Do Not Promote Religion Under the Guise of Spirituality Ian I. Mitroff Organization, May 2003; vol. 10: pp. 375 - 382....California, Los Angeles, USA Aurobindo, Sri (1993) The Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo's...regard to organized religion; see Aurobindo (1993). Do Not Promote Religion...Ordinarily Sacred (1992). References Aurobindo, Sri (1993) The Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo's... Check item Full Text (PDF) References Table of Contents MatchMaker
A Tentative Working Definition of Spirituality
In order to understand the concept of spirituality further, it is important to begin with a tentative working definition. When those whom I interviewed were asked, ‘What meaning does spirituality have for you?’, certain ideas emerged repeatedly.
- Spirituality is highly individual and intensely personal; you don’t have to be religious in order to be spiritual.
- Spirituality is the basic belief that there is a Supreme Power, a Being, a Force, whatever you call it, that governs the entire universe—there is a purpose for everything and everyone.
- Everything is interconnected with everything else—everything affects and is affected by everything else.
- Spirituality is the feeling of this interconnectedness; it is being in touch with it.
- Spirituality is also the feeling that, no matter how bad things get, they will always work out somehow—there is a Guiding Plan that governs all lives.
- We are put here basically to do good—one must strive to produce products and services that serve all of humankind.
- Spirituality is inextricably connected with caring, hope, kindness, love, and optimism; it is the basic faith in the existence of these things. [...]
Definitions are always important. They are especially so when we are dealing with complex and controversial matters. At their best, definitions help us to clarify the crucial differences between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Definitions thus help to insure that we do not cross over the line into dangerous and forbidden territory.
However, although definitions are important, they are not a total substitute for the immense feelings and tremendous passions which are an essential part of spirituality. Definitions are too cold, too abstract, too unfeeling to do proper justice to what they are trying to elucidate. What is
needed in an integration of reason and passion.
Finally, it is also important to understand that inappropriate forms of spirituality constitute a far greater threat than religion per se. The greatest threats arise from extreme positions—in effect, quasi-religious views—masquerading as spirituality (Swami Muktananda, 1971). Shun all religion masquerading as spirituality; shun all spirituality masquerading as religion.