How Do You Define “Spiritual”?

I think quite a few people think of the word “spiritual” as referring to spirits and hence a reference to the supernatural.

Of course most words have more than one meaning.

I myself use the word in a somewhat different sense — a sense that I guess is ultimately derived from the word’s use to refer to a person’s “spirit”, as in “That’s a very spirited person”, or “She has a pleasant spirit”.

Thus, I use the word “spiritual” to refer to how someone deals with the various issues that arise from the the fact we humans perceive a distinction between an I that observes and things that are observed.  It is that perception that creates the basis for a psychological self or “I”.   I don’t think that use of the word has anything to do with the supernatural.

But what does that word spiritual mean to you?

9 thoughts on “How Do You Define “Spiritual”?

  1. For me, “spiritual” refers to our views on what gives life absolute meaning. This can be linked to supernatural ideas such as God, or to earthly ideas about purpose, beauty, and justice.

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  2. I’m still trying to define what “spirituality” means to me, but I like both yours and Ahab’s definitions. I think it has something to do with a core part of who I am, that part that is often (has always been) disapprovingly admonished to be silent or suppressed or even oppressed — be it by religion or social convention. Shortly after I left my former self-defining (self-betraying, really) faith and was feeling pretty lost, a wise person told me, simply, “Just be true to yourself.” It was like a light came on. Somehow I knew what he meant and I clung to it.

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  3. I suppose “spirituality” makes me less uncomfortable than rating myself in regards to any specific religion…but, I always get a sense of what people are trying to ask is “Are you one of those atheist types – or are you like the rest of us?”

    No, I’m afraid I’m one of those atheist types.

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  4. I used to have a very clear idea of what it meant to be spiritual. I’m not sure I know anymore, but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the part of myself that I’ve been neglecting, and it has nothing to do with the supernatural. For me, I suppose, spirituality speaks of my mind’s connection to my emotions. It has something to do with my ability to sense what is happening deep inside myself and respond to it appropriately.

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