Spirituality is a popular word and pursuit these days. More and more people are hungry for a soulful experience, seeking to transcend the relentless concerns of physical reality and to connect to something profoundly real that lies beyond their everyday self. Some people find their spiritual life woven into their church, synagogue, temple, or mosque, where they seek awe and comfort in the beliefs, moral codes, and rituals of their faith. Spirituality being intertwined with their religious association, this typically comes with being part of its culture and community.
Until recent times, religion and spirituality were regarded as the same thing. Since the onset of the twentieth century, while these concepts still overlap, they have grown increasingly distinct. According to Pew Research Center, a growing number of Americans consider themselves spiritual but not religious. Religion generally leans towards practices and beliefs of the divine, emphasizing what’s right and wrong, true and false. Spirituality is a broader concept leaving room for soul-searching and different meanings for different people.
Seeking a more spiritual life is typically driven by a desire to unify with something bigger than ourselves and to viscerally experience the connectedness and love essential to our being and Source. Nourishing the very human desire for peace, meaning and purpose are also fundamental to seekers of their spiritual side.
These independent seekers want to ask the tough questions and are drawn to the ability to pick and choose what helps them make sense of the world around them–particularly millennials and Gen Z. Spiritual practices can range from prayer to meditation, from yoga to community service, from personal transformation to a belief in reincarnation. Some feel spiritual through art, music or the earth, when they live true to their values, or when they study elevated spiritual concepts. Spiritual folks sometimes choose a like-minded community, but not across the board–and the practice is generally more individualized, intentional, and experiential.