Monday, September 13, 2010

Defining "Spirituality"


World Religions Ranked By Adherents:
Christianity: 2.1 Billion
Islam: 1.5 Billion
Hinduism: 900 Million
Buddhism: 400 M to 1.5 Billion
Chinese Folk: ~400 Million
Sikhism: 23 Million
Judaism: 14 Million

When a baby becomes baptized
under a single faith, the baby's
spirit is no more developed than
it was before the baptism. However,
that baby was born with an innate
responsibility for and to its parents, and
likely, it's family. The manifestation
of that responsibility is an indicator
of spirit.

When a child attends church, week
after week, the teachings are a system
to cultivate the child's spirituality.
Along with family prayer and
ceremonial rites, the child strengthens
the bond with his family, develops
personal values, and cultivates his or her
spirit on these levels. Thus, religion
is a set of tools to develop the spirit.

The spirit is far more important than
the religion. But what is the spirit ?
Many believe it is different than the soul
or the psyche, and should not be used
interchangeably with either. Interestingly,
the word spirit comes from the Latin,
spiritus, which means "breath."

According to Dr. Steven T. Chang, M.D.,
(who is also a Chinese doctor, holds two
law degrees and a doctorate in both
theology and philosophy):

Where there is spirit, there is hope and
creativity. Because the spirit is not limited
by space or time and the body IS, a sense
of incompleteness arises, as well as a desire
to excel beyond the present physical
condition. Hopes that are beyond space
and time imbue man with the urge and
ability to create. Hoping his creations will
somehow make his physical presence last
as long as his spiritual presence, man creates
religion, science, music and art, erects
monuments of many materials and even
builds empires. But his accomplishments
never give him enough satisfaction: at the
root of all his travails,
man desires to be immortal.
(religions partially satisfy the need for
immortality, but they focus on life after death)

There are lots of ways to develop the
spirit complimentary to religion, and without
it altogether. Many people have felt
spiritually uplifted by books such as
The Celestine Prophecy, The Secret,
and Eat, Pray, Love. Taoists develop
the spirit through movement, breathing,
diet and healthy living.

What's the point of spirituality ?
Consider the difference between
"The Standard of Life"
and
"The Quality of Life."
Spirituality raises the index of both.

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