Spirituality encompasses a broad range of ideas and practices. It encompasses belief in something greater than oneself, seeking answers to the universe’s bigger questions, a sense of being connected to others and the world as a whole, and a focus on finding meaning and purpose in life. It may involve religious traditions that focus on a higher power, or it can be rooted in non-religious beliefs such as pantheism and naturalism.
Many of the things that people do to feel more connected with the universe are considered spiritual, such as meditating, journaling, yoga, exercising and spending time in nature. In fact, nearly half of all survey respondents say that they pursue at least one of these activities on a regular basis. These are also the types of practices that help promote mental wellness and can be viewed as forms of self-care.
Most of the participants in my research believe that contemporary Western culture is far too outward focused, glorifying material success and procurement at the expense of other important aspects of life. Similarly, they believe that modern science is too focused on the material side of life and is neglecting the spiritual dimension.
They would like to see the two worlds merged, recognizing that the spiritual and the psychological are both integral parts of human existence. This can be a difficult concept for some to grasp, but many religious and non-religious traditions have a long history of doing so. For example, Goddess religions invest nature and the body with spiritual value, Native Americans regard every interaction as a spiritual experience, Judaism encourages taking the mundane and making it holy, and Hindus seek signs of Spirit in anything from the smallest object to a human being.