Spirituality is a broad concept of belief in something beyond oneself. It may involve religious traditions centered on belief in a higher power, but it can also involve a holistic belief in an individual connection to others and to the world at large. It is different from religion, and you can practice it even if you're not religious. Spirituality is something that is talked about a lot, but is often misunderstood.
Many people think that spirituality and religion are the same thing, so they bring their beliefs and prejudices about religion to discussions about spirituality. Although all religions emphasize spiritualism as part of faith, you can be “spiritual” without being religious or a member of an organized religion. One way to understand the relationship between spirituality and religion is to imagine a football match. Rules, referees, other players, and field marks help guide you as you play the game in a way similar to what religion could guide you to find your spirituality.
Kicking the ball in a park, without having to play the field or with all the rules and regulations, can also give you satisfaction and fun and still express the essence of the game, similar to spirituality in life. Life can be full of ups and downs, good times and bad times. Many people see spirituality as a great way to seek comfort and peace in their lives. It can often be practiced in conjunction with things like yoga, which ultimately focus on stress relief and release of emotions. Spirituality is a way to gain perspective; it recognizes that its role in life is of greater value than it does every day.
It can free you from dependence on material things and help you understand the greater purpose of your life. Spirituality can also be used as a way of coping with change or uncertainty. Like other reflective practices, mindfulness can be a tool to discover how spirituality manifests itself in your life. Mindfulness teaches you to be aware of what is happening in your body and mind in the present moment and to open yourself to it with curiosity and kindness. This allows you to explore beliefs, perspectives, and experiences in a new way that could lead to new perceptions around spiritual questions. Learn to differentiate between religion and spirituality.
As you can see, there are notable distinctions between spirituality and religion; however, these comparisons are not intended to be absolute or an attempt to polarize against each other. Religious beliefs and spiritual beliefs differ in the way they are practiced. However, each practice serves as a vehicle to get closer to the truth you are looking for. Whatever path or combination of the two you follow, it is the personal and subjective expression of your journey of awakening. Religious beliefs and practices improve health and well-being, although aspects of this relationship are discussed. Psychological literature suggests that welfare benefits flow from social support, existential meaning, sense of purpose, coherent belief system and moral code provided by religion.
All of these things can be found in other ways, though perhaps less easily; religions “pack many of the ingredients of health and well-being to make them accessible to people”. Americans stand out from people from other developed nations in the strength of their religious beliefs and observance. The former still cling firmly to Christian belief, they simply do not find value in the church as a component of that belief. It reflects the belief that cultural change can be usefully studied on a large scale of global influences that affect entire societies, and not only on a small scale of culture as local knowledge that shapes the daily lives of individuals and groups (the approach preferred by anthropologists).
The latter have primarily rejected religion and prefer, instead, to define their own boundaries for spirituality, often by mixing beliefs and practices from a variety of religions and traditions.