Spiritual growth has always been integral to an individual's sense of well being, even before mankind has conceptualized the term and digested it in a multitude of ways that it eventually sprung up different methodologies on how one can build upon it. You name it - yoga, karma, or maybe reincarnation. There are so many that they range from the most mystical to the most practical.
But whether you are already treading your own "spiritual path", or in deep need of spiritual fulfillment, a deep understanding of what spirituality is can be very helpful in more ways than one.
In order for us to fully comprehend what spirituality means, perhaps it is essential that we discuss the meaning of the root word itself, which is spirit. Spirit is an intangible property, one that alludes to something incorporeal, something mysterious and not bound by the material world. The most hailed scholar and physicist, Albert Einstein, alluded to spirituality through these words: "The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious - the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science."
This brings us to the two things that he mentioned - art and science. These two indulgences have dominated human consciousness in the process of achieving answers to the mysteries that have confounded us about the universe. These two distinct establishments, polar opposites they may be, have paved the way to advancement in the realm of technology and human awareness.
The search for answers is deeply rooted in our innate need to gain knowledge about ourselves, and how we are connected to everything around us. Mundane activities like fixing a car engine or observing an ant farm are unconscious manifestations of that need, and in consequence, related to spirituality. You only have to read Robert M. Pirsig's magnum opus, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, to understand what I'm talking about.
While this contradicts the idea of spirituality as something not bound in the material world, these physical avenues are helpful channels that allow us to achieve that transcendence, and in turn present to us a peek into the mysterious.
Some individuals achieve spiritual sustenance through the means of meditation. Meditation is a process of serious contemplation or turning inward to reach a profound state of peacefulness, focus, and awareness. The practice of meditation has originated from the Eastern cultures and has been adopted by the West in the form of prayer. Buddhist monks are astute in their belief that meditation is the way to Enlightenment, which explains the sanguine temperament by which they deal with other people.
A common misconception most individuals make is having the notion that spirituality is exclusive to religion. While it's true that religion has helped a lot of people to lead spiritual lives, it only represents a few facets that constitute the full meaning of spirituality. Spirituality is a confluence, a heightened understanding of what we are and how we are connected to the whole spectrum of existence, and the discernment that every little thing is equally essential and dependent on each other.