part of something much greater.
Ultimately, you will feel a deeper connection with all of life. You will not doubt that you are part of something greater.
Your inner wisdom will guide you on the journey, helping you know if you are keeping on the path and what to do if you feel you are losing your way.
Let the spirit guide you through your life, guiding you to places you never dreamed you would go. You will begin to appreciate the miracle and the fantastic mystery you are. It is the spiritual path that leads us into relationships that nurture us and the world.
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Roland Legge is an author, Certified Spiritual Life Coach, and teacher of the Enneagram. He helps people connect to their inner selves and find alignment with their highest purpose and values.