What is spirituality
It's often said that people just need to reason and then the need for religion and spirituality automatically disappears. But is that true? Is spirituality just for the areas we don't understand? Something for the soul, for instance, even though we don't exactly understand what the soul is.
The English Oxford Dictionary defines spirituality as: 'Relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.'
In this definition, spiritual is seen as the opposite of material or physical. It is a segment of life that sometimes needs more attention. If everything out there is just stuff, just something you can touch, then maybe it's just quite empty.
There's a need for this untouchable but very real reality, a need to be fulfilled. So, let's dive a little bit deeper into the spirituality.
Everything Is Spiritual
Did you know there’s no word for spiritual in the old Hebrew language? Hebrew is the language of the first three-quarters of the Bible, what we call the Old Testament which is actually the Bible used by Jesus.
You can look up the word spiritual in every book of the Old Testament, from the first book, Genesis to the last book, Malachi, you will not be able to find it there. Why? Because in the ancient Hebrew worldview, all of life is spiritual.
Spirituality In Ancient Cultures
In ancient cultures, you can find a lot of spirituality. But often outside of something that feels like proven or validated.
In these cultures, they were not concerned about escaping the fallen and sinful world and go to heaven or the next world and the purpose of spirituality was not to flee to 'a better world' or something.
We can learn from the native religions, among other things, that land cannot be owned and Spirit cannot be divided. The Earth and all its inhabitants belong to the Creator who made them. We are called to live in harmony with each other and all created things.
Creating harmony is a central idea in most indigenous religions.
Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon wrote in their book 'Earth Prayers' about these native religions:
'They make it clear that we humans are not here simply as transients waiting for a ticket to somewhere else. The Earth itself is Christos, is Buddha, is Allah, is Gaia.'
That sounds surprisingly familiar to what Jesus taught: heaven is here and now, within us (Luke 17:21).
So let's make a conclusion, shall we? Everything is spiritual. And because of that everything matters.
Not only the things we traditionally labelled as spiritual but also all ordinary things. When you change in your idea of life in the broadest sense and also your idea of your own life, you step in a whole new dimension. Then suddenly nothing is unimportant.
As said, you cannot find the word spiritual in the Old Testament of the Bible. But also in the New Testament it's different than mostly understood.
The word pnuematikos, or 'spiritual', does show up. Most people think spiritual means esoteric, immaterial, otherworldly, enigmatic or deep, mystic experiences with God. But when it's used, it means 'animated by the Spirit of God'.
You know the word pneumatic? That's where this word is linked to. There's a power in us, something driving us every day to do what we're called to do. Here, on Earth.
Surprisingly this 'spiritual' thing has nothing to do with the difference between material and immaterial.
God Is Everywhere
Have you ever asked yourself the question: 'where is God?' A simple and straightforward answer to this question is: God is everywhere. He is not separated somewhere from our reality, there are no places where he isn't. So, do you want to meet God? Well, you cannot not be in the presence of God!
Where is God when bad things happen? This is a real question many people struggle with.
In an old poem from the Bible, Psalm 139, the poet writes that he cannot escape from God. There's no place to hide if he wished. There's no place to travel to and be too far away from the creator. Even in the situation you're descending into hell you will experience God is there. God is there, even in suffering, but it will stay a mystery.
God is either in all things, or God is in nothing
God is with you
Have you ever been in a church where a priest says 'may God be with you' and the people in the church respond 'and also with you'? Often you can accept God is somewhere in a church or another holy place, in the rituals, in the chanting and singing, in the prayers and the blessings.
But don't forget God is not only there, he's everywhere. He travels with you. He's there when you are alone and he's there when you are meeting other people even when you meet people with different lifestyles and worldviews.
The old scriptures tell us that we're all created by the image of God. They also say that God is everywhere.
The Jewish rabbi Jesus spent a lot of energy in breaking down the idea that God is here but that he's not there. He was seen, as a friend of sinners. At the same time, he showed and told he's the God-sent-saviour.
Jesus dared to see God everywhere, even in sinners, in enemies, in failures and in outsiders.
Change of view
Have you thought of your life as separated into spiritual and material? What changes if you consider all of it spiritual activity?