Spirituality, like Science, is a field of research and study. We want to understand ourselves, the world around us, and what it means to be alive on Earth. We want to discover who we really are, and we want to understand our suffering. Understanding our suffering gives rise to acceptance and love, and this is what determines our quality of life. We all need to be understood and to be loved. And we all want to understand and to love. All of this is a part of our spiritual journey.
Is spirituality religion?
No, it’s not. Spirituality is a path for us to generate happiness, understanding and love, so we can live deeply each moment of our life. Having spiritual dimension in our life does not mean escaping life or dwelling in a place of bliss outside this world but discovering ways to handle life’s difficulties and generate peace, joy and happiness right where we are, on this beautiful planet.
Like every species on Earth, we are always seeking the ideal conditions that will allow us to live to our fullest potential. We want to do more than just survive. We want to live. But what does it mean to be alive? What does it mean to die? What happens when we die? Is there reincarnation? Will we see our loved ones again? Do we have a soul that goes to heaven or nirvana or God? These questions are in everyone’s hearts. This itself forms the basis of spirituality that exists in every human being. The answers, on the other hand, are found in religions, and therefore, may not be universal.
Can there be spirituality without religion?
It would be very sad if there were no such possibility. After all, we are “rational minds” of the twenty-first century. We doubt, we question, and we are not satisfied until we see the evidence. Spirituality, for the rational mind, cannot be a question of faith or belief.
Thankfully, we have an alternative.
We can consider spirituality outside religion too. It is all about looking deeply. We still do the same things, ask the existential questions, but this time we enquire more, experience more, instead of believing everything that comes our way.
To meditate is to look deeply and see the things that we were previously unable to see. Many of us don’t really know ourselves that well. We think we do, but when we observe closely, the results are different. We see our thoughts as someone would see the night sky from a polluted city. It’s all hazy and unclear — and we can’t make sense of it. Starting a spiritual journey is like going up in the mountains where we begin to notice the twinkling, starry lights. It’s liberating.
With the insights of science and spirituality, we have an opportunity in the twenty-first century to conquer the root causes of human suffering. Spirituality for Modern Age does not have to stay in the realm of gods; it can be discussed in public, studied in educational institutions and practised with an open mind.