Spirituality involves a search for meaning and purpose in life and can include feelings of hope, love, connection, inner peace and well-being. It is often associated with a particular religion or philosophy but can also be experienced outside of religious contexts. It has cognitive or philosophic, experiential and emotional aspects and can have behavioral consequences.
The cognitive dimension of spirituality includes beliefs about the transcendent (e.g., a higher power, value system, God, cosmic consciousness) and mystical experiences. The phenomenological approaches of Husserl and the existentialists provide a framework for understanding spirituality in this context.
Experiences of the transcendent and mystical involve awakening to the reality that lies beyond the material world and that everything is interconnected. These experiences are often described as having a “cosmic quality” or of being “one with the universe.” They can occur in meditation and other practices such as mindfulness, prayer, and yoga. The experience may include a sense of being connected to the infinite, ecstatic, and liberating.
In general, people who are on a spiritual journey often believe that all humans are one, with love at the core of our being. This belief can help us overcome the divisions of race, class and culture by recognizing that all are part of one human family. It can also give us hope and a greater sense of optimism when faced with the hardships of life, such as loss, illness, or death. It can also inspire us to take action and work toward the betterment of humanity and the planet.