# How do you define being spiritual ?
Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. It means different things for different people. In general, spirituality refers to creating a deeper connection to something that is bigger than ourselves….something that touches one from within and makes one feel more alive and interconnected!!! In that respect, all of us are spiritual in a certain way. We are different only in the way we express it.
Some people express their spirituality in a religious way- by getting associated with religious beliefs and symbols, whereas some nurture their spirit by developing a deeper connection to nature, music or art, reading, running, gardening or by associating themselves with a cause and others by just living ethically. As we keep growing and evolving in our life adapting to different experiences and relationships, our personal definition of spirituality also keeps changing.
Many times we get confused between being spiritual and religious. How they interconnect depends on how one relates to them. One can definitely find spirituality through religion. However being religious doesn’t always mean being spiritual, more so when you start connecting to religion through rituals in a superstitious and dogmatic approach.
# Why do people seek spirituality ?
Modern life is filled with situations where we are constantly running towards any deadline….and situations which lead to anxiety about the future and stress associated with it. Add to this the current situation of pandemic which has created more upheaval in our daily lives. With so many factors beyond our control, our life-state seems to be shifting from moment to moment….constantly doubting our actions, thinking of implicit consequences!! In times like this, one urges for an anchor within that keeps one emotionally stable and which helps us to respond better to extreme situations around us.
Spirituality gives us that strong core that helps us reveal our own wisdom, courage and compassion to do our best, be our best and feel our best. It gradually helps one develop emotional resilience to be in harmony with ourselves and with the world around us.
Notwithstanding the intangible benefits of being more at peace within ourselves, there are also visible benefits of being on this journey. It helps one develop the strength to find meaning in life’s difficult circumstances. Dr. Steven Southwick in his book, “Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges”, describes how spiritual strength develops resilience in people to overcome personal trauma. He gives many real life examples in the book where a spiritual connection helped people find ways to “meet the challenge, bounce back from them and give them the purpose to move ahead in their lives”.
A spiritual outlook helps one make healthier choices in life! Research proves that people who are more at harmony within themselves are less likely to become addicted to alcohol, drugs or to be involved in any violent activity . It may also make you live longer. An exhaustive review on the impact of spirituality on mortality by Giancarlo Lucchetti, lead author of the study, says that people with a strong spiritual life had an 18% reduction in mortality. He cites much scientific evidence in his research article about the existence of a positive relationship between religious and spiritual practices and better health outcomes.
Bhagavad Gita teaches that each one of us is on a spiritual journey in the human form. As we connect deeper within ourselves to our higher self, it becomes easier to let go of blame and hurt and to forgive. Every religious /spiritual philosophy talks about the harm of holding grudges and negativity inside the concerned person more than the one whom we feel resentful towards. Modern science has proven the numerous health benefits of forgiveness: better immune function, lowered blood pressure, improved cardiovascular health, and longer life span. Spirituality makes one appreciate forgiveness not only for others but also to be compassionate and kind towards oneself!