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What Is Spirituality?

Defining this concept is difficult, but Canyon Ranch Director of Spirituality Julie Haber, M.Div, offers a holistic approach
Written by 
Canyon Ranch Staff
Canyon Ranch Reviewer: 
Updated on: 
December 23, 2013

Q: So, what is spirituality?

A: Spirituality is knowing who you really are and connecting with something larger than yourself. Some people believe it’s God or Spirit or the Source of all that is, and that it is outside of you. Others feel spirituality is inside of us. I believe it's both.

Spirituality often involves looking beyond the surface of things and trusting the process of how our lives unfold. This can be particularly useful when our lives become challenged and stressed. Often times we are comforted in having a spiritual connection during these times. Our lives become more meaningful and we feel more peace when we know that we are supported and held in times of difficulty and ease. Part of why people get stressed is that they're looking for [an explanation] about why these things are happening to them. Sometimes the wisdom of ‘why’ is only revealed later. A spiritual outlook helps greatly during these times, helping to increase our patience in times of difficulty and helping to bring a sense of gratitude in times of ease.

Q: Are there different spiritual personalities?

A: Yes! Some people are kinesthetic, like my sister. She does three hours of yoga a day, she’s a body worker and a dancer. The way she connects spiritually is through the body. Some people are scholarly, they [find their spirituality] through information, reading texts or scripture. Some people are devotional, they [find their spirituality] through service. They don't feel spiritual unless they're giving in their community or through charity.

Q: Are there exercises that you give people to help them discover their spiritual side?

A: Yes…it could be a heart meditation, a mindfulness practice, setting an intention [for your day], a prayer, creating a ritual to bring more meaning [to your life], journaling—or gardening. It could be scuba diving! It's about what brings more meaning and purpose and value to you. What brings you to that place of feeling more connected. For most people it's just getting in touch with what you love, what you're passionate about, what lights up your soul—getting lost in something. Spirituality has a lot to do with letting go. There are certain things we can and can't control.

Q: What are some misconceptions surrounding spirituality?

A: Some people are afraid to come to spirituality because they think it's outside their religion, but if you already have a faith, it's really more of a deepening of what's already there. Some people aren't religious, and they may be afraid that spirituality means religion, but I explain to them that it's more of an inner process. It's becoming clear on what brings meaning and purpose to your life. Spirituality really is an alignment of our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual parts coming together. It means your relationships work better, you're doing work that's aligned with your soul and is meaningful to you, and you are living more connected with your true purpose.

“When exploring ones spiritual path, I always ask does this path (teacher or practice) have heart? If not, I let it go.”
“When exploring ones spiritual path, I always ask does this path (teacher or practice) have heart? If not, I let it go.”