I am so not spiritual.
Inspirational sayings on a sunset background make me gag just like when I accidentally eat a hair in a salad.
I hate yoga. #zzzzzzzzisitoveryet? But maybe I’d do it if there were no chanting and the teacher yelled instead of talking in that breathy voice. And if it were dancing instead of yoga.
Vegan food = what’s the point of living.
If I ever try meditating, it’ll be so I can focus more and waste less time when I’m making money.
When you use the adverb triple “mentally, emotionally and spiritually” I feel like you’ve wasted two words’ worth of my life. What’s the dif?
I have friends who call themselves spiritual. And I’m sure they are. But what does that mean?
What is spirituality?
Is it laughing and frolicking with butterflies and hummingbirds? Believing in the power of crystals? Wearing loose, flowy clothing made from eco-sustainable fibers and sold by a store with an awkwardly feminist name like What A Woman Wants? (This store exists near a friend’s house in San Rafael, California.)
Is it arching your back in silhouette against the rising sun like a spa brochure photo? Saying “Thank the Universe” instead of “Thank God”? Eating chia? Drinking tea? (Fucking tea.)
Is it closing your eyes whenever you’re deeply moved, and inhaling noisily through your nose like you just smelled fresh, hot muffins?
Making eye contact for longer than is necessary? “Holding space” for whatever you hold space for? (Is that like saving room for dessert?)
Grabbing someone’s hand and holding it to your heart, which, let’s face it, is also your boob?
Does it mean talking to spirits? If so, I’m OK with that. I have a good friend who’s a medium. But what about the rest of y’all?
Is it saying only what is necessary, true, and kind? As my Colombian friend Manuel says, “Que boring.”
Does it mean being a good person? Feeling a connection to others? Being aware that there’s something bigger than yourself? OK. But isn’t that just called “not being a narcissistic egomaniac psycho”?
These are my questions, spiritual people. I’m sorry. But I’m sure you’ll forgive me, because that’s very spiritual.
Are you spiritual? If so, what the F does that MEAN?
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.
Davie Park says
Couldn’t agree more, Laura. I have no need of a greater or higher purpose – or of ANY purpose for that matter.
I just am, and that’s ok with me.
my daughter in law is spiritual. she’s the creepiest person i know. she thinks shes the only person that knows how to live and be happy’ because shes spiritual. she’s nothing but a creepy little nut
Seriously a quick google search would’ve answered your question. Spirituality just has to do with your belief in spirits and souls and how much you wanna focus on that supernatural kind of stuff rather than physical. It is completely separate from yoga and chia seeds- which are for fitness and health purposes, completely separate from veganism- which relates to moral beliefs and possibly health as well, and completely separate from meditation, which is actually a psychologist recommended method for controlling anxiety and unwanted thoughts. You can practice all of those things and still have 0% belief in supernatural spirits and souls, regardless of what Instagram stereotypes tell you.
Not to mention you can completely 100% believe in souls and spirits and not practice any of those things!
When I say i am spiritual and not religious I am politely saying I am a Pagan Wiccan Witch who will curse you if you come at me with that Jesus is God crap.
Catalyst Yogi says
To write a blog article like this means that you ARE SPIRITUAL.
Enlightenment is changing the empty toilet paper roll for the next person.
It is the realization that we are all connected by a subtle energy that we can not see with our physical eyes. It is about connection. We have all had the experience of feeling connected to LIFE – through a breathtakingly beautiful sunset – a birth of a child – music that touches our Soul.
True Spirituality is not showy or seeking attention – that’s Ego. Spirituality is what makes you feel like “YOU” which could be dancing, singing, writing, creating, cooking, writing – it is unique to you. It is very private and personal. It is the intimate relationship with your own Soul.
Peter Schwartz says
Do not ask what is it. Let us go and make our visit.
This had me laughing out loud, even as someone who meditates, does Kundalini yoga, drinks tea, talks to spirits & ghosts and takes a shitload of sunset pictures.
I know you weren’t *really* asking but this piece on holding space went viral a couple of weeks ago. Thought you might like a non-fluffy point of view: http://heatherplett.com/2015/03/hold-space/
Peter Schwartz says
Sorry to hear about Benjamin.
Carlyle Coash says
Your question, my friend (if I can call you that) proves to be excellent once again. Age old question with about a million different answers.
You may not know but for the last 16 years my work focused on…guess what? YES! Spirituality. Basically spiritual counseling for children and adults at the end of life. Many a time this “what the heck is spirituality” question was asked of me.
That generally presented the cue to just ask more questions. Answers here become slippery – and frankly if someone has a district answer watch them like a hawk!
Despite this warning I offer some thoughts about your superb question.
Usually spirituality connects to what you feel is essential in the world. Now this does not mean kittens, sausages and endless display cases of chocolatey cake Ms. Belgray! Although exceedingly important of course, this connection strives for something a little deeper. Values maybe. Meaning perhaps.
Is there a purpose to my life? Have I been kind? Is there something more than this sitcom I’m watching? Spiritual themes all, many which take a lifetime to figure out.
I can tell you what spirituality is not.
The silhouette of some photoshopped svelte yoga hottie (any gender will do) on the beach in Mexico as the sun is setting while they do some ridiculous pose. Or some well to do ponce sitting in full lotus making two “OK” signs in their lap with an air of chic cool. Or some over fluffy sugar encased esoteric quote that wants you to embrace some inner whatever.
Sorry. Not spiritual.
Sadly spiritual became co-opted into banality, in the same way the term Zen now is slapped on well…anything really. Soon I’m sure the correctional system will use Zen to describe a neat new solitary confinement cell where those saucy mass murders can go to “chill out” and become one with their inner peaceful dove.
Zenolitary. SoliZEN. Rehazenitation.
Something horrifying. Just a matter of time. You wait and see.
More examples for sure – but basically I’m with your rant above.
So what is this crazy thing called spirituality then? Some additional thoughts.
Spirituality is the 5 year old kid dying of cancer who wants to play Candyland with you, eat popcorn and change the rules as you go. While you play, this incredible kid talks about being ok with dying and getting to see grandma again. And oh yea – do we have any ice cream?
Spirituality is someone showing up every weekend and serving meals to the homeless. Or helping someone walk across the street. Or keeping an elder company during the long stretches of the day when they sit alone in their apartment.
You see where I’m going with this?
I think ultimately spirituality is laid back and not in your face. It’s not trending on Facebook and most of the time it does what it needs to without being announced.
No catch phrases. No slick brochure. No movie of the week.
Just kindness. And compassion. And laughter. And every so often appreciation for an amazing sky, or song, or work of art. And kittens of course. Because they do transcend all boundaries.
Puppies. Whales. Horses. And a few others as well.
Can you tell I have some passion around this? Just a smidge.
My thoughts. Brief as this is a comment box, not a Russian novel entry.
As always thanks for stirring the pot and getting us folks to chime in. Deep bows and respect.
“Spiritual” has become one of those all encompassing words that seems to no longer have any semblance of a clear definition. It’s like the expression, which I abhor, ‘my bad”. What does that even mean? I f..d up and I’m sorry? or I’m sick of hearing your s..t so I will throw you an insincere concession? Anyway- prototypical spirituality seems to be that of my ex hubby’s Korean, crystal healing, channeling the dead, meditating etc. girlfriend (who also never misses a beat when hitting him up for a new handbag). More commonly, I believe most people use the work to encapsulate some sense of peace that used to fall under the religious realm. Now so much of religion is affiliated with blowing people up, so honestly I think we are all at a loss for words.
Michele Bergh says
You crack me up. I don’t like tea, I like variety in my food and sometimes I just want a big red juicy steak.
This one made me laugh so hard! 🙂 I just spent a day at a workshop where almost everything you write about took place and it took some courage to not judge (=laugh) and just go with the flow. (It really paid off)
I consider myself spirtual but not religious, meaning that I believe in my own version of some higher power, but I’m not part of any organized religious movement.
I’m from a mixed religious background and my mom was smart enough to insist her children not be initiated into any religion without having the awareness to choose what we like. So now I have the freedom to choose what I believe in without being bound by any other person’s rules and views of what’s right or wrong.
To me, being spiritual means striving to rid myself of all the convictions of others I’ve unknowingly accepted as my own during my life. Basically, it’s figuring out what *I* like and who *I* am without trying to fulfill expectations. Part of that is ackowledging that I just might be spiritual in the crazy sense that you’re describing and not judging myself for it… 🙂
Peter Schwartz says
Haha. Laura; I can always count on you for a good laugh
Well for me “spiritual” is just a word that aims to convey a feeling. But really that thing that’s felt cannot be named. And so we go and label it under a big ass roof called “spirituality”
And to each person this is different. Which is why for some peeps meditating and hanging out in nature or going on a hike fills them with that feeling and that is what some may call a “spirit” moment/spirituality
And for others it will be all the stuff you described 😉
Actually I think it’s such a charged word because there’s connotations to religion, and for the sheer fact that it means so many different things to different people, and all the stereotypes around it….
This guy explains it perfectly 😉
Love yer work, Laura! Brilliant, as always. Spirituality is BS.
David C Belgray says
I thought I’d indoctrinated you years ago about spirituality.
Just as my mother might have said that mental health is what you eat, I’m sure you are concealing what you really know: that spirituality is breathing heavily at random moments while focusing on your mantra of an NCR cash register ringing out Sinatra tones, on your way to the bank.
C’mon Laura, cut the idle rambling. Get serious!
Love, really! (and spiritually),
Laughing here! Just laughing and shaking my head. You are ornery Miss Shrimp. I know this doesn’t answer your question. Sorry ’bout that. Man laughter is good….for the soul…hahaha! Oh. Sigh
I love you, Laura Belgray, ’cause you don’t pretend anything. The most spiritual people I know are out in the world doing important things, they aren’t concerned with the current buzzwords. You are bold to call out some of the phoniness of faux spirituality which is prevelant in the online self help industry. Everyone seems to be looking for something deeper and more real, but the only place to find it is inside yourself. For me, the best place to experience that elusive stuff is through movement. As simple as walking on the beach or as energetic as heart thumping dancing. Connecting to my physical body helps me connect to God.
Denise Litchfield says
First time I read this post, I deleted it. Not going there. Not with a ten foot rainmaker stick.
But you nailed it. I’m not interested in debating what is or isn’t spiritual, but Laura may have asked a decent question:
Amid the incense and chanting and kundalini eyerolling it’s hard to see the truth.
The only place you’ll ever touch spirit is inside yourself. When it touches you in a forest, or patting your dog or when you’re eating pizza with pepperoni which I my preferred method of divine contact.
JP Sears really has fun with thin on U tube: “How to be ultra Spiritual”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kDso5ElFRg
It’s a go-to spot when you’ve got saddle cores from riding your unicorn.
Being Spiritual to me is 2 things.
1) listening to the quiet intuitive voice you have inside that you squash and avoid listening too because your scared of what it might say by being busy, eating too may Krispy Kremes or just ignoring it. When I listen to her, my quiet inner voice.., I get to understand myself better, like myself more and be more in touch with who I am and what I want. Being more in touch with who I am I believe helps me connect more easily to others which is important in my intuitive mentoring work
2) I do talk to those on the other side – when we both want to speak to one another…this is spiritual too
Sending light, Laura. YOU OBVIOUSLY NEED IT. 😉 xo
Oh no you don’t. I’m holding up a mirror and bouncing that light back onto you. xo
you’re not REALLY asking are you? i was compelled to read and i never respond to blogs…but here it goes. an idea: it could mean there’s something beyond our self-centered human selves that we cannot see, explain – we just have a knowing/feeling/connection. we make space for it, acknowledge it, honor it. what is sacred to you- start there i’d say. it can be found in the mundane, simplicity around us. we make space to see it or we don’t. spirit definition i found online: the nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character; the soul.- yo! i did it- I posted
You posted! And I like, acknowledge, and honor your post. “What is sacred to you” –I can dig that.
Laura, this is so needed to comprehend. Spirituality means that you acknowledge that behind ‘everything’ in life, there is a Infinite Intelligence present, or in it’s deepest essence. The name infinite intelligence can also be (and I hope you do not choke with it lol) Divine Mind, One Mind, Spirit etc. Spirituality is the perception, recognition, acknowledgement that there is a God/Supreme Being, Power greater than human kind present in all of creation.
As for Religion and Spirituality, something Oprah always asks in her interviews and I would love her to ask me, that is!) is that Religion was made by man, and Spirituality has always existed. Ancient philosophers and geniuses of our world has always talked about Spirituality. Even Eisntein. Be sure that matter/mass/speed/light/gravity/energy are Spiritual or in the Spiritual line I am explaining here, because man did not create any of those, however we use them and acknowledge them.
This is my humble opinion based on years of professional studies in Philosophy, The Science of Mind, Science of Religion, Metaphysics, Psychology and quatum physics.
Let me give a simple example. Think of a water bottle. Any water bottle. Ok? -Now, before that bottle existed, somebody ‘thought’ of it, designed it. Somebody did the work and process of bringing the ‘idea’ of the bottle (idea is metaphysical – beyond the physical, not tangible) into form, that is actually ‘the water bottle’. So, if you want to look at this from the Spiritual point of view, ‘the mind that had the power to imagine and design and create something and bring it into form’. That’s Spirituality. The recognition of a Higher Power in everything. Even here.
Yoga, vegan, meditation etc are just part of that everything….besides being a trend for some nowadays!
Interesting. See, I don’t see the higher power’s influence in creating the water bottle. But I like the explanation.
I meditate and I soo hate the word spiritual and I hate it even more when people suggest I’m spiritual because I meditate.
Being spiritual is a concept that doesn’t serve me in any way.
I actually want to “feel’ good and not think or visualize myself into feeling good.
You may want to check this out:
Nicely put! If I meditate, I’m gonna use that.
I can’t wait until you get here. This confirms everything.
Yes! Our un-spirituality combined under one roof will produce a magical reverse-rainbow. (I don’t know what that is, but it sounds like a sex act.)
Doug W says
It’s like wealth in that it’s fine if you have it – you don’t need to talk about it and If you don’t have it, don’t feel badly, some are just pretending they have it and some are so busy finding it, they aren’t so happy anyways. That last sentence (might be a run-on variety) is so deep and so spiritually raw, I started crying just now. See? I’m spiritual! I have to go to my “Amway Is God” meeting, otherwise I’d write more.
“Amway is God” is religious. “Amway is the Universe” is spiritual. “Amway is the path to a profitable, freedom-based lifestyle” is truth. Can I interest you in a line of revolutionary hair-care products?
Spirituality is looking for the extraordinary when everyone else sees ordinary.
OK, I like that. I’ll buy.
Coach Meika says
Spirituality is just like sex. Some like it organized, some like it free. Some like the pomp and circumstance, some prefer a quickie. Some give it names (surf boarding…although I’m not really sure what that means…note to self to ask Beyonce), some just go with what they feel. Some commit to one way, some remain “curious”.
There’s no one way to describe spirituality. It is as fun and interesting or as dull and boring as you make it.
(Side note: I do consider myself spiritual and of the fun and interesting persuasion.)
Do many people like organized sex? Do you mean scheduled at a convenient time that won’t interfere with dinner, or do you mean in a group, with a leader?
I reckon it’s a bit of appreciating and being grateful for where you are, whom you’re with, and what you’re doing at that exact moment. Feeling a connection through God, Universe, nature, friendship, whatever works for you, then utilizing that connection to always help others. Word. xxx
I’m grateful to know you – does that make me spiritual?
This is a good question. I have been thinking about it for a while. I consider myself spiritual in that I believe there is something greater than our material world. But this does not mean that I wear a special outfit to let people know I am spiritual. My opinion is that if people feel comfortable wearing a certain type of look, great for them. But in my view spirituality does not call for a uniform. It is as simple as believing in something greater than yourself and wanting to connect to it. This doesn’t mean you can only connect to it in a yoga class, church, or in meditation, you can get in the “zone” through dance, comedy, writing all kinds of stuff (it is what we call being in a trance). However, there is a solid argument for being out in nature and being more able to connect. Because we live in such a competitive society, the only time we seem to let our guard down is when we are in or with nature. Think about it, when you alone with a tree are you competing with anyone? Are you at risk of being judged by someone? I are you comparing yourself to the tree? Nope. Some may find this boring, and for a while I did as I spent much time in New York City and London, but once I moved to New Zealand, I realized how liberating it can be.
You have a point. I have never competed with a tree. I’d lose on height, but I think I could win at writing. Oh shit, look, I’m competing with a tree.
Rick Katz says
Laura, the more of your stuff I read, the more I think you must be my long-lost sister or something.
I’m down for a long-lost brother. If you really want in, I’m sure my dad can figure out how you’re related.
Tiger von Pagel says
To me, a spiritual person is someone who regularly acknowledges that there is a greater power at work in the world. That power may or may not have a specific name, but a spiritual person is grateful to that power and stops often to reflect on it’s existence in some way.
But that could also be religious, no?
Not sure I know. What I do know is that while many, many people say on their dating profiles that they are “spiritual but not religious,” I have yet to see anyone say that they are “religious but not spiritual.” I know for a fact that there are people who embody this, (my mother being one of them).
Do any of the profiles boast “not spiritual *and* not religious? I’d go for those. Did your mother express lack of spirituality by refusing to eat in nice restaurants?
Few or zero profiles state that the dater is an atheist. As for my mother, she was all about the ceremonies and obligations of her religion. She was really into obligations. That was her all time favorite thing. For her, it was an excellent fuel for arguments, guilt, and arguments about guilt. But for someone who was so gung ho about her faith, I never heard her express any faith in things that weren’t tactile.