First, let's look at what spirituality is. If you do a web search for the definition of spirituality, you come up with hundreds of different definitions. The dictionary I have defines it as: 'concern with things of spirit'. A very simple answer, but 'things of spirit' can certainly be very complex.
Maybe we should look at how I define it, since I'm the one writing this article.
For me, spirituality is a way of life that encompasses so many different areas but essentially comes down to respect towards yourself and others in your life. It's about understanding a connectedness between all living things, and being responsible for the 'ripple effect' of your actions as they spread outwards and affect people around you. It's about setting an example of what you feel others should be doing, by doing it yourself.
Spirituality is also about understanding the world of Spirit, and the link between the 'real world and the dream world' (to use a phrase from The Matrix). Where do you go when you sleep and you dream? I believe that your consciousness slips off into that reality that you existed in before birth, where you discuss how things are going in your life with other spirits. Essentially, you exist in one reality that operates on multiple levels.
Here's an analogy: imagine a glass skyscraper. It has multiple floors with different levels that people 'exist' on. Each level has a reason for being, and the people there do their tasks and live out their lives according to the purposes required on that level. You can step into the elevator and go up or down the levels, or you could even step outside the building and see all those levels at once, with the people living out their lives on those levels.
I see the world of spirit like that. There are different levels of awareness and enlightenment and purpose within life, but you can also step outside of it and see it all separately. The building and the intricacies of life within it is physical reality, and stepping outside of it is the spiritual reality. They all exist together. Some people, raising their level of awareness high enough, are able to see, feel and hear the spirit world around them. If they don't understand what it is, it can drive them mad (and I offer this as a possible explanation of insanity and delusions some people experience). People that do learn to understand are the ones who become psychic in some fashion.
You're probably wondering how you can 'step outside of it' and see it separately, right? Dreams are one area that this happens. I believe that the dreams we have are what we remember of our 'visit' to the spirit world, but when we wake up, all we have are symbols and fragmented memories that seem to have no sense or purpose about them. However, this is our physical-oriented mind trying to make sense of something that is experienced that is not physical, and it can only do so by turning what you remember into symbols. These symbols can, if we learn how to interpret them, provide us with solutions to issues that are affecting us.
The world of spirit is not bound by time and space. So by 'stepping outside reality', we can see the past, present or future, anywhere in the universe. However, what we see is more often than not relative to our lives, since our lives are what's important to us right now.
An issue that bothers you today might have started at a specific point in your past, and a dream may help you see the origins of it, which can help you resolve it now. Or a dream may show you the future, which allows you to change something you're doing now so that the future you dreamt about comes to pass or does not come to pass. It's all up to you. So understanding dreams can help you with life, and that's a big part of spirituality.
The main focus of this article, however, is to look at solid and achievable ways of understanding how spirituality can help your life.
First, a belief in any kind of God or Higher Power is essential. The reason for this is that when you understand the interconnectedness of all things, you understand that in some way, this is all by design. In the chaos that many believe they are witness to, and are part of, there is actually perfect Harmony. Everything is as it should be. If you believe that you are subject to chaos, to the whims of the universe and the debris that gets strewn randomly in your path, then you certainly aren't spiritual by definition.
Spirituality is also about understanding that you have the power to determine the fate of your own life.
When you work on the principle of the 'ripple effect', you realise that everything you do has consequences. Everything. And this can lead to the belief and experience of 'karma' (also known in some circles as 'physics') – that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. What you do to someone or some thing will have a reaction of some kind.
If you help other people, then you are going to have other people help you. If you harm other people, then in turn, you will be harmed yourself. It's a simple process that most people don't understand. They're living lives of unawareness and unacknowledgement of the responsibility they have towards themselves and others.
Awareness brings responsibility, and responsibility brings purpose. When we understand the responsibility towards ourselves and others, we find a purpose in life. Your purpose can be anything, but usually revolves around making the best of your life that you possibly can, and in the same process, helping others achieve the best life they can.
What's my purpose? Helping others realise that there is more to life than just existing, and that by making changes in how they see things, they can achieve their own life of purpose and happiness.
Who we are is often a result of programming from our past. Our family, our peers, education and media. They have all had their part on programming us to believe we are who we are today. However, what has been programmed can be re-programmed. What you believe about yourself today can be changed, and tomorrow you can believe something completely different.
If you aren't living the life that you want to right now, YOU are the only one who can change that. And you have a responsibility to yourself to do so. In the future, when you look back on your past (today), are you going to be satisfied with everything that you were doing at this time?
What do you want to look back on?
Make it happen now, so that in the future, you can look back with satisfaction rather than regret. Live a life of purpose rather than a life of existing. Be happy with your choices, rather than complacent with drifting.
Be who you want to be.
And no, you don't need to have a believe in God or a Higher Power to live a life of purpose. But to be aware of the responsibility associated with being connected to everything, that requires a higher belief than just in chaos. Life isn't just random events coming together haphazardly, according to the rules of chaos. There is a plan, and you're part of it. Make your own plan and live it.
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