What is this "Spirituality" you Earthmen speak of?

Hi, folks, just back after a month or so of all hell breaking loose (dunt esk!) to see what’s up on the SDMB, and I see a lot of “religion and spirituality” threads breaking loose (must be that Billy Graham!).

Now, I consider myself to be utterly free of both religion and spirituality, and it seems I must be missing something, but I can’t figure out what. I am a relatively nice person: I’m good to my friends and relations, kind to animals, contribute to charities and “causes,” pay my taxes, don’t steal or litter. But I have not the slightest idea what “spirituality” is. Maybe I have it and don’t even know it, like high cholesterol?

Little help?

Sorry, can’t help you. I have got no clue myself, and I am pretty sure I am an earthman. Come to think of it, though, the fact that I refer to myself as an earthman in everyday conversations (Hey buddy! How about we and the fellow earthmen at work go bowling tonight?) seems to put a damper on thing, so maybe I should stop.

It’s sort of a noncommittal form of religion.

Yeah, good question. It would seem we all have (or are, if you like) minds. Is mind not synonymous with spirit? Are the allegedly non-spiritual among us really robots? Dunno.

I think you should’ve expanded on the title in your OP. For those spiritually inclined, how would you explain spirtuality to an alien race that didn’t have that concept? I’d be curioius to know…

For me, my sense of “spirituality” is an amorphic sense of connectedness to the world around me. My analytical mind is most comfortable assuming that this sense involves the exchange of subatomic particles amongst all matter.

I also think that the concept of being “spiritual” is wholely unique to each individual “live” being, and that no being experiences it the same way as another.

The concept of a spirit really has nothing to do with it, but when pressed to try and explain my concept of a “spirit”, I consider the physical form as a constantly changing vessel for a constantly changing awareness.

While “alive”, a body feeds, expells waste, grows, ages, perhaps mates, perhaps reproduces, and is in a constant state of simultaneous physical decay and renewal, releasing parts of itself into the environment, while taking things into itself from the environment. This all happens until the moment when it ceases to be alive and all physical matter decays and is completely released into the environment, where it is taken into many other physical forms.

The same things happens to the “spirit”. It is constantly changing, decaying, renewing. Releasing parts of itself into the environment, while taking things into itself from the environment. This all happens until the moment of death, when this “spirit” and the physical form have are no longer in sync, and it is completely released into the environment and taken into many other physical forms.

But again, this is my attempt to put words to my own unique perspective, and (I believe) not something that is shared by anyone else.

Until such time as somebody at MIT repeatedly, predictively observes and quantifies this process, I remain skeptical.

I too have always been stumped by the “spiritual” explanation. I usually hear it as “I’m not really religious, but I’m spiritual” or something like that. I think religion is kind of silly, but at least I know what religious people actually believe. Thanks honeydewgrrl for your take on it. Any others?

I guess, Eve, that you just don’t have a temporal lobe personality. Perhaps a go on Michael Persinger’s helmet will provide the cosmic experience you seek. However, be advised that other teams worldwide have had trouble reproducing his results, and that he probably says that to all the girls.

Hello, Eve, welcome back. I won’t esk what’s been happening, but I hope things haven’t been too overwhelming.

As to the OP, I think it’s like the agnostic/atheist divide. The terms religious and spiritual are closely related and one person using one term might be describing something that another person would call the other. But people often feel the need to make subtle distinctions in their beliefs or non-beliefs in this area so two different terms are in use. Saying “I consider myself spiritual but not religious” or “I consider myself to be an agnostic not an atheist” is usually just the opening to a longer explanation of the particular individual’s religious opinion on where they personally draw the line.

I have no idea what the following has to with Eve’s request for enlightenment, but it is worth a look:

Me too.

I’d be interested to hear from some of the people in the other religion & spirituality threads, like lekatt, eustachian?fallopian, cosmosdan).

What of us who are perfectly happy and content with no “spirituality?” Or no idea what it even is?

[Oops, my computer won’t do one of those “does not equal”
marks . . .]

Like Alessan said, a lot of the time, “spiritual” means “I want to be religious, but I don’t want to bother following religious rules.”


Reminds me of internet dating. I run across profiles where women describe their lives as being spritualy guided and how they find their “strength” in their faith.

I wonder how they explain those of us who do quite well without it.
Why do some people need it?

Or it could mean, as it does in my case, that I haven’t found a religion whose rules I am at peace with.

I left my last church because they made a really big deal out of things that I thought inconsequential, like female ministers and homosexuals. Also, most of the churches I’ve been too seem to put more emphasis on the teachings of Paul than the teachings of Jesus. I’m a Christian, not a Paulian.

This is not to say that I want to find a church where my thoughts and beliefs will not be challenged, far from it. But until I find that congregation, I’ll just stick to doing my own thing, which I would rather call being “spiritual” instead of “religious”.

What of you? I see no more reason to assign it more meaningfulness than people who are perfectly happy and content with no alcohol, no rock music, no Thai food, no time at the track watching the races, or no gardening. (Or any of a number of other optional human endeavours.)

That I find meaning and value in my religious and spiritual practices does not mean anything about people who don’t – whether that means “don’t find those particular practices meaningful” or “finds the whole thing wasted time and effort.” I know I find many things to be meaningless or wasted time and effort, and from this I deduce that other people value different things. (Think of the oatmeal shortage if we all fancied the same things.)

But I know what alcohol, rock music, Thai food, races and gardening are. I’ve yet to have anyone explain to me what “spirituality” is. Maybe I am spiritual and I just don’t know it!

Well, yeah, that’s what I was saying. You want to be religious, but you didn’t want to follow that religion’s rules about homosexuality or female ministers or other things you thought inconsequential. Basically, you put your own judgement ahead of what the religious community decided, and because of that you left.