Spirituality

Spirituality

Overview
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality
Reality
In philosophy, reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined. In a wider definition, reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible...

; an inner path
Involution (philosophy)
The term involution refers to different things depending on the writer. In some instances it refers to a process that occurs prior to evolution and gives rise to the cosmos, in others an aspect of evolution, and still others a process that follows the completion of evolution in the human...

 enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practice
Spiritual practice
A spiritual practice or spiritual discipline is the regular or full-time performance of actions and activities undertaken for the purpose of cultivating spiritual development. A common metaphor used in the spiritual traditions of the worlds great religions is that of walking a path...

s, including meditation
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

, prayer
Prayer
Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of...

 and contemplation
Contemplation
The word contemplation comes from the Latin word contemplatio. Its root is also that of the Latin word templum, a piece of ground consecrated for the taking of auspices, or a building for worship, derived either from Proto-Indo-European base *tem- "to cut", and so a "place reserved or cut out" or...

, are intended to develop an individual's inner life; spiritual experience includes that of connectedness
Connectedness
In mathematics, connectedness is used to refer to various properties meaning, in some sense, "all one piece". When a mathematical object has such a property, we say it is connected; otherwise it is disconnected...

 with a larger reality, yielding a more comprehensive self
Self
The self is an individual person as the object of his or her own reflective consciousness. The self has been studied extensively by philosophers and psychologists and is central to many world religions.-Philosophy:...

; with other individuals or the human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

 community
Community
The term community has two distinct meanings:*a group of interacting people, possibly living in close proximity, and often refers to a group that shares some common values, and is attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household...

; with nature
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

 or the cosmos
Cosmos
In the general sense, a cosmos is an orderly or harmonious system. It originates from the Greek term κόσμος , meaning "order" or "ornament" and is antithetical to the concept of chaos. Today, the word is generally used as a synonym of the word Universe . The word cosmos originates from the same root...

; or with the divine
Divinity
Divinity and divine are broadly applied but loosely defined terms, used variously within different faiths and belief systems — and even by different individuals within a given faith — to refer to some transcendent or transcendental power or deity, or its attributes or manifestations in...

 realm.
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Encyclopedia
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality
Reality
In philosophy, reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined. In a wider definition, reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible...

; an inner path
Involution (philosophy)
The term involution refers to different things depending on the writer. In some instances it refers to a process that occurs prior to evolution and gives rise to the cosmos, in others an aspect of evolution, and still others a process that follows the completion of evolution in the human...

 enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practice
Spiritual practice
A spiritual practice or spiritual discipline is the regular or full-time performance of actions and activities undertaken for the purpose of cultivating spiritual development. A common metaphor used in the spiritual traditions of the worlds great religions is that of walking a path...

s, including meditation
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

, prayer
Prayer
Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of...

 and contemplation
Contemplation
The word contemplation comes from the Latin word contemplatio. Its root is also that of the Latin word templum, a piece of ground consecrated for the taking of auspices, or a building for worship, derived either from Proto-Indo-European base *tem- "to cut", and so a "place reserved or cut out" or...

, are intended to develop an individual's inner life; spiritual experience includes that of connectedness
Connectedness
In mathematics, connectedness is used to refer to various properties meaning, in some sense, "all one piece". When a mathematical object has such a property, we say it is connected; otherwise it is disconnected...

 with a larger reality, yielding a more comprehensive self
Self
The self is an individual person as the object of his or her own reflective consciousness. The self has been studied extensively by philosophers and psychologists and is central to many world religions.-Philosophy:...

; with other individuals or the human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

 community
Community
The term community has two distinct meanings:*a group of interacting people, possibly living in close proximity, and often refers to a group that shares some common values, and is attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household...

; with nature
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

 or the cosmos
Cosmos
In the general sense, a cosmos is an orderly or harmonious system. It originates from the Greek term κόσμος , meaning "order" or "ornament" and is antithetical to the concept of chaos. Today, the word is generally used as a synonym of the word Universe . The word cosmos originates from the same root...

; or with the divine
Divinity
Divinity and divine are broadly applied but loosely defined terms, used variously within different faiths and belief systems — and even by different individuals within a given faith — to refer to some transcendent or transcendental power or deity, or its attributes or manifestations in...

 realm. Spirituality is often experienced as a source of inspiration or orientation in life. It can encompass belief
Belief
Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true.-Belief, knowledge and epistemology:The terms belief and knowledge are used differently in philosophy....

 in immaterial realities or experiences of the immanent or transcendent
Transcendence (religion)
In religion transcendence refers to the aspect of God's nature which is wholly independent of the physical universe. This is contrasted with immanence where God is fully present in the physical world and thus accessible to creatures in various ways...

 nature of the world.

Definition


Traditionally, many religions have regarded spirituality as an integral aspect of religious experience
Religious experience
Religious experience is a subjective experience in which an individual reports contact with a transcendent reality, an encounter or union with the divine....

. Among other factors, declining membership of organized religions and the growth of secularism
Secularism
Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

 in the western world
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

 have given rise to a broader view of spirituality. The term "spiritual" is now frequently used in contexts in which the term "religious" was formally employed; compare James
William James
William James was a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher who was trained as a physician. He wrote influential books on the young science of psychology, educational psychology, psychology of religious experience and mysticism, and on the philosophy of pragmatism...

' 1902 lectures on the "Varieties of Religious Experience".

Secular spirituality
Secular spirituality
Secular spirituality, as a cultural phenomenon, refers to the adherence to a spiritual ideology without the advocation of a religious framework. Secular spirituality in principle might embrace many of the same types of practices as religious spirituality, but the motivation is different...

 emphasizes humanistic qualities such as love, compassion
Compassion
Compassion is a virtue — one in which the emotional capacities of empathy and sympathy are regarded as a part of love itself, and a cornerstone of greater social interconnection and humanism — foundational to the highest principles in philosophy, society, and personhood.There is an aspect of...

, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, responsibility, harmony, and a concern for others, aspects of life and human experience which go beyond a purely materialist view of the world, without necessarily accepting belief in a supernatural reality or divine being. Spiritual practices such as mindfulness and meditation can be experienced as beneficial or even necessary for human fulfillment without any supernatural interpretation or explanation. Spirituality in this context may be a matter of nurturing thoughts, emotions, words and actions that are in harmony with a belief that everything in the universe is mutually dependent; this stance has much in common with some versions of Buddhist spirituality. A modern secular definition: "Spirituality exists wherever we struggle with the issues of how our lives fit into the greater scheme of things. This is true when our questions never give way to specific answers or give rise to specific practices such as prayer or meditation. we encounter spiritual issues every time we wonder where the universe comes from, why we are here, or what happens when we die. We also become spiritual when we become moved by values such as beauty, love, or creativity that seem to reveal a meaning or power beyond our visible world. An idea or practice is "spiritual" when it reveals our personal desire to establish a felt-relationship with the deepest meanings or powers governing life." - Robert C. Fuller

The psychology of religion
Psychology of religion
Psychology of religion consists of the application of psychological methods and interpretive frameworks to religious traditions, as well as to both religious and irreligious individuals. The science attempts to accurately describe the details, origins, and uses of religious beliefs and behaviours...

 uses a variety of metrics to measure spirituality.

Spiritual path


In a wide variety of traditions, spirituality is seen as a path toward one or more of the following: a higher state of awareness, perfection of one's own being, wisdom, or communion with God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 or with creation. Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

's Allegory of the Cave
Allegory of the cave
The Allegory of the Cave—also known as the Analogy of the Cave, Plato's Cave, or the Parable of the Cave—is an allegory used by the Greek philosopher Plato in his work The Republic to illustrate "our nature in its education and want of education"...

, which appears in book VII of The Republic, is a description of such a journey, as are the writings of Teresa of Avila
Teresa of Ávila
Saint Teresa of Ávila, also called Saint Teresa of Jesus, baptized as Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada, was a prominent Spanish mystic, Roman Catholic saint, Carmelite nun, and writer of the Counter Reformation, and theologian of contemplative life through mental prayer...

. The Vedas
Vedas
The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

 and Upanishads also describe such a path of transformation.

Disciplines such a path entail may include meditation
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

, prayer
Prayer
Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of...

, and the contemplation of sacred texts; ethical development; and some sort of spiritual transmission, sometimes through a preceptor. Spirituality aims both at inner growth and outward manifestations of this growth. Love and/or compassion are often described as the mainstay of spiritual development.

Religion


Whilst the terms spirituality and religion both relate to a search for an Absolute or God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

, and thus have much overlap, there are also characteristic differences in their usage. Religion implies a particular faith tradition that includes acceptance of a metaphysical or supernatural reality;, whereas spirituality is not necessarily bound to any particular religious tradition. Thus William Irwin Thompson
William Irwin Thompson
William Irwin Thompson is known primarily as a social philosopher and cultural critic, but he has also been writing and publishing poetry throughout his career and received the Oslo International Poetry Festival Award in 1986. He describes his writing and speaking style as "mind-jazz on ancient...

 suggest that "religion is the form spirituality takes in civilization."

Those who speak of spirituality outside of religion often define themselves as "spiritual but not religious" and generally believe in the existence of different "spiritual paths," emphasizing the importance of finding one's own individual path to spirituality. According to one poll, about 24% of the United States population identifies itself as spiritual but not religious.

Spirituality within particular religious traditions


In the Catholic Church, spirituality is generally seen as an integral part of religion, as much for the laity as for the 'religious' (i.e. those who have taken vows to the Church). There is a variety of charism
Charism
In Christian theology, a charism in general denotes any good gift that flows from God's love to man. The word can also mean any of the spiritual graces and qualifications granted to every Christian to perform his or her task in the Church...

s that emphasize particular ways to serve God and humanity. See Catholic spirituality
Catholic spirituality
Catholic spirituality is the spiritual practice of living out a personal act of faith following the acceptance of faith . Although all Catholics are expected to pray together at Mass, there are many different forms of spirituality and private prayer which have developed over the centuries...

, Ignatian spirituality
Ignatian spirituality
Ignatian spirituality sometimes called Jesuit spirituality, is a Catholic spirituality which both lay and religious people have traditionally found helpful. Founded on the experiences of a 16th century saint, struggling to live a good life, it is sometimes referred to as the spirituality for...

.

For Anglican spirituality, see Anglican devotions
Anglican devotions
Anglican devotions are private prayers and practices used by Anglican Christians to promote spiritual growth and communion with God. Among members of the Anglican Communion, private devotional habits vary widely, depending on personal preference and on their affiliation with low-church or...

.

Science


Since the scientific revolution
Science in the Age of Enlightenment
The scientific history of the Age of Enlightenment traces developments in science and technology during the Age of Reason, when Enlightenment ideas and ideals were being disseminated across Europe and North America...

, the relationship of science to religion and spirituality has developed in complex ways. Historian John Hedley Brooke
John Hedley Brooke
John Hedley Brooke is a British Historian of Science specialising in the relationship between science and religion.-Biography:...

 describes wide variations: "the natural sciences have been invested with religious meaning, with antireligious implications and, in many contexts, with no religious significance at all." The popular notion of antagonisms between science and religion has historically originated with "thinkers with a social or political ax to grind" rather than with the natural philosophers themselves. Though physical and biological scientists today avoid supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 explanations to describe reality
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

 (see naturalism
Naturalism (philosophy)
Naturalism commonly refers to the philosophical viewpoint that the natural universe and its natural laws and forces operate in the universe, and that nothing exists beyond the natural universe or, if it does, it does not affect the natural universe that we know...

), many scientists continue to consider science and spirituality to be complementary, not contradictory. Neuroscientists
Neuroscience
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics,...

 are trying to learn more about how the brain functions during reported spiritual experiences.

During the twentieth century the relationship between science and spirituality has been influenced both by Freudian psychology, which has accentuated the boundaries between the two areas by accentuating individualism
Individualism
Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that stresses "the moral worth of the individual". Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance while opposing most external interference upon one's own...

 and secularism
Secularism
Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

, and by developments in particle physics
Particle physics
Particle physics is a branch of physics that studies the existence and interactions of particles that are the constituents of what is usually referred to as matter or radiation. In current understanding, particles are excitations of quantum fields and interact following their dynamics...

, which reopened the debate about complementarity
Relationship between religion and science
The relationship between religion and science has been a focus of the demarcation problem. Somewhat related is the claim that science and religion may pursue knowledge using different methodologies. Whereas the scientific method basically relies on reason and empiricism, religion also seeks to...

 between scientific and religious discourse and rekindled for many an interest in holistic conceptions of reality. These holistic conceptions were championed by New Age
New Age
The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as "drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and then infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational...

 spiritualists in a type of quantum mysticism
Quantum mysticism
Quantum mysticism is a term that has been used to refer to a set of metaphysical beliefs and associated practices that seek to relate consciousness, intelligence or mystical world-views to the ideas of quantum mechanics and its interpretations...

 that they claim justifies their spiritual beliefs, though quantum physicists
Quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...

 themselves on the whole reject such attempts as being pseudoscientific
Pseudoscience
Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but which does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status...

.

Personal well-being


In keeping with a general increase in interest in spirituality and complementary and alternative treatments
Alternative medicine
Alternative medicine is any healing practice, "that does not fall within the realm of conventional medicine." It is based on historical or cultural traditions, rather than on scientific evidence....

, prayer has garnered attention among some behavioral scientists. Masters and Spielmans have conducted a meta-analysis
Meta-analysis
In statistics, a meta-analysis combines the results of several studies that address a set of related research hypotheses. In its simplest form, this is normally by identification of a common measure of effect size, for which a weighted average might be the output of a meta-analyses. Here the...

 of the effects of distant intercessory
Intercession
Intercession is the act of interceding between two parties. In both Christian and Islamic religious usage, it is a prayer to God on behalf of others....

 prayer, but detected no discernible effects.

Spirituality has played a central role in self-help
Self-help
Self-help, or self-improvement, is a self-guided improvement—economically, intellectually, or emotionally—often with a substantial psychological basis. There are many different self-help movements and each has its own focus, techniques, associated beliefs, proponents and in some cases, leaders...

 movements such as Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous is an international mutual aid movement which says its "primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety." Now claiming more than 2 million members, AA was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio...

: "...if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead...."

If spirituality is understood as the search for or the development of inner peace
Inner peace
Inner peace refers to a state of being mentally and spiritually at peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to keep oneself strong in the face of discord or stress. Being "at peace" is considered by many to be healthy and the opposite of being stressed or anxious...

 or the foundations of happiness
Happiness
Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. A variety of biological, psychological, religious, and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources....

, then spiritual practice
Spiritual practice
A spiritual practice or spiritual discipline is the regular or full-time performance of actions and activities undertaken for the purpose of cultivating spiritual development. A common metaphor used in the spiritual traditions of the worlds great religions is that of walking a path...

 of some kind is essential for personal well being. This activity may or may not include belief in supernatural beings. If one has such a belief and feels that relationship to such beings is the foundation of happiness then spiritual practice will be pursued on that basis: if one has no such belief spiritual practice is still essential for the management and understanding of thoughts and emotions which otherwise prevent happiness. Many techniques and practices developed and explored in religious contexts, such as meditation
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

, are immensely valuable in themselves as skills
Life skills
Life skills are problem solving behaviors used appropriately and responsibly in the management of personal affairs. They are a set of human skills acquired via teaching or direct experience that are used to handle problems and questions commonly encountered in daily human life...

 for managing aspects of the inner life
Introspection
Introspection is the self-observation and reporting of conscious inner thoughts, desires and sensations. It is a conscious and purposive process relying on thinking, reasoning, and examining one's own thoughts, feelings, and, in more spiritual cases, one's soul...

.

Near-death experience (NDE)



If consciousness
Consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...

 exists apart from the body, which includes the brain, one is attached not only to the material world, but to a non-temporal (spiritual) world as well. This thesis is considered to be analyzed by testing the reports from people who have experienced death
Death
Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

. However, some researchers consider that NDEs are actually REM intrusions triggered in the brain
Human brain
The human brain has the same general structure as the brains of other mammals, but is over three times larger than the brain of a typical mammal with an equivalent body size. Estimates for the number of neurons in the human brain range from 80 to 120 billion...

 by traumatic events like cardiac arrest
Cardiac arrest
Cardiac arrest, is the cessation of normal circulation of the blood due to failure of the heart to contract effectively...

.

Sacredness


Social scientists have defined spirituality as the search for "the sacred," where "the sacred" is broadly defined as that which is set apart from the ordinary and worthy of veneration. Spirituality can be sought not only through traditional organized religions, but also through movements such as the feminist theology
Feminist theology
Feminist theology is a movement found in several religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and New Thought, to reconsider the traditions, practices, scriptures, and theologies of those religions from a feminist perspective...

 and ecological spirituality (see Green politics
Green politics
Green politics is a political ideology that aims for the creation of an ecologically sustainable society rooted in environmentalism, social liberalism, and grassroots democracy...

). Spirituality is associated with mental health
Mental health
Mental health describes either a level of cognitive or emotional well-being or an absence of a mental disorder. From perspectives of the discipline of positive psychology or holism mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life and procure a balance between life activities and...

, managing substance abuse
Substance abuse
A substance-related disorder is an umbrella term used to describe several different conditions associated with several different substances .A substance related disorder is a condition in which an individual uses or abuses a...

, marital
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 functioning, parenting
Parenting
Parenting is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood...

, and coping
Life skills
Life skills are problem solving behaviors used appropriately and responsibly in the management of personal affairs. They are a set of human skills acquired via teaching or direct experience that are used to handle problems and questions commonly encountered in daily human life...

. It has been suggested that spirituality also leads to finding purpose and meaning in life
Meaning of life
The meaning of life constitutes a philosophical question concerning the purpose and significance of life or existence in general. This concept can be expressed through a variety of related questions, such as "Why are we here?", "What is life all about?", and "What is the meaning of it all?" It has...

.

History


Words translatable as 'spirituality' first began to arise in the 5th century and only entered common use toward the end of the Middle Ages. Spiritual innovators who operated within the context of a religious tradition often became marginalized or suppressed as heretics
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

 or separated out as schismatics
Schism (religion)
A schism , from Greek σχίσμα, skhísma , is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization or movement religious denomination. The word is most frequently applied to a break of communion between two sections of Christianity that were previously a single body, or to a division within...

. In these circumstances, anthropologists generally treat so-called "spiritual" practices such as shamanism
Shamanism
Shamanism is an anthropological term referencing a range of beliefs and practices regarding communication with the spiritual world. To quote Eliade: "A first definition of this complex phenomenon, and perhaps the least hazardous, will be: shamanism = technique of ecstasy." Shamanism encompasses the...

 in the sphere of the religious, and class even non-traditional activities such as those of Robespierre's Cult of the Supreme Being
Cult of the Supreme Being
The Cult of the Supreme Being was a form of deism established in France by Maximilien Robespierre during the French Revolution. It was intended to become the state religion of the new French Republic.- Origins :...

 in the province of religion.

Eighteenth-century Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 thinkers, often opposed to clericalism
Clericalism
Clericalism is the application of the formal, church-based, leadership or opinion of ordained clergy in matters of either the church or broader political and sociocultural import...

 and skeptical of religion, sometimes came to express their more emotional responses to the world under the rubric of "the Sublime"
Sublime (philosophy)
In aesthetics, the sublime is the quality of greatness, whether physical, moral, intellectual, metaphysical, aesthetic, spiritual or artistic...

 rather than discussing "spirituality". The spread of the ideas of modernity
Modernity
Modernity typically refers to a post-traditional, post-medieval historical period, one marked by the move from feudalism toward capitalism, industrialization, secularization, rationalization, the nation-state and its constituent institutions and forms of surveillance...

 began to diminish the role of religion in society and in popular thought. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century...

 (1803–1882) was a pioneer of the idea of spirituality as a distinct field. Important early 20th century writers who studied the phenomenon of spirituality, and their works, include William James
William James
William James was a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher who was trained as a physician. He wrote influential books on the young science of psychology, educational psychology, psychology of religious experience and mysticism, and on the philosophy of pragmatism...

, The Varieties of Religious Experience
The Varieties of Religious Experience
The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature is a book by the Harvard University psychologist and philosopher William James that comprises his edited Gifford Lectures on "Natural Theology" delivered at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland between 1901 and 1902.These lectures...

(1902), and Rudolph Otto, especially The Idea of the Holy (1917). The distinction between the spiritual and the religious became more common in the popular mind during the late 20th century with the rise of secularism
Secularism
Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

 and the advent of the New Age
New Age
The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as "drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and then infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational...

 movement. Authors such as Chris Griscom
Chris Griscom
Chris Griscom is an American healer, author and teacher. Her teachings focus on fostering peace and exploring and expanding consciousness. They are non-dualistic and transcend traditional beliefs. Chris has written and published several books and has traveled and taught widely...

 and Shirley MacLaine
Shirley MacLaine
Shirley MacLaine is an American film and theater actress, singer, dancer, activist and author, well-known for her beliefs in new age spirituality and reincarnation. She has written a large number of autobiographical works, many dealing with her spiritual beliefs as well as her Hollywood career...

 explored it in numerous ways in their books. Paul Heelas
Paul Heelas
Paul Lauchlan Faux Heelas was Professor in Religion and Modernity in the Department of Religious Studies at The University of Lancaster until June 2010....

 noted the development within New Age circles of what he called "seminar spirituality": structured offerings complementing consumer
Consumerism
Consumerism is a social and economic order that is based on the systematic creation and fostering of a desire to purchase goods and services in ever greater amounts. The term is often associated with criticisms of consumption starting with Thorstein Veblen...

 choice with spiritual options.

Study


In the late 19th century a Pakistani scholar Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi
Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi
Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi is a Pakistani Sufi Sheikh, the patriarch of the Azeemia, Editor-in-Chief of the Roohani Digest and a scholar in the field of spiritualism....

 wrote of and taught about the science of Islamic spirituality, of which the best known form remains the Sufi tradition (famous through Rumi and Hafiz) in which a spiritual master or pir
Pir (Sufism)
Pir or Peer is a title for a Sufi master equally used in the nath tradition. They are also referred to as a Hazrat or Shaikh, which is Arabic for Old Man. The title is often translated into English as "saint" and could be interpreted as "Elder". In Sufism a Pir's role is to guide and instruct his...

 transmits spiritual discipline to students.

Building on both the Western esoteric tradition
Western mystery tradition
Western esotericism or Hermeticism is a broad spectrum of spiritual traditions found in Western society, or refers to the collection of the mystical, esoteric knowledge of the Western world...

 and theosophy
Theosophy
Theosophy, in its modern presentation, is a spiritual philosophy developed since the late 19th century. Its major themes were originally described mainly by Helena Blavatsky , co-founder of the Theosophical Society...

, Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, and esotericist. He gained initial recognition as a literary critic and cultural philosopher...

 and others in the anthroposophic
Anthroposophy
Anthroposophy, a philosophy founded by Rudolf Steiner, postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world accessible to direct experience through inner development...

 tradition have attempted to apply systematic methodology to the study of spiritual phenomena, building upon ontological and epistemological questions that arose out of transcendental philosophy. This enterprise does not attempt to redefine natural science, but to explore inner experience – especially our thinking – with the same rigor that we apply to outer (sensory) experience.

See also



  • Afterlife
    Afterlife
    The afterlife is the belief that a part of, or essence of, or soul of an individual, which carries with it and confers personal identity, survives the death of the body of this world and this lifetime, by natural or supernatural means, in contrast to the belief in eternal...

  • Deities
  • Ethereal being
    Ethereal being
    Ethereal beings, according to some belief systems and occult theories, are mystic entities that usually are not made of ordinary matter. Despite the fact that they are believed to be essentially incorporeal, they do interact in physical shapes with the material universe and travel between the...

  • Parapsychology
    Parapsychology
    The term parapsychology was coined in or around 1889 by philosopher Max Dessoir, and originates from para meaning "alongside", and psychology. The term was adopted by J.B. Rhine in the 1930s as a replacement for the term psychical research...

  • Quantum mysticism
    Quantum mysticism
    Quantum mysticism is a term that has been used to refer to a set of metaphysical beliefs and associated practices that seek to relate consciousness, intelligence or mystical world-views to the ideas of quantum mechanics and its interpretations...

  • Reason
    Reason
    Reason is a term that refers to the capacity human beings have to make sense of things, to establish and verify facts, and to change or justify practices, institutions, and beliefs. It is closely associated with such characteristically human activities as philosophy, science, language, ...

  • Religion
    Religion
    Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

  • Skepticism
    Skepticism
    Skepticism has many definitions, but generally refers to any questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere...

  • Spiritual But Not Religious
    Spiritual But Not Religious
    Spiritual But Not Religious is a popular phrase and acronym used to self-identify a life stance of spirituality that rejects traditional organized religion as the sole or most valuable means of furthering spiritual growth...

  • Supernatural
    Supernatural
    The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

  • Superstition
    Superstition
    Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any process in the physical world linking the two events....



Further reading

  • A Course in Miracles. 2nd ed., Mill Valley: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1992, ISBN 0-9606388-9-X.
  • Azeemi, K.S.
    Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi
    Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi is a Pakistani Sufi Sheikh, the patriarch of the Azeemia, Editor-in-Chief of the Roohani Digest and a scholar in the field of spiritualism....

    Muraqaba: The Art and Science of Sufi Meditation. Houston: Plato, 2005. (ISBN 0-9758875-4-8)
  • Bjelica, Drago The Bible For The New Age (Online). 2009.
  • Bolman, L. G., and Deal, T. E. Leading With Soul. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1995.
  • Borysenko, J. A Woman's Journey to God. New York: Riverhead Books, 1999.
  • Cannon, K. G. Katie's Canon: Womanism and the Soul of the Black Community. New York: Continuum, 1996.
  • Cappel, Constance, Dera Poetry, Philadelphia, PA: Xlibris, 2007.
  • Cheroff, Seth, The Manual For Living. CO Spirit Scope, 2008.
  • Deloria, V., Jr. God is Red. 2d Ed. Golden, Co: North American Press, 1992, ISBN 1-55591-904-9.
  • Dillard, C. B.; Abdur-Rashid, D.; and Tyson, C. A. "My Soul is a Witness." International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 13, no. 5 (September 2000): 447-462.
  • Dirkx, J. M. "Nurturing Soul in Adult Learning." in Transformative Learning in Action. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education No. 74, edited by P. Cranton, pp. 79–88. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1997.
  • Downey, Michael. Understanding Christian Spirituality. New York: Paulist Press, 1997.
  • Eck, Diana L. A New Religious America. San Francisco: Harper, 2001.
  • Elkins D.N. et al. (1998)Toward a humanistic-phenomenological spirituality: definition, description and measurement. Journal of Humanistic Psychology 28(4), 5-18
  • English, L., and Gillen, M., eds. Addressing the Spiritual Dimensions of Adult Learning. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, No. 85. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000.
  • Goddart, Michael. Spiritual Revolution: A Seeker's Guide; 52 Powerful Principles for Your Mind & Soul, DeVorss, 1997.
  • Haisch, Bernard The God Theory: Universes, Zero-point Fields, and What's Behind It All, (Preface), Red Wheel/Weiser, 2006, ISBN 1-57863-374-5
  • Hein, David, and Edward Hugh Henderson, editors. Captured by the Crucified: The Practical Theology of Austin Farrer. New York and London: Continuum / T & T Clark, 2004. About the spiritual theology of Austin Farrer
    Austin Farrer
    Austin Marsden Farrer was an English theologian and philosopher. His activity in philosophy, theology, and spirituality lead many to consider him the outstanding figure of 20th century Anglicanism.-Life:...

    ; includes chapter on "Farrer's Spirituality" by Diogenes Allen
    Diogenes Allen
    The Diogenes Allen is Professor Emeritus and former Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is ordained by the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and currently serves as Priest Associate at All Saints' Episcopal Church, Princeton, New Jersey...

    .
  • Hein, David, and Charles R. Henery, editors. Spiritual Counsel in the Anglican Tradition. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock; Cambridge, UK: James Clarke & Co., 2010.
  • Holtje, D. (1995). From Light to Sound: The Spiritual Progression. Temecula, CA: MasterPath, Inc. ISBN 1-885949-00-6
  • Percival, Harold W.
    Harold W. Percival
    Harold Waldwin Percival was a Theosophist and writer who founded The Word Foundation, famous for his magnum opus Thinking and Destiny....

    Thinking and Destiny, ISBN 0-911650-06-7
  • Perry, Whitall N. A Treasury of Traditional Wisdom: An Encyclopedia of Humankind’s Spiritual Truth. Louisville: Fons Vitae books, 2000, ISBN 1-887752-33-1
  • Ram Chandra(Shajahanpur). Reality at Dawn.
  • Roberts, Jane (1974). The Nature of Personal Reality. Prentice-Hall. reprinted (1994) Amber-Allen Publishing. ISBN 1-878424-06-8
  • Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That, Acorn Press, 1990, ISBN 0-89386-022-0
  • Schmidt, Leigh Eric. Restless Souls : The Making of American Spirituality. San Francisco: Harper, 2005. ISBN 0-06-054566-6
  • Steiner, Rudolf, How to Know Higher Worlds: A Modern Path of Initiation. New York: Anthroposophic Press, (1904) 1994. ISBN 0-88010-372-8
  • Steiner, Rudolf, Theosophy: An Introduction to the Supersensible Knowledge of the World and the Destination of Man. London: Rudolf Steiner Press, (1904) 1994
  • Spenard, Michael (April 11, 2011) "Dueling with Dualism: the forlorn quest for the immaterial soul", essay. An historical account of mind body duality and a comprehensive conceptual and empirical critique on the position. ISBN 978-0-578-08288-2
  • Thompson, William Irwin, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light: Mythology, Sexuality, and the Origins of Culture (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1981).
  • Wapnick, Kenneth, The Message of A Course in Miracles. Roscoe, NY: Foundation for A Course in Miracles, 1997, ISBN 0-933291-25-6.
  • Wakefield, Gordon S.(ed.), A Dictionary of Christian Spirituality. London: SCM, 1983.
  • Wilkinson, Tony, The Lost Art of Being Happy - Spirituality for Sceptics Findhorn Press 2007, ISBN 978-1-84409-116-4
  • Zagano, Phyllis Twentieth-Century Apostles: Contemporary Spirituality in Action (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1999)
  • Zagano, Phyllis "Woman to Woman: An Anthology of Women's Spiritualities (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical PRess) 1993.
  • Zajonc, Arthur, The New Physics and Cosmology Dialogues with the Dalai Lama. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004,ISBN 0-19-515994-2.

External links