Everyone Can Benefit From Spirituality

Spirituality has no single definition. Some researchers consider spirituality mere practices done in solitude, while others think that there is a strong relational component. Certain scientists think that spirituality refers only to transcendent experiences with and understanding of “God” or the universe, while others think that spirituality is actually the process by which groups of people make sense of human experiences.

In general, spirituality includes components of self-improvement and contains important connections with meanings, values, ethics, and is more of a method of practice than a coherent worldview. One of my favorite definitions of spiritual comes from Frame in his academic book Spiritual Development: New Directions for Youth Development, “Spirituality includes one’s values, beliefs, mission, awareness, subjectivity, experience, sense of purpose and direction, and a kind of striving toward something greater than oneself. It may or may not include a deity” (p.3). I think that definition points out several of the most beneficial aspects of spirituality.

 Here are three ways everyone can benefit from spirituality:

1.     Increased self-awareness. Spirituality may increase a person’s ability to reflect on their values and beliefs. Through this reflection, they become more aware of the way that they think about themselves, others, and the world. This introspective process increases their self-awareness by helping them discover how their values and beliefs impact the way they think and how they engage with others.

2.     Focus on self-development. Learning more about yourself helps you make better decisions in the future. As your self-awareness increases, you have opportunities to change your unhelpful and unproductive behaviors. Spirituality becomes a process through which you continue to challenge your values and beliefs, and allows you to appreciate your complexity.

3.     Create a sense of purpose. As you learn more about yourself and what you value, you learn to prioritize things that are most important. Once you start focusing on what you view as most important, your sense of purpose emerges. Your sense of purpose, which may include something greater than yourself, may be hidden beneath the surface and spirituality can help you find it.

The best aspect of spirituality is the fact that it has no single definition. Because it’s hard to define, spirituality offers significant freedom. You have the ability to believe or not believe whatever you want—it’s your subjective experience. For those who want answers to life’s big questions or people who just want a method towards self-improvement, spirituality is for you.