Spirituality is a concept that encompasses a vast array of meanings, connotations, and practices. It is important to approach this topic with deep respect for the diversity of spiritual beliefs and leaders. From my nearly decade-long experience in coaching and consulting with patients worldwide, particularly those dealing with lifestyle diseases and end-of-life challenges, I have gained profound insights into the nature of life, suffering, and death. In this article, I would like to share my personal perspective on spirituality and how it relates to cultivating spiritual maturity.
Firstly, it is important to clarify that spirituality has nothing to do with religion. Many people often ask, “How can I be spiritual?” The truth is, you do not have to be spiritual because you already are. There is a spirit within you, but perhaps the connection between you and the spirit has weakened or been lost over time.
Each one of us has a spirit, and spirituality is a practice that nourishes the spirit within us. When the connection with our spirit is broken due to comparisons, pulling others down, whining, blaming, criticizing, or complaining, we start to vibrate at a very low frequency, which is not strong enough to lift our spirits. When one is not aligned with their spirit, their self-esteem is low, and they seek validation from others. Therefore, aligning with one’s spirit or authentic self is essential for fulfilment.
Spirituality can be a personal journey that involves connecting with something within oneself and experiencing inner peace and authentic joy. Regardless of the specific spiritual path one follows or whether they identify themselves as religious or not, the fundamental principles of spirituality remain unchanged.
The first principle that spirituality is founded upon is the act of respecting and honouring the gift of life—the gift that is you. Spirituality begins with the self. It requires us to recognize and value the precious gift we have been given. Each one of us is a unique and irreplaceable creation, and there is immeasurable intelligence and worth embedded within the gift of life. Unfortunately, many individuals claim to be spiritual while simultaneously disrespecting their bodies and health through excessive alcohol consumption or substance abuse.
How can one claim to be spiritual when one fails to honour and care for the very vessel through which they experience in life. Without first honouring oneself, it becomes impossible to extend that honour to anything or anyone else. True kindness towards others can only emerge from a foundation of self-kindness. Therefore, while we can immerse ourselves in various spiritual paths, we must remember that spirituality begins within ourselves.’
The second vital principle is the practice of compassion. Compassion lies at the heart of spirituality. To me, compassion means suffering together and taking steps to alleviate that suffering. Even the simple act of offering a listening ear and genuine understanding can be a profound demonstration of compassion. When we practice compassion, we actively engage in empathy and extend our care and support to those in need.
Another crucial aspect of spirituality is the practice itself. Despite the abundance of spiritual knowledge available, many people continue to seek more and more. The reason behind this perpetual seeking is often a lack of practice. How many of us genuinely practice compassion, forgiveness, letting go, and kindness in our daily lives? Putting our spiritual learnings into action is fundamental to true spirituality. It is through consistent practice that we embody the principles and values we hold dear. Spirituality does not need to be a convoluted or inaccessible path. For some, spirituality may be as simple as adopting kindness or engaging in selfless service toward others.
It is a common phenomenon for people to strive tirelessly in their quest for spirituality, seeking out gurus and spiritual leaders for guidance. However, we must remember that every one of us is already a spiritual being. We all possess an innate spirit within us. To reconnect with our spirit, we need to clear away these hindrances. This can be achieved through practices such as meditation, immersing ourselves in nature, embracing silence, cultivating meaningful relationships, engaging in prayer, and learning from spiritual scriptures and wisdom teachings that have been passed down through generations in the form of stories to be studied and practised. Practices such as prayer, self-reflection, exercise, social work, and focusing on activities that bring joy and fulfilment can help us align with our spirit. Releasing the ego, practising compassion, and wishing the best for others contribute to connecting with the spirit inside and finding inner peace. Spirituality, belief, prayers, and hope help us align with our spirit.
Spiritual maturity is a transformative journey that begins with self-respect and self-care. It involves embodying compassion, practising the principles we hold dear, and nurturing Spiritual Maturity – A path to enlighten ingeniousness our innate spirit. Spirituality need not be an esoteric or elusive pursuit; rather, it can be as simple as adopting kindness and selfless service in our daily lives. By cultivating spiritual maturity, we awaken our ingenuity, deepening our understanding of ourselves, others, and the world around us.
- Luke is a Holistic Lifestyle Coach – Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine and Founder of You Care –
All about YOU by Luke Coutinho