How does one define spirituality in the modern world? The dictionary definitions vary and cover a broad range of concepts including those related to extracorporeal existence, intellectual endowments, moral feelings, expressions of the soul, or church related devotion or zeal. In other words, the dictionary can't define what spirituality is, but it brings together a multitude of diverse perceptions. If one considers this diversity, one might conclude that spirituality is a subject that no one can really understand. But this is not so. To the contrary, spirituality is native to every human being. Almost everyone is aware of it, and benefits from it. Herein lies its proof. But what, specifically, is it? How can one define it?
Two historic pioneers come to mind who can speak on the subject with authority by virtue of their proven spirituality that became manifest in spiritual processes of healing. One such pioneer and spiritual authority was Christ Jesus. The man appeared at the pinnacle of a spiritual renaissance that began with Homer in Greece and included such names in its chain of development as Solon, Socrates, Plato. The man also had a strong background in Hebrew culture with a history centered on a type of monotheism in which spiritual healing had played a significant role. Christ Jesus is renowned for his outstanding spiritual healing work; but did he say anything specific that defines the nature of spirituality itself?
One must assume that he said a great deal on the subject, although the term didn't exist in those days. His most direct comment on spirituality may be the one found in the answer to a query by a woman who evidently asked herself a similar question; " Our fathers worshipped in this mountain;" she said, "and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."
The Bible reports:
21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman,
believe me, the hour cometh, when
ye shall neither in this mountain,
nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the
24 God is a Spirit: and they that
worship him must worship him in
spirit and in truth.
The problem with this type of definition for spirituality is, that it is not one that one can "sink one's teeth in," so to speak. However, there exists another definition that fulfills this criteria better. He had counseled the people at one point:
23 ...if thou bring thy
gift to the altar, and there
rememberest that thy brother hath
ought against thee;
24 Leave there thy gift before the
altar, and go thy way; first be
reconciled to thy brother, and then
come and offer thy gift.
The problem that emerges in this case, is, that the essence of the statement is covered by common morality and is rarely perceived as a specific aspect of spirituality. Thus, one needs to search further for a clearer example. Such a one was recorded by the apostle Luke:
25 ... behold, a certain lawyer
stood up, and tempted him, saying,
Master, what shall I do to inherit
26 He said unto him, What is
written in the law? how readest
27 And he answering said, Thou
shalt love the Lord thy God with
all thy heart, and with all thy
soul, and with all thy strength,
and with all thy mind; and thy
neighbour as thyself.
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