What is Spirituality?

Spirituality is the belief that there is more to life than meets the senses — that there is more to the universe than mere purposeless mechanics, and more to consciousness than electrical impulses in the brain. It is a quest for meaning, peace and mystery. Spirituality can be found in religion, but also through non-religious activities such as meditation, quiet time in nature, prayer or yoga. It is a trend that has been gaining momentum in North America. A substantial and rising percentage of people identify as “spiritual” but not religious, and that number is likely to increase as we move into the future.

While definitions and descriptions of spirituality vary, many researchers agree that core themes include: meaning and purpose; beliefs, values and standards (related to beauty, worth and truth); transcendence; connecting (to self, others, God or a higher power, the environment); and becoming (the unfolding of life that is reflected and experienced). These are not mutually exclusive, as some aspects may be combined into one experience.

A number of people find meaningful spiritual experiences through their religion, but just as many seek spiritual experiences through non-religious activities such as walking in nature, listening to music or attending a concert. In addition, some people seek spiritual experiences in specific places or under particular conditions, such as a church, temple or mosque. Service is often a spiritual activity, whether it be feeding the poor, social reform, translation of scriptures or supporting online communities.