Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop an individual’s inner life; spiritual experience includes that of connectedness with a larger reality, yielding a more comprehensive self; with other individuals or the human community; with nature or the cosmos; or with the divine realm. Spirituality is often experienced as a source of inspiration or orientation in life. It can encompass belief in immaterial realities or experiences of the immanent or transcendent nature of the world.
Traditionally, many religions have regarded spirituality as an integral aspect of religious experience. Among other factors, declining membership of organized religions and the growth of secularism in the western world have given rise to a broader view of spirituality. The term “spiritual” is now frequently used in contexts in which the term “religious” was formerly employed; compare James‘ 1902 lectures on the “Varieties of Religious Experience”.
Secular spirituality emphasizes humanistic ideas on qualities such as love, compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, contentment, responsibility, harmony, and a concern for others:22, aspects of life and human experience which go beyond a purely materialist view of the world, without necessarily accepting belief in a supernatural reality or divine being. Spiritual practices such as mindfulness and meditation can be experienced as beneficial or even necessary for human fulfillment without any supernatural interpretation or explanation. Spirituality in this context may be a matter of nurturing thoughts, emotions, words and actions that are in harmony with a belief that everything in the universe is mutually dependent; this stance has much in common with some versions of Buddhist spirituality. A modern definition is as follows:
“Spirituality exists wherever we struggle with the issues of how our lives fit into the greater scheme of things. This is true when our questions never give way to specific answers or give rise to specific practices such as prayer or meditation. We encounter spiritual issues every time we wonder where the universe comes from, why we are here, or what happens when we die. We also become spiritual when we become moved by values such as beauty, love, or creativity that seem to reveal a meaning or power beyond our visible world. An idea or practice is “spiritual” when it reveals our personal desire to establish a felt-relationship with the deepest meanings or powers governing life.”
In a wide variety of traditions, spirituality is seen as a path toward one or more of the following: a higher state of awareness, perfection of one’s own being, wisdom, or communion with God or with creation. Plato‘s Allegory of the Cave, which appears in book VII of The Republic, is a description of such a journey, as are the writings of Teresa of Avila. The Vedas and Upanishads also describe such a path of transformation.
Disciplines such a path entail may include meditation, prayer, and the contemplation of sacred texts; ethical development;:33 and some sort of spiritual transmission, sometimes through a preceptor. Spirituality aims both at inner growth and outward manifestations of this growth. Love and/or compassion are often described as the mainstay of spiritual development.
Whilst the terms spirituality and religion both relate to a search for an Absolute or God, and thus have much overlap, there are also characteristic differences in their usage. Religion implies a particular faith tradition that includes acceptance of a metaphysical or supernatural reality;:22, whereas spirituality is not necessarily bound to any particular religious tradition. Thus William Irwin Thompson suggest that “religion is the form spirituality takes in a civilization.”
Those who speak of spirituality outside of religion often define themselves as “spiritual but not religious” and generally believe in the existence of different “spiritual paths,” emphasizing the importance of finding one’s own individual path to spirituality. According to one poll, about 24% of the United States population identifies itself as spiritual but not religious.
Spirituality within particular religious traditions
In the Catholic Church, spirituality is generally seen as an integral part of religion, as much for the laity as for the ‘religious’ (i.e. those who have taken vows to the Church). There is a variety of charisms that emphasize particular ways to serve God and humanity.
Since the scientific revolution, the relationship of science to religion and spirituality has developed in complex ways. Historian John Hedley Brooke describes wide variations: “the natural sciences have been invested with religious meaning, with antireligious implications and, in many contexts, with no religious significance at all.”:16 The popular notion of antagonisms between science and religion has historically originated with “thinkers with a social or political ax to grind” rather than with the natural philosophers themselves.:13 Though physical and biological scientists today avoid supernatural explanations to describe reality (see naturalism), many scientists continue to consider science and spirituality to be complementary, not contradictory. Neuroscientists are trying to learn more about how the brain functions during reported spiritual experiences.
During the twentieth century the relationship between science and spirituality has been influenced both by Freudian psychology, which has accentuated the boundaries between the two areas by accentuating individualism and secularism, and by developments in particle physics, which reopened the debate about complementarity between scientific and religious discourse and rekindled for many an interest in holistic conceptions of reality.:322 These holistic conceptions were championed by New Age spiritualists in a type of quantum mysticism that they claim justifies their spiritual beliefs, though quantum physicists themselves on the whole reject such attempts as being pseudoscientific.
In keeping with a general increase in interest in spirituality and complementary and alternative treatments, prayer has garnered attention among some behavioral scientists. Masters and Spielmans have conducted a meta-analysis of the effects of distant intercessory prayer, but detected no discernible effects.
Spirituality has played a central role in self-help movements such as Alcoholics Anonymous: “…if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead….”
If spirituality is understood as the search for or the development of inner peace or the foundations of happiness, then spiritual practice of some kind is essential for personal well being. This activity may or may not include belief in supernatural beings. If one has such a belief and feels that relationship to such beings is the foundation of happiness then spiritual practice will be pursued on that basis: if one has no such belief spiritual practice is still essential for the management and understanding of thoughts and emotions which otherwise prevent happiness. Many techniques and practices developed and explored in religious contexts, such as meditation, are immensely valuable in themselves as skills for managing aspects of the inner life.
Near-death experience (NDE)
If consciousness exists apart from the body, which includes the brain, one is attached not only to the material world, but to a non-temporal (spiritual) world as well. This thesis is considered to be analyzed by testing the reports from people who have experienced death. However, some researchers consider that NDEs are actually REM intrusions triggered in the brain by traumatic events like cardiac arrest.
Social scientists have defined spirituality as the search for “the sacred,” where “the sacred” is broadly defined as that which is set apart from the ordinary and worthy of veneration. Spirituality can be sought not only through traditional organized religions, but also through movements such as the feminist theology and ecological spirituality (see Green politics). Spirituality is associated with mental health, managing substance abuse, marital functioning, parenting, and coping. It has been suggested that spirituality also leads to finding purpose and meaning in life.
Words translatable as ‘spirituality’ first began to arise in the 5th century and only entered common use toward the end of the Middle Ages. Spiritual innovators who operated within the context of a religious tradition often became marginalized or suppressed as heretics or separated out as schismatics. In these circumstances, anthropologists generally treat so-called “spiritual” practices such as shamanism in the sphere of the religious, and class even non-traditional activities such as those of Robespierre’s Cult of the Supreme Being in the province of religion.
Eighteenth-century Enlightenment thinkers, often opposed to clericalism and skeptical of religion, sometimes came to express their more emotional responses to the world under the rubric of “the Sublime” rather than discussing “spirituality”. The spread of the ideas of modernity began to diminish the role of religion in society and in popular thought. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) was a pioneer of the idea of spirituality as a distinct field. Important early 20th century writers who studied the phenomenon of spirituality, and their works, include William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), and Rudolph Otto, especially The Idea of the Holy (1917). The distinction between the spiritual and the religious became more common in the popular mind during the late 20th century with the rise of secularism and the advent of the New Age movement. Authors such as Chris Griscom and Shirley MacLaine explored it in numerous ways in their books. Paul Heelas noted the development within New Age circles of what he called “seminar spirituality”: structured offerings complementing consumer choice with spiritual options.
In the late 19th century a Pakistani scholar Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi wrote of and taught about the science of Islamic spirituality, of which the best known form remains the Sufi tradition (famous through Rumi and Hafiz) in which a spiritual master or pir transmits spiritual discipline to students.
Building on both the Western esoteric tradition and theosophy, Rudolf Steiner and others in the anthroposophic tradition have attempted to apply systematic methodology to the study of spiritual phenomena, building upon ontological and epistemological questions that arose out of transcendental philosophy. This enterprise does not attempt to redefine natural science, but to explore inner experience – especially our thinking – with the same rigor that we apply to outer (sensory) experience.
sumber : http://id.wikipedia.org