As we grow older, many of us who have never seriously practiced a religion begin to feel the urge to seek a sense of connection with God or Spirit .
I believe that this comes about as we gain wisdom and knowledge from our life-experience and come to the realisation that the earth, life and humanity didn’t just happen-it’s simply too amazing, and the more our understanding of science, nature and the universe has grown, it has become even more obvious to many of us that there has to be some form of “non-local” energy or force that has orchestrated it.
This has given rise to an ever growing interest in what has been termed “Spirituality” since the 1980’s
In this article I will give you an overview of Spirituality and Spirit, and what is meant by the term “Living From Your Soul” as I understand it. There are no widely agreed definitions for the concept of soul, spirit or spirituality; I have shared just a few from respected best selling authors in the addendum to this article.
According to Wikipedia, Spirituality has emerged as a distinct social construct since the 1980’s. With the emergence of spirituality as a concept, distinct from religion, not surprisingly, tension has arisen between the two constructs.
Many people have long held beliefs about religion, and are not open to modifying or challenging them. Having this position is their right, and we should respect that. All human beings have the gift of free will and nobody has the right to try to deprive them of that – no matter how much we may disagree with that view.
So what are Soul, Spirit and Spirituality?
Before proceeding I think that it would be helpful to clarify the meaning of the terms “soul, spirit and spirituality” which are often used interchangeably -which is not really correct.
Put simply, spirit is the “universal consciousness” or “energy” that is all around us; both within the worlds atmosphere and the whole Universe; whereas our Soul is one of the 3 aspects of every human being (i.e.mind, body and soul),so it is actually part of us, and it is also the channel or gateway through which spirit connects to us, and through which we connect to the universe.
The term “spirituality” is now frequently used in contexts in which the term “religion” was formerly employed.
People who consider themselves to be spiritual, usually believe that there is a Universal life-force that created the Universe, and that all life is basically part of that force. Spirituality sees divinity (spirit) within every living thing.
As we get older and gain more life-experience and wisdom, we tend to feel an inner desire to develop a better understanding of spirit, our soul and our relationship to it, i.e. connecting with our “higher-selves” – however you personally define that.
It is only by gaining an understanding of, and a closer connection to our “spiritual-selves” that can we find and truly understand our life-purpose.
I have been on my own spiritual journey now for many years; I have read countless books and articles, and the internet has made it easier to access material, but at the same time more confusing, due to the volume of information that is available, and the varying opinions and beliefs of the many “experts”one comes across.
Spiritual growth is about becoming more compassionate and developing a strong desire to serve others, or humanity in general; to make a difference in the lives of other people in any way we can. I believe that all of the above are aspects of one of the most important reasons we are here on this human journey; the recognition that all human beings are equal and part of the “one” – i.e. at the deepest level we are all the same.
My favourite explanation of spirituality and living from the soul
My favourite explanation of spirituality, the soul and synchronicity (connectedness to our soul), was written by Deepak Chopra (author of more than 80 books, including 22 New York Times bestsellers, and translated in over 43 languages).
In his book Synchro Destiny he explains spirituality as follows:
“Following a path of spirituality requires us to gain an understanding of the true nature of reality (and) a willingness to recognise the interconnectedness of all things”
He goes on to say – “Synchrodestiny allows us to see meaning in the world, to understand the connectedness, or synchronicity of all things, to choose the kind of life we want to live, and to fulfill our spiritual journey.”
He explains the nature of the Soul in this way – “We can think of the soul then as having two parts, the vast non-local soul exists at the virtual or spirit level. It is powerful, pure and capable of anything. The personal local part of the soul — is what reaches into our daily lives and holds the essence of who we are. It too is powerful, pure and capable of anything.
The same unbounded potential of the infinite spirit also resides in each and every one of us. Our personal soul, which we think of when we think of our “selves” is an outcropping of the eternal soul.”
He explains further that “Living from the level of the soul means diving past the ego, past the limitations of the mind that harness us to events and outcomes in the physical world”
He also explains that whilst our individual desires are unique to us and our specific circumstances, at the deepest level our desires are all the same. i.e.
– We want to feel safe,
– to be happy and fulfilled,
– we want meaning and purpose in our lives,
– a sense of connection with God or spirit, and
– we want other people to respect us and love us.
So, in essence, we are all heading for the same destination, but we all take different roads on our journey.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief exploration to what is, perhaps the most complex, and important question in our lives: i.e. “who are we and why are we here”
For those of you who are serious about learning to live from your soul, I have recommended 5 quite different books, by 5 of the world’s most respected best-selling authors.
I wish you well on your personal spiritual journey.
Recommended further reading:
- Synchro Destiny –Deepak Chopra, Published in the UK by Ebury Publishing
- Soul Love – Sanaya Roman – Published by H.J Kramer Inc.
- A Path With Heart – Jack Kornfield – Published by Ryder
- The Fifth Agreement – Don Miguel Ruiz – Ameer Allen Publishing (nb This book incorporates “The Four Agreements” his original publication on the same subject)
- The Only Thing That Matters –Neil Donald Walsh – Published and distributed in the UK and Australia by Hay House.
Some useful definitions of spirituality:
Spirituality is a process of personal transformation, either in accordance with traditional religious ideals, or, increasingly, oriented on subjective experience and psychological growth independently of any specific religious context. In a more general sense, it may refer to almost any kind of meaningful activity or blissful experience. There is no single, widely-agreed definition for the concept.- Wikipedia
The new spirituality is that it will produce an experience in human encounters in which we become a living demonstration of the basic spiritual teaching ‘We are all one.’ – Neale Donald Walsch
One of the great gifts of spiritual knowledge is that it realigns your sense of self to something you may not have even ever imagined was within you. Spirituality says that even if you think you’re limited and small, it simply isn’t so. You’re greater and more powerful than you have ever imagined. A great and divine light exists inside of you. This same light is also in everyone you know and in everyone you will ever know in the future. You may think you’re limited to just your physical body and state of affairs — including your gender, race, family, job, and status in life — but spirituality comes in and says “there is more than this.” – Exploring the Meaning of Spirituality By Sharon Janis from Spirituality For Dummies, 2nd Edition
“In my vision the collective unconscious is God; the conscious is man as individual; and the personal unconscious is the interface between them.’’ …’’I have come to believe and have tried to demonstrate that people’s capacity to love, and hence their will to grow, is nurtured not only by the love of their parents during childhood but throughout their lives by grace, or God’s love. This is a powerful force external to their consciousness which operates through the agency of their unconscious as well as through the agency of loving persons other than their parents and through additional ways which we do not understand.” – M. Scott Peck ‘The Road Less Travelled’
Ever since the new wave of spirituality surfaced in the 1960s, people have wondered about the difference between religion and spirituality. The fundamental difference can actually be found in an ordinary dictionary. Religion is defined as a set of beliefs and practices, whereas spirituality is defined as the state of being spiritual. Thus in common language, spirituality is a state of consciousness. It can exist either within or outside of a religion. – Ageless Wisdom
Finally, from one of my favourite authors (again):
The new spirituality will step away from dogma, will step away from ‘We’re right and you’re wrong.’ – Neale Donald Walsch
If you really want more, just Google “What is spirituality” Have fun, I know I did, and still am. The path to true spiritual understanding is a long journey, and one I believe that, at their core, all human beings desire to take.