The Meaning of Spirituality
by Ben Tousey , Examiner.com
A while back I posted an article on atheism in which I said that I believed atheism was also a spiritual path. I talked about spirituality as being about searching for our connection to this thing called the Universe, and that all of us were, in one way or another, looking for that. Science, I believe, is also that search for our connection.
One of the comments that came back was that I was redefining the word ‘spirituality.’ While I even made that point in the article, I wanted to talk further about that point here. It is true that the term spirituality is still defined as; ‘concerning sacred matter or religion,’ or ‘concerned with or affecting the Spirit or Soul, ‘ and, as the comment pointed out, ‘lacking material body or form or substance…’ this is becoming less and less how the term is used in the common vernacular. It is now commonplace to hear people say, “I’m spiritual, but I’m not religious,” when referring to their own path.
The English language is a living language, and therefore it’s constantly changing. Remember when the word ‘windows’ meant ‘pane of glass’ and cracker was a ‘thin toasted wafer’? How about when the word ‘hood’ referred to an attachment to a parka? ‘Word’ used to refer to a series of letters contrasted to make a recognizable piece of a sentence. Now it’s a term of recognition and agreement… we’ve even changed the spelling from “word” to “wurd.”
The term spirituality is often spoken of in terms of contrast to religion, and those who use the term often use it to infer that there are many ‘paths’ and that the ultimate goal is not ‘Heaven,’ but a connection to what many call “The Source.” This leaves a lot of room for interpretation since nobody knows how to define this Source… so it all rolls up into this thing called “The Universe.” In other words, spirituality is about whatever path makes the most sense to the individual, even if that path says that there is nothing hidden behind the Universe, but instead what you see is what you get. Occasionally, you will even hear the term “secular spirituality” bandied about, which many proponents use to refer to the concept of ‘living happy lives,’ without any real spiritual ‘path.’
So when I say that atheists are spiritual, I am, by no means, lumping them in with any particular group, while at the same time, I am lumping them in with all of us. We all breathe oxygen and none of us would survive more than three minutes without it. We all ride on top of the Earth while it orbits a star we call the sun, and we all wonder what we should fill those days with while we’re here. Some of us even wonder what happens when the body stops functioning. That is how I define spirituality, and I think that is also how spirituality is being redefined in our culture.
So, to repeat! Yes, I am redefining spirituality. I think we all are, and that’s a great thing.
source: Ben Tousey Examiner.com from Seattle