Spirituality

philosophical and theological term

Spirituality concerns itself with matters of the spirit, a concept closely tied to religious belief and faith, a transcendent reality, or one or more deities. Spiritual matters are thus those matters regarding humankind's ultimate nature and meaning, not only as material biological organisms, but as beings with a unique relationship to that which is perceived to be Reality beyond the bodily senses, time and the material world.

The word spiritual means the active betterment of life for all people, for the most people. Spiritual is anything which brings a man or woman to a higher state of life, whether that is on the physical, the emotional-astral, the mental, or on the spiritual or soul plane. Anything which is towards the betterment of humanity is fundamentally spiritual; it is not only a religious thing. The religious path is only one path. So we have to create structures — political, economic, and social — which are fundamentally spiritual... ~Benjamin Creme
Spirituality is much wider than any particular religion, and in the larger ideas of it that are now coming on us even the greatest religion becomes no more than a broad sect or branch of the one universal religion, by which we shall understand in the future man's seeking for the eternal, the divine, the greater self, the source of unity and his attempt to arrive at some equation, some increasing approximation of the values of human life with the eternal and the divine values. ~Sri Aurobindo
The reason for the corrupt politics and the greedy ambitious planning of so many of the world's leading men, can be found in the fact that the spiritually minded men and women have not assumed - as their spiritual duty and responsibility - the leadership of the people. They have left the power in the wrong hands and permitted the selfish and the undesirable to lead... Spirituality is essentially the establishing of right human relations, the promotion of goodwill, and finally the establishing of a true peace on earth... ~Alice Bailey
Spirituality represents the specialization and detachment of profundity from everyday life into a disembodied, disconnected, symbolic realm that becomes compensatory for an everyday life whose immanence is banality. ~ John Landau

QuotesEdit

  • Spirituality is much wider than any particular religion, and in the larger ideas of it that are now coming on us even the greatest religion becomes no more than a broad sect or branch of the one universal religion, by which we shall understand in the future man's seeking for the eternal, the divine, the greater self, the source of unity and his attempt to arrive at some equation, some increasing approximation of the values of human life with the eternal and the divine values.
  • The reason for the corrupt politics and the greedy ambitious planning of so many of the world's leading men, can be found in the fact that the spiritually minded men and women have not assumed - as their spiritual duty and responsibility - the leadership of the people. They have left the power in the wrong hands and permitted the selfish and the undesirable to lead...Spirituality is essentially the establishing of right human relations, the promotion of goodwill, and finally the establishing of a true peace on earth...
  • Later, when the [human] race sees its problem with clarity, it will act with wisdom, and train with care its Observers and Communicators. These will be men and women in whom the intuition has awakened at the behest of an urgent intellect; they will be people whose minds are so subordinated to the group good, and so free from all sense of separativeness, that their minds present no impediment to the contact with the world of reality and of inner truth. They will not necessarily be people who could be termed "religious" in the ordinary sense of that word, but they will be men of goodwill, of high mental calibre, with minds well stocked and equipped; they will be free from personal ambition and selfishness, animated by love of humanity, and by a desire to help the race. Such a man is a spiritual man.
    • Alice Bailey in A Treatise on the Seven Rays: Volume 1: Esoteric Psychology I. p. 181 (1936)
  • What is the spiritual battle? Well, the soul is a garden divided into two parts. On one half are planted thorny bushes, and on the other half flowers. We also have a water pump with two taps and two channels. The one guides the water to the thorns and the other to the flowers. I always have the choice to open one or the other tap. I leave the thorns without water and they dry up, I water the flowers and they blossom.
    • Porphyrios Bairaktaris, Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit - The Lives and Counsels of Contemporary Elders of Greece, p. 170
  • To that manifested Presence the name of "the Christ" may rightly be given, and it was He who lived and moved in the form of the man Jesus over the hills and plains of Palestine, teaching, healing diseases, and gathering round Him as disciples a few of the more advanced souls. The rare charm of His royal love, outpouring from Him as rays from a sun, drew round Him the suffering, the weary, and the oppressed, and the subtly tender magic of His gentle wisdom purified, ennobled, and sweetened the lives that came into contact with His own... By parable and luminous imagery He taught the uninstructed crowds who pressed around Him, and, using the powers of the free Spirit, He healed many a disease by word or touch, reinforcing the magnetic energies belonging to His pure body with the compelling force of His inner life... The teachers and rulers of His nation soon came to eye Him with jealousy and anger; His spirituality was a constant reproach to their materialism, His power a constant, though silent, exposure of their weakness. p. 136
    • Annie Besant in Esoteric Christianity: Or, The Lesser Mysteries (1914)
  • The historical Christ, then, is a glorious Being belonging to the great spiritual hierarchy that guides the spiritual evolution of humanity, who used for some three years the human body of the disciple Jesus; who spent the last of these three years in public teaching... who was a healer of diseases and performed other remarkable occult works; who gathered round Him a small band of disciples whom He instructed in the deeper truths of the spiritual life; who drew men to Him by the singular love and tenderness and the rich wisdom that breathed from His Person; and who was finally put to death for blasphemy, for teaching the inherent Divinity of Himself and of all men. p.141
    • Annie Besant in Esoteric Christianity: Or, The Lesser Mysteries (1914)
Ian Gray:  They have two: smell and touch.  Why?
Sofi Elizondo:  So, they live without any ability to see or even know about light, right?  The notion of light to them is unimaginable.
Ian Gray:  Yeah.
Sofi Elizondo:  But we humans, we know that light exists—all around them, right on top of them, they cannot sense it.  But with a little mutation, they do.  Right?
Ian Gray:  Correct.
Sofi Elizondo:  So, Doctor Eye, perhaps some humans, rare humans, have mutated to have another sense—a spirit sense—and can perceive a world that is right on top of us, everywhere, just like the light on these worms.
  • The contemplation of celestial things will make a man both speak and think more sublimely and magnificently when he descends to human affairs.
    • Cicero, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 562.
  • I would not expect religion to be the right tool for sequencing the human genome and by the same token would not expect science to be the means to approaching the supernatural. But on the really interesting larger questions, such as ‘Why are we here?’ or ‘Why do human beings long for spirituality?,’ I find science unsatisfactory. Many superstitions have come into existence and then faded away. Faith has not, which suggests it has reality.
  • The word spiritual means the active betterment of life for all people, for the most people. Spiritual is anything which brings a man or woman to a higher state of life, whether that is on the physical, the emotional-astral, the mental, or on the spiritual or soul plane. Anything which is towards the betterment of humanity is fundamentally spiritual; it is not only a religious thing. The religious path is only one path. So we have to create structures — political, economic, and social — which are fundamentally spiritual...
  • What is needed is applied, practical spirituality. For the last 2,000 years we have had many ideals: of brotherhood and sisterhood, a recognition that we are all God's children, a desire for peace on earth, goodwill to all men, and so on. We enunciate it every Christmas, once a year, and repeat it at Easter, perhaps... because we have only a notion of spirituality... The Master Djwhal Khul says categorically that one of the greatest triumphs for the forces of evil, the forces of materiality, is the fact that the religious groups have monopolized the idea of spirituality: whatever is religious is automatically spiritual (whether in fact it is or not) and everything else can be as corrupt as we like. Business is corrupt, politics is corrupt, economic systems are corrupt. But religion is thought to be exempt from this corruption; that is `spiritual'.
  • Whenever you wash dishes, cook, or clean, if you make no sound, this is smartness itself. A person who enters a house and makes a lot of noise is revealing a lack of spirituality; even cats and dogs do not make unnecessary sounds, and man as he naturally is does not make any either.
  • See the person's eating and cooking, and then you can judge his or her spirituality.
  • Spirituality represents the specialization and detachment of profundity from everyday life into a disembodied, disconnected, symbolic realm that becomes compensatory for an everyday life whose immanence is banality.
  • The First Truth is an assertion that all manifested life is sorrow, unless man knows how to live it... the Cause of Sorrow is always desire. If a man has no desires, if he is not striving for place or power or wealth, then he is equally tranquil whether the wealth or position comes or whether it goes. He remains unruffled and serene.... Being human, he will of course wish for this or that, but always mildly and gently, so that he does not allow himself to be disturbed...
  • Certain broad facts are always put before men in some form or other. They are explained even to savage tribes by their medicine-men, and to the rest of mankind by various religious teachers and in all kinds of scriptures. It is very true that scriptures and religions differ, but the points in which they all agree have to be accepted by a man before he can understand life sufficiently to live happily. One of these facts is the eternal Law of Cause and Effect. If a man lives under the delusion that he can do anything that he likes, and that the effect of his actions will never recoil upon himself, he will most certainly find that some of these actions eventually involve him in unhappiness and suffering. If, again, he does not understand that the object of his life is progress, that God’s Will for him is that he shall grow to be something better and nobler than he is now, then also he will bring unhappiness and suffering upon himself, because he will be likely to live for the lower side of life only, and that lower side of life never finally satisfies the inner man.
  • It is doubtful whether we may name any weak thing as typically spiritual.
    • Alice Meynell, John Ruskin (Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1900), p. 78
  • A physical man does not receive the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot get to know [them], because they are examined spiritually. However, the spiritual man examines indeed all things, but he himself is not examined by any man.
  • These things we also speak, not with words taught by human wisdom, but with those taught by [the] spirit, as we combine spiritual [matters] with spiritual [words].
  • Everything spiritual is so individual that everyone should sense precisely with his heart what is particularly close to him and follow this path. I am so fond of a statement in the Bagavad Gita, this finest pearl of the Eastern writings, that I never tire of repeating it, and so I shall quote it to you as well. "Man comes to Me by various paths, but by whatever path man comes to Me, on that path I welcome him, for all paths are Mine."
  • I, at any rate, acknowledge only one master, not forty-five million two-legged sheep, or two thousand million, but simply and absolutely the spirit.
  • Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it's no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing. Is fear preventing you from taking action? Acknowledge the fear, watch it, take your attention into it, be fully present with it. Doing so cuts the link between the fear and your thinking. Don't let the fear rise up into your mind. Use the power of the Now. Fear cannot prevail against it.
    If there is truly nothing that you can do to change your here and now, and you can't remove yourself from the situation, then accept your here and now totally by dropping all inner resistance. The false, unhappy self that loves feeling miserable, resentful, or sorry for itself can then no longer survive. This is called surrender. Surrender is not weakness. There is great strength in it. Only a surrendered person has spiritual power.
  • Many people are already aware of the difference between spirituality and religion. They realize that having a belief system, a set of thoughts that you regard as the absolute truth – does not make you spiritual no matter what the nature of those beliefs is. In fact, the more you make your thoughts (beliefs) into your identity, the more cut off you are from the spiritual dimension within yourself.
  • The new spirituality, the transformation of consciousness, is arising to a large extent outside of the structures of the existing institutionalized religions. There were always pockets of spirituality even in mind dominated religions, although the institutionalized hierarchies felt threatened by them and often tried to suppress them. A large scale opening of spirituality outside of the religious structures is an entirely new development. In the past, this would have been inconceivable, especially in the West, the most mind dominated of all cultures, where the Christian church had a virtual franchise on spirituality. You couldn’t just stand up and give a spiritual talk or publish a spiritual book unless you were sanctioned by the church, and if you were not, they would quickly silence you.
    • Eckhart Tolle, in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (2005)
  • Partly as a result of the spiritual teachings that have arisen outside the established religions, but also due to an influx of the ancient Eastern wisdom teachings, a growing number of followers of traditional religions are able to let go of identification with form, dogma, and rigid belief systems and discover the original depth that is hidden within their own spiritual tradition at the same time as they discover the depth within themselves. They realize that how “spiritual” you are has nothing to do with what you believe but everything to do with your state of consciousness. This, in turn, determines how you act in the world and interact with others.
    • Eckhart Tolle, in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (2005)

See alsoEdit

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