I have a bugbear about the term “being spiritual.”
I see it used as a yet another label by which we define ourselves or others. As though “spirituality” is a club that some people belong to and others don’t, depending on their beliefs and behaviours.
This is a great misunderstanding.
We do not have to believe or do anything in particular in order to “be spiritual.” Because we are all spiritual beings having a human experience.
Spirituality is not a credence or cult. It is our relationship with our own selves, with our own spirit.
Some of us believe we have a higher self, a soul, a connection to the source of all that exists. And some of us believe we stop being, in all capacity, with the physical expiration of our bodies. But regardless of what we believe happens afterward, we do have a spirit inhabiting our physical bodies—for now at least.
That spirit is what engages with other living beings and forms relationships with them. And the extent to which we get to know ourselves and look after ourselves is the relationship that we have with ourselves. That is our spirituality.
And a “spiritual practice” can be anything that helps us to nourish that relationship. Anything that helps us to know ourselves better and promote a commitment to nurturing all of our well-being—physically, mentally, and emotionally.
As a meditation teacher, I fully endorse a meditation practice to foster that relationship—but I equally recognize the value of alternative activities that don’t fit into the typical “spiritual” categories. Whatever works for us—when practiced consciously and mindfully, as a means of improving and supporting our self-awareness and overall well-being—can qualify as a spiritual practice. No candles, incense, or mandalas are required.
A spiritual practice is essentially a well-being practice. Not having one doesn’t disqualify us from “being spiritual.” There are no rules or regulations; there is no membership to sign up for. Our spirituality is our own to nurture—or not—as we see fit. There is no need to fret about how to do the “spiritual thing” right.
And whether or not we nurture our own spirituality doesn’t alter the fact that we simply are spiritual beings. Spending time getting to know ourselves (and choosing activities that support us) affects our human experience. But for as long as we are inhabiting our bodies—and perhaps even beyond that—we are spiritual beings.
So, we don’t have to spend any time worrying about how to “be spiritual.” All we need to concern ourselves with is knowing ourselves in order to be true to ourselves.
Go forth and just be.
Author: Hilda Carroll
Image: Sylvain Reygaerts/Unsplash
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina