What Is Genuine Spirituality?

Recently, this tweet from @paulocoelho appeared in my tweet stream:

Spirituality is not only praying and meditating. It is anything we do with enthusiasm.”

Almost everyone loved this!  But my alarm bells went off.

I didn’t know anything about Paulo Coelho at the time.  Yes, I’m out of it.  I’ve since learned he’s a prolific writer with over a million twitter followers.  Not knowing the man, this clearly isn’t a comment about him, his work, or his philosophy.  I’m sure he’s contributed positively to many people’s lives.

It was just this particular tweet that didn’t sit well with me.

Among all the enthusiastic retweets, there was a lone questioner:

@ywhtvr: “Is that so? Hmm..”

Of course, I agree there’s more to spirituality than prayer and meditation. Neither prayer nor meditation are a guarantee of true spirituality, either.

But is spirituality anything – like enthusiasm – that we suddenly decide it to be?  Might there be consequences to defining spirituality however we like?

Food for Thought

As food for thought, here are two other definitions of spirituality.

The Dalai Lama says,

“Spirituality I take to be concerned with those qualities of the human spirit – such as love and compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, a sense of responsibility, a sense of harmony – which bring happiness to both self and others.” – Ethics for New Millennium, page 22

This definition was written for the public.  I expect the Dalai Lama’s definition of spirituality would be more complex if he were speaking to Buddhist scholars, for example.

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche offered these thoughts on a genuine approach to spirituality,

“We cannot con the existing experience of life; we cannot con our experiences or change them by having some unrealistic belief that things are going to be okay, that in the end everything is going to be beautiful. If we take that approach, then things are not going to be okay. For the very reason that we expect things to be good and beautiful, they won’t be. In a genuine approach to spirituality, we are not looking for a kick, for inspiration, or bliss. Instead, we are digging into life’s irritations, diving into the irritations and making a home out of that. Then the irritations become a source of great joy, transcendental joy, because there is no pain involved at all. – Crazy Wisdom, pages 42 to 43

Spirituality is very personal.  I’m not suggesting that we blindly follow dogma or highly esteemed teachers without engaging in our own process of inner investigation.

At the same time, when we start creating our own definitions of spirituality, isn’t there a danger of watering down spirituality so it just becomes a support for ego and further confusion?  Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche called this spiritual materialism.

Lately, I’ve seen too many hip bloggers spouting feel-good spirituality all mixed up with their marketing and success schemes.  Of course, their intentions are good, but it’s easy to get confused.  It really makes me wonder if spirituality will become just another marketing package.  Or maybe it already has.

What do you think?  Do you agree that spirituality is anything we do with enthusiasm?  Do you think there’s a danger of watering down spirituality in these times?

Thank you for reading.  If you liked this article, please share the link with others.  And I would love to hear from you in the comments.Thanks so much for your support!  Warmest wishes, Sandra

Comments

  1. says

    I believe ‘spirituality’ is anything we say it is. It’s definitions are as personalized as our thumb prints and change as we grow into ourselves. I don’t think there really is anything to water down. To me, that judgement alone misses the whole point. That’s why, when I’m asked to describe my work, I try not to use the word. For me there is no separation between spirituality and living. Living fully and wholly. However, how I experience life is different than most. I see no difference between things ‘of spirit’ (however defined) and other components of life. I give no more weight to a pretty crystal than I do the chair that supports me as I sit and type this. But, that’s just me.

    I do, however, see Sr. Coelho point quite clearly, particularly as I view ‘enthusiasm’–as inspiration (whether Divinely inspired or not!). Living an inspired life, living enthusiastically, living fully & with gusto! How better to know your connection to whatever/however you call/define ‘spirit’!

    Peace in!
    ingrid

    • says

      Hello Ingrid,

      Thanks for sharing your hit on spirituality. I agree that our experience of spirituality is something that changes and grows. Ideally, there would be no separation between spirituality and living if we fully embodied our spirituality. I appreciate how you weave the element of enthusiasm into your sense of spirituality. Thanks for taking a moment to comment. I really appreciate it.

  2. says

    I think that everyone has to define what their spirituality is, or what it includes. No two spiritual systems are ever exactly identical. Even within the same religion or philosophy, there are always hundreds of different interpretations and beliefs…many of them contradictory to each other. Every person decides what they believe for themselves. Everyone says (in essence): “this is spiritual, this is not.”

    I think it’s very dangerous for anyone, especially spiritual leaders, to try and define a general spirituality for everyone. At a very basic, core level, spirituality is a definition of what is right and wrong. Who are we to decide what is right for anyone else?

    As for the notion that “anything we do with enthusiasm” is spirituality, that might be true for Paulo Coelho, but it certainly isn’t true for everyone. I *think* what he means is that whenever he finds himself feeling very enthusiastic about something, then he feels close to god. For him, enthusiasm brings him closer to the divine, and so he feels it is spiritual. Wrong of him to generalize that to everyone, though.

    • says

      Hi Jay,

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful words. It’s true that there are many different interpretations and understandings in every religious systems. In essence I agree with you. It can indeed be dangerous for a spiritual leader to define spirituality for everyone if it’s in a rigid and autocratic way. At the same time, isn’t it to the role of spiritual leaders to be our guide? In that context, it’s their very job and responsibility to paint a picture, give a taste, and even use words, as inadequate as they are to describe the unknowable, to point us in the right direction. So I don’t think it’s automatically dangerous for spiritual leaders to offer definitions of spirituality, but it could be. In the end though, I agree, we each need to look within to realize our true essence.

      Right and wrong are tricky indeed! We can’t just throw them out the window altogether, it seems to me. There is certainly a commonality about right and wrong in most spiritual traditions that can be a helpful guide, but again these can be taking to the wrong extremes too.

      Thanks for sharing your understanding of Coehlo’s words. It resonates more in that light.

      I really appreciate what you’ve shared here.

  3. says

    I don’t agree with that statement at all. Except if the enthusiasm comes from a deep place within…, from love and compassion. To me spirituality is a mind training (with the help of meditation)…, a path where we attempt to see the ego (fear conditioned mind), and choose not to follow it, but instead connect with our source -spirit, soul, light, love… It doesn’t surprise me that spirituality is used by the ego! The ego has so many aspects and it is quite clever too…, most of the time the connection to fear is not obvious at all. In fact many ego aspects are very much celebrated in our culture, such as competition and winning for example. Great question!

    • says

      Hi Maya,

      I believe you’ve expressed a very important point: the way that delusion can set in and not be obvious at all. It can even appear in the form of what seems to be spirituality but may turn out to be ego-grasping. Its’ true that ego is very much celebrated in our culture, yet low-self esteem seems to run rampant. It’s such an irony. Mind-training is a big part of my spiritual path and eroding away ego is also another important aspect. I’m glad you added those elements to the conversation. Thank you so much for you comment.

    • says

      Maya
      What you have written here expesses what my response is to the quote as well. “It doesn’t surprise me that spirituality is used by the ego!”

  4. says

    There are 15 thousand entries for “definition of spirituality” on Google. Doesn’t that emphasize your point? Too many folks are putting their own definition on a concept that relates to the essence of our being and our soul.

    Is spirituality the premise that we regard a human being as made up of more than physical matter, but of something immaterial, something invisible, something beyond our present knowledge? If so, it cannot be manipulated by our external needs.

    • says

      Bob,

      I really like your essential point. This seems to be at the core of what we are unfolding > something immaterial, invisible, and difficult to describe in words. We can try to manipulate it, but our attempts will only backfire! That can be part of the learning process too. Thanks for this perspective.

  5. says

    I do not agree with that definition either. Enthusiasm could be part of spirituality, sure, but doing something with it is not spirituality by itself. I could do horrific, very non-spiritual things with great enthusiasm.

    Perhaps we are being too literal here?

    I agree there is a very real danger…and it is already happening….of the vending machine approach to spirituality and mindfulness and, of course, people looking to cash in on it. Unfortunately, I feel, such practices cheapen it and degrade its worth to us all. It becomes just a buzz word and much less credible.

    • says

      Hi Debbie,

      I agree with you, and I too suspect that Coehlo’s true meaning does go beyond the strictly literal sense of the word “enthusiasm.” It just might be difficult to convey in the limited space of the tweet!

      The “vending machine approach to spirituality” – that’s a perfect description of the potential danger and distraction. Thanks for capturing it so essentially.

  6. says

    The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek entheos, which means God within. Being enthusiastic means that your authentic self, your Spirit, is overflowing with joy. :D

    If that’s not the essence of spirituality . . . what is?

    God is the breath within the breath. God dwells within me as me.

    • says

      Hi Nancy,

      Thanks for this original definition of “enthusiasm.” I see that Meriam-Webster defines it as a: a. belief in special revelations of the Holy Spirit b : religious fanaticism. As Paul Coehlo is a Roman Catholic and a wordsmith, perhaps (a) was his intended meaning, which is actually quite beautiful. However, that’s certainly not the common meaning of the word today, which is something done with zeal or fervor and does not necessarily have a spiritual connotation. I would suspect that most people reading that tweet are not familiar with the original definition of “enthusiasm” and were understanding it in its common usage form. It’s great to have the background and see how far deeper meaner, which many people – including myself – missed entirely. Thanks for sharing all this with us.

      • says

        We see the world behind our eyes ~ we look at the world through the clouded lens of our own experiences. What is right for one will not be right for all.

        To progress on our spiritual journey, we need not play “traffic cop” for others. It is not our job to ensure that others are on the right path . . . that is their job. They will bloom when they are ready and not a moment before.

        Those who need to understand the root of the word “enthusiasm” will be guided by the Spirit within to “bump into” that definition . . . when the time is right.

        We are engaged in Genuine Spirituality when we stop looking over our shoulders to see what others are doing and begin to trust Spirit to light our way . . . as OUR path unfolds before us.

        • says

          That’s another interesting definition of Genuine Spirituality.

          I find thought-provoking questions, dialog, and debate can be a healthy way to deepen our understanding. I know it helps me to grapple with ideas like these and to hear other points of view. This discussion has expanded my view.

          I don’t think anyone here is trying to play “traffic cop” for others. They may simply not want others to be led astray due to their heart-felt concern. Expressing our own understanding or confusion, can sometimes help others on their path. It seems to me that can be part of the “bump into” process too.

  7. Edith says

    Thank you for these words Sandra. What you have written expresses an attitude to life which lies very close to my heart. Spirituality is not about feeling good, or ‘following my star’; it’s about getting down and dirty and living my life as it presents itself here and now, no matter what is emerging. Sometimes it feels good to my ego, lots of times it doesn’t. Either way, it’s irelevant whether I am enthused or otherwise, (even while acknowledging that being in a good place makes verything so much easier!) I know what is needful in the moment, what is required and called for – presence, openness, awareness, mindfulness. This is spirituality. The rest is dressing.

    • says

      Well said, Edith > “…it’s about getting down and dirty and living my life as it presents itself here and now, no matter what is emerging.” I also see enthusiasm – in its commonly used form – as another passing mental state and not one to get attached to. These, I feel, are important considerations.

  8. says

    Great article Sandra…sometimes we must quiet our enthusiasm. Unbridled enthusiasm can get us into a mess, so I would say that alone gives us an idea. The two can combine, but enthusiasm alone cannot be the answer to our soul’s direction. Everything within the self-help arena is subject to marketing and manipulation, that is for certain.

    Blessings,
    Sandra

    • says

      Sandra,

      That’s a grounded perspective on enthusiasm! It’s another valuable perspective in this conversation. You are right, the self-help arena has always been subject to marketing and manipulation. I don’t know why it fazes me. I suppose there’s a certain naivete I haven’t fully abandoned. So nice to see you!

  9. Kristen Drake says

    The souls’ direction… I like that very much. It seems to me that the beginning of our spiritual growth has to do with really asking–what am I doing here? What’s the point? And tthen realizing that you are not the only person….Here! And I love Trungpa’s “digging into life’s irritations”. Couldn’t get more Here than that!
    Wonderful to be around you this way, Sandra.

    • says

      Hi Kristen,

      So nice to connect with you like this too! That’s such a key question and important element on the spiritual path for almost everyone. Thank you for connecting.

  10. says

    Sandra,
    To me the Dalai Lama is a very enthusiastic individual so I’m not sure that Coelho’s definition is that far off the mark. The people and doctrines that grab my attention are those that are imbued with happiness and joy. And I find it very hard to back enthusiasm out of the equation for happiness and joy. Any kind of spirituality that embraces a dour, lifeless or limited perspective just doesn’t ring true to me.Words are so inadequate describing and attempting to understand concepts like spirituality.
    Rileu

    • says

      Great point, Riley! The Dalai Lama’s positive demeanor is infections indeed! I think there’s something to what you’re saying for sure. I’ve also met extraordinary spiritual teachers that barely cracked a smile. It made me realize that different teachers have different qualities and present in different ways.

      You are so right that words are so inadequate in this discussion. Thanks for your thoughts.

  11. says

    Hi Sandra,

    Interesting topic! I feel that any thought, belief or philosophy is very much a product of its times. In certain eras, certain ideas are more important than in others as these ideas adapt to cope with the demands of the times. The Christianity and Islam of the medieval ages is not exactly the same as it is in our day and age. As such, it comes as no surprise that the definition of spirituality, if it can indeed be properly defined, will evolve with time.

    Complicating matters further, each of us are at different stages of our personal development. Just as the Dalai Lama whom you quoted and mused would have a different definition of spirituality for different people, we cannot expect everyone to appreciate the same ideas of spirituality.

    I can appreciate where Paulo Coelho is coming from when he says that spirituality is anything we do with enthusiasm. But he also mentions the prayer and meditation part so we have to see what he says as a whole. Different people are likely to take it differently.

    I feel that at the end of the day while it is important to be careful of definitions, there should be a degree of flexibility. Definitions all reflect a part or the whole truth, but it also has to be seen in context. As long as it is not a gross perversion of what spirituality should be, there is no need to be too rigid about definitions. As for spirituality being watered down, it depends on the people who the definition is for. At the end of the day, we know our levels of development best and can approach the teachers who are the levels that we are at before we advance higher. At each stage, our definition of spirituality will evolve.

    Thank you for sharing this thought provoking article! :)

    Irving the Vizier

    • says

      Irving,

      You always bring a unique perspective to the table, which I value so much! All the themes you present here are no less than brilliant.

      Yet another spin on the idea of spirituality when you consider how our views our shaped by the times. Your example is a good one. Are there any elements of spirituality that are timeless, I wonder?

      This is another significant point that each of us is in different stages of personal/spiritual development. Even within Buddhism, there is a progression of teachings at different levels so naturally this would vary among different traditions too.

      That’s another good point of looking at Coehlo’s words as a whole. However, he did say “everything” so that adds a particular flavor to his comment about enthusiasm.

      This is a balanced perspective taking into account both authenticity and flexibility.

      This is a very rich comment. You always show me new ways of looking at an issue. I am
      grateful for that!

      • says

        Well having been a huge history buff helped to shape my perspective. I was brought up Christian and I was fairly zealous about believing my views were right. But as I grew older and gained a greater awareness, I realized it was hard to say that only my point of view was right.

        I was also very interested in medieval times and looking at Christianity in a historical context. What I saw shook my faith then because there was so much politicking that went into deciding what was canon and non-canon. The Byzantines for example argued endlessly about definitions in Christianity and throughout its 1000 year history there were numerous councils that debated the nature of Christ and a host of other issues. The most famous was the 1st Council of Nicaea. What is striking is how power and motives played a huge part in determining what was right.

        That is just the bit on Orthodox Christianity. Then there is the schism with the Catholic West which led to a breaking point when the western powers sacked the Byzantine capital Constantinople during the 4th Crusade. In essence, they were both Christians, but differences of opinion made them enemies who distrusted each other. There was also the war against the Muslims during the medieval ages. Power and territorial gains aside, both sides strongly believed that their religious views were right.

        This is why I feel it is so dangerous to be insistent on only one point of view. For if views and ideas can change with time, then what is right, what is wrong and what are we truly fighting over? It may well be better to be more flexible and tolerant where we can. That is the best way to preserve peace and harmony.

  12. says

    Hi Sandra,

    I get where you’re coming from and I think I get where Mr. Coelho is coming from too. Often we speak of living life with an awareness, to be aware and conscious of the moment we are living in. When we live life in this way, it is very liberating and exciting too! Some view living like this as very spiritual so if we live with awareness, and are enthusiastic about whatever it is we’re doing…I can see where one would consider that spirituality.

    I like what Irving said. We need to be careful about applying a definition to spirituality. I mean, there are a few billion people on this planet and just as many definitions of spirituality.

    WOW Sandra! You really got us thinking with this post. Thanks for that!

  13. says

    Keith,

    I love that you get where we are both coming from! I like your explanation. It helps to open my mind more.

    I like to get people thinking. I’m honored that you see and appreciate that. Thank you so much. I’m grateful for your comment.

  14. says

    Darling Sandra,
    You have got me and all else thinking girl! Good for us :)
    I do kind of get where Paul Coelho is coming form with his statement, But I also agree that it can be misleading to many, who haven’t reached a certain stage in their spiritual journey.
    To me though, I can’t define spirituality “at all”…being a Spiritual Counselor myself, I feel that spirituality is so vast, so deep and so so profound that no amount of words or statements can define it. Its beyond definition….but not beyond feeling. When I counsel people, its more like being with them, helping them with their stage of progression. I don’t shove my definitions to them, rather I let them evolve “into” their own spirit and that loving space of authentic self, from which stage they can bloom.
    In today’s materialistic day and age, ‘happiness’ and ‘spirituality’ are words thrown around like its fashionable…and that is where the watering down part comes. Every person tries to define spirituality and KNOW exactly what it is….and expect incessantly for others to believe their definition. That’s next to impossible.
    Spirit is felt, not defined. Period.
    If only I had the words to describe what spirituality truly means to me…..*sigh* :)
    Love you lots and lots Sandra,
    Z~

    • says

      Hi Z ~

      I like to get people thinking. It’s a side of me that I will probably be embracing more!

      Yes, I agree that the essence of spirituality is beyond words for sure. I love the sense of space you create for people when you are supporting them through spiritual counseling. I don’t know why I’m always caught by surprise when people try to define and market spirituality. That’s just the naive part of myself that needs to simply see how things really are. I see there is this danger of “watering down” as you do too. But it’s just how things are and always have been to some degree because confusion exists in this world and within all of us to some degree. The sense that spirit is “felt” and “experienced” is far closer to my own understanding. Yet at the same time, ti’s not a feeling or an experience. It’s really impossible to pin down.

      Thanks for adding your special perspective. I love you lots too.

  15. says

    I wanted to let this one simmer awhile, so I enjoyed reading the article and the many thoughtful comments. I understand Coelho’s definition, but it’s also too cryptic for my preferences in the use of language to try and cage invisible powers with. I believe I also understand Rinpoche, but disagree that we “cannot con” ourselves about these things. Conning ourselves is one of the things humans do best, better than any other animal! If I were to discuss it with him, I expect he might alter that to say we “should not con”, and ought to accept existence and expectation in honesty, without assumption of result.

    Spirituality, as dear Zeenat says, is a big thing to attempt to define. What I understand best about spirituality is practice. So I’m going to attempt the unification of being and doing by continuing to practice reading, writing, thinking, singing, playing, and walking while being open and present to whatever appears in my path.

    • says

      Mike,

      You really underscore the problem with words (and limitations of twitter) when you point out how Coelho’s definition is too cryptic. Of course, you are right, we con ourselves all the time. That’s our usual state of being and Trungpa Rinpoche would thoroughly agree with you. I think what he’s saying is that if we want a genuine spirituality, we cannot con ourselves.

      You have a perfect solution for getting out of our head and into our being! Bravo.

  16. says

    Great discussion here! Spirituality is so complex, because many will confuse it with organized religion and for some, including me, religion carries with it very conflicting emotions. Being a gay man, religion has been used to oppress and spread hatred against people like me.

    But I am reminded that these are people, and as you say, the ego is everywhere and it will take the shape of anything, it will cling even to spirituality and so you might encounter those who appear to be spiritual on the surface but really do not know what spirituality it is. They understand it in a ego sense. They cling to the ideas, the things, but in reality, spirituality is about letting go of attachments and coming back into union with a universal being.

    When we are in union we are naturally compassionate, understanding, patient, filled with love, calm, peace and wisdom. So I would say what spirituality is by saying what it is not:

    Spirituality is not hatred, it is not division, it is not attachment, it is not yearning or striving. Spirituality does not attack, does not judge, does not grow jealous, is not afraid, does not feel personally attacked, does not feel threatened, wishes not to control things, which is not to acquire things. Spirituality does not mistake things, ritual, words, books, costumes as spirituality.

    For me spirituality is simply being.

    Thanks for this, it actually fleshed out my beliefs. By the way, if you disagree with me, that’s totally fine. I don’t feel threatened. ;)

    • says

      Ollin,

      You really gave me a laugh with your last line!

      Your description of what spirituality is not is incredibly beautiful and a true gift. A tall order though and one I probably fail to life up to often! We are all traveling together on this path toward perfection and gracefully accepting our imperfections is part of our evolution as well.

      I’m positively stunned by your understanding and have enjoyed every delicious word that you have written here. I’m so happy to be getting to know you.

  17. says

    Although I don’t do it on purpose, I sometimes find coming to the conversation a bit late is beneficial because it gives me a chance to read not only the article but also the comments. You did indeed spark an interesting thread of discussion here!

    Perhaps trying to define spirituality is like the Supreme Court Justice’s comment about pornography. “I can’t define it but I know it when I see it.” Or the Tao Te Ching’s caution. “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eteral name.”

    Spirituality does seem to connote something besides mere enthusiasm, something, as Bob says above, beyond our physical, material reality. I am very enthusiastic, for example, about watching my football team play. Well, if they are winning, that is. I would not call that spiritual, even if I’m praying for them to do better! On the other hand, I consider martial arts part of my spiritual practice, even though that is a physical activitity. So go figure.

    Spirituality isn’t limited, at least in my opinion, to prayer and meditation times, unless we can, as the Bible encourages, “pray without ceasing.” Or meditate without ceasing. To me, that doesn’t mean sitting in church or on a meditation cushion 24/7. It means that my prayer or meditation practice permeates my life. It means that I go through my day attempting to stay in a state of mindful awareness of the sacredness of everything and everyone I encounter. Without the con.

    Thanks for a challenging and thought provoking article!

    • says

      You are one smart cookie, Galen! I love this perspective >>> Perhaps trying to define spirituality is like the Supreme Court Justice’s comment about pornography. “I can’t define it but I know it when I see it.” Or the Tao Te Ching’s caution. “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eteral name.” <<<

      I also resonated with this: "It means that my prayer or meditation practice permeates my life. It means that I go through my day attempting to stay in a state of mindful awareness of the sacredness of everything and everyone I encounter."

      Thank you!

  18. says

    For me spirituality/sp.life is–
    ” WELCOMING EVERYDAY/MOMENT AS GOD-SENT BLESSING(without passing judgement as good/bad) & LIVING IT WITH JOY(ENTHU)-THE FRESH TWENTY FOUR HOURS WHICH I RECEIVE LIVE AS IF ITS A CELEBRATION”
    Recently i have startd reading/practicing Zen & the zen masters are the best guides in this .
    dilip karkare

    • says

      Greetings Dilip,

      This is a wonderful view of spirituality! Very uplifting. And it certain brings in the joy and enthusiasm factor. Although I don’t practice Zen myself, I greatly appreciate the tradition. I’m so glad you are connecting with this great wisdom tradition.

  19. says

    Spirituality is very personal personal and the definition can differ for each of us. So to say that spirituality is “anything we do with enthusiasm” might be so for some, but not for all. I happen to like this all encompassing definition. To do something with enthusiasm is to do something out of love-and love is everything. Thanks for making my tired brain think Sandra.

    • says

      Lori,

      I can’t help but wonder if the double “personal” is a typo or intended emphasis! I appreciate hearing how this all encompassing definition fits so well for you. You are helping to expand my mind. Thanks!

  20. says

    I remember the days of indulging in not-right action with great enthusiasm, so that word in conjunction with spirituality will probably never work for me.

    It is possible, however, that someone deeply spiritual would experience everything enthusiastically, to the point that every enthusiasm would, in effect, have a spiritual connection. That would be an unusual person, but perhaps that is the kind of person we would all love to be?

    Nah. My eye on human nature is a jaundiced one. Saw too many “gurus” and “preachers” get caught using their position of power over the gullible, shagging everything that moves, skimming the orphan’s fund, living the life of Riley while preaching poverty.

    When religious leaders start sparking “enthusiasm,” my alarm bells go off, too, and I start looking around for the droves of emotionally gullible souls that are getting swept up in the wave.

    • says

      Meg,

      I love your down to earth take on all this! Yes, it would be wonderful to have more joy and enthusiasm in all of our lives. I just see enthusiasm as a passing mental state of the ordinary mind and not something to become attached to. For example, we may not feel extremely enthusiastic when we are in pain and about to die, but, in my book, the nature and essence of mind is greater than that.

      I’m glad you had the guts to add a bit of jaundiced view to the conversation!

  21. says

    I’ve always liked Covey’s spin on spiritual intelligence:

    “Meaning, integrity and contribution – serving and lifting all stakeholders: customers, suppliers, employees and their families, communities, society — making a difference in the world (SPIRIT)”

  22. says

    Good overview of the conundrum Sandra. It is personal. It can be there when you don’t know it, and it can be absent when you’re sure it is.

    For me, spirituality is life. There is no aspect of life or reality that isn’t spiritual. The parts of life we consider to be mundane are just the one’s we’re used to.

    We can never know spirituality by grasping to the concept, or any other, with the mind. The mind is the creation of a small corner of reality and limited to its bounds. But we can ‘know’ it to varying degrees with the soul, which is always with us, although muddied and obscured by the mind that encases, and allows it to exist here, in the mental, physical and emotional worlds.

  23. says

    What a great conversation, Sandra!

    Interesting how definitions shift meanings. Glad there’s no one answer here. ;)

    I feel that all of life is sacred, thus the beauty and challenges are spiritual, there for growth, expansion, and understanding. I Love this delicious life, in its myriad of forms, colours, and potentials.

    I study the transcendent dimensions of human experience in my grad studies as a Women’s Spirituality major, so this conversation really is a deLight! Thanks so much for initiating such a wonderful discussion!

    • says

      Antonia,

      This conversation has really expanded my own sense of spirituality and I also appreciate that there’s no one answer here.

      I like the energy and delight you bring to the topic. This is a beautiful take on the topic > “I feel that all of life is sacred, thus the beauty and challenges are spiritual, there for growth, expansion, and understanding.”

      Thanks for adding this inspiration.

  24. says

    Hi Sandra,
    I do believe that defining spirituality is an individual thing. Many paths to the same place type of thing. That said for spirituality is a love for all people and all things. Love is my umbrella that covers everything. All the rest are the details.

  25. says

    Well I agree with that, first technically because enthusiasm comes from the ancient Greek words “en” and “theos”, which mean “in Spirit”. When we are “in Spirit” (i.e. aligned with the Spirit), we feel alive. When we are “in Spirit”, we are filled with energy. When we are “in Spirit”, we feel a sense of purpose and passion for life and everything that we see gets a deeper meaning.:)

    Lynne

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