What is Spirituality? How does it figure in success?
What is Spirituality?
Listen, success arises as much from spiritual abilities as from intellectual means, yet too often we shy away. We think that a spiritual person will go on and on about God, or their religion, or their church. We think that they will repeat the dogma that we were exposed to early in life. Frankly, too many of us have had enough of that already!
So again, What is Spirituality? Why is the issue of spirituality important to success?
If we want to have the benefits of being successful, (you know, the nice house, the new car, the holidays, the reputation and so on), well, how does that tie in with what everyone tells us that the "good" people do?
Don't good people give their time and money to charitable activities?
When good people get money, don't they give it to the poor people?
Doesn't that make them poor too?
Isn't it good to be poor? Isn't that what we're told when we're small? I mean...
...won't us poor folk eventually inherit the earth or something?
Now, I don't mind admitting, I wasn't sure about inheriting the earth, but an advance payment wouldn't have gone amiss!
What is Spirituality?
Let's build up from basics. Here's how it goes:
...What is Spirituality?... picture courtesy PDP
If we want to define "Spirit", there are two essential aspects:
Spirit is incorporeal; It is body-less, floating about, free of any physical encumbrance. (Think of a ghost that wanders through walls etc.)
Spirit is the "essence" of a thing; It is the defining elements, the core of a thing, the identifying aspects, the real, often unchanging centre of a thing. So we talk about a child being a "happy" spirit, or a neighbour being a "kindly" spirit.
If we talk about someone being spiritual, what we are saying is that they are operating or acting from their spirit, from their core. They are acting from their own "truth" of who they are.
We understand that at some level they recognise and have an awareness of their own "truth". A large part of that "truth" is that their "essence" defines a great deal of who they are, what they do, and how they live their life. And, from that perspective, they are able to have some awareness of the "truth" (or true nature, or essence) of other people, and other existences.
...we exist inseparably with those things... picture courtesy PDP
In other words, we start to see ourselves as one life that cannot exist separately from other lives.
We have an individual existence and we have a joint existence.
And those two existences cannot exist independently.
I cannot exist without interacting with other existences - not necessarily people, a dog has an existence, a tree has an existence, a rock has an existence. If we deepen our understanding of the spirit of those things then we also deepen our understanding of ourselves, because we exist inseparably with those things.
"Yes, but isn't 'spirit' something to do with God? Or religion? Or something like that?" I hear you ask.
The answer is both yes, and no!
Some people believe in a deity or deities that created the universe and everything in it, including humankind. In exploring the nature of this 'god', (and I use the term generically, and singular implying plural as required) common themes emerged. God is:
omnipresent (present everywhere)
and significantly, always the same, never-changing, constant in essence.
In short, 'god', has essence and an existence that can only be incorporeal - body-less. 'God' has to be 'spirit' to accommodate a 'god-nature'!
If someone acted in accordance with the predominant, widely accepted, conventional ideas of what constituted 'god', i.e. what a religion proclaimed 'god' to be, that person's spirit was likened to the 'god-spirit'. They were, 'spiritual'.
So, at last, What is Spirituality?
Spirituality is the actual act of acting from the core, from their own awareness of who they really are.
It may help to point out that answering "What is Spirituality?" is the process of acting from the core, whilst "Spiritual" is the nature of acting from the core.
Spirituality is concerned with "what" the act is; spiritual is concerned with "how" the acting from the core is done.
So how does Spirituality figure in success?
Having tackled "What is Spirituality?", we need to explore its benefits, especially in relation to how it can make our lives better.
Spirituality gives us other perspectives on life. And sometimes, other perspectives can help us.
So far through the Success Foundations section of this site, we've looked at our lives from:
a physical perspective,
an intellectual perspective and
an emotional perspective.
By and large, those perspectives look at life from the point of view of the individual. The individual assessing their own physical existence, their own intellect and rational mind, and their own emotions.
A spiritual perspective however sees an individual life as being inseparable from all other existences.
A spiritual perspective lets us share that common existence, and allows us to see our individual life from the perspective of those around us in a deep and meaningful way.
We can assess what our boss, our partner, our parents, our children, our neighbours, our dog, our garden, our car, could determine about the essence of our being by observing the way we talk, the way we act, the way we express ourselves.
In being able to see ourselves from those perspectives, we open ourselves to a feedback mechanism that allows us to adjust the way we present ourselves to the world.
If we return to our idea of a creative, omnipotent, omnipresent, all-knowing and constant 'god', we can also conjecture a look at our life from the perspective of 'god', and in so doing, move our spirit closer to that god-ideal. In essence (no pun intended), spirituality moves us closer to being more 'god'-like! It moves us toward being creative, omnipotent, omnipresent, all-knowing and constant.
That's not such a bad thing!
Here's the clever incidental bit about understanding "What is Spirituality?"
It is in developing those different ways of "seeing" how others see us - our spirit - that we start to discover, develop and understand things like:
our core beliefs
other people's belief systems
our thought processes
Of course, the list is not complete. Exploring spirituality is an ongoing voyage of discovery. Much of what you'll learn along the way will help in understanding and reaching success. But, in the final analysis, your spiritual nature - your "spirituality" - is unique to you, that voyage of discovery is unique to you.
That means, that you are the only person who can really answer "What is Spirituality?