Spirituality

Union with Christ is the purpose of Christian mysticism.
An 18th Century Sikh Raja

The meaning of spirituality has developed and expanded over time, and various meanings can be found alongside each other.

- Spirituality
Union with Christ is the purpose of Christian mysticism.

44 related topics

Alpha

The Buddha, Laozi, and Confucius in a Ming dynasty painting

Religion

The Buddha, Laozi, and Confucius in a Ming dynasty painting
"Three laughs at Tiger Brook", a Song dynasty (12th century) painting portraying three men representing Confucianism, Taoism (Daoism), and Buddhism laughing together.
Religious symbols from left to right, top to bottom: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, the Baháʼí Faith, Eckankar, Sikhism, Jainism, Wicca, Unitarian Universalism, Shinto, Taoism, Thelema, Tenrikyo, and Zoroastrianism
Budazhap Shiretorov (Будажап Цыреторов), the head shaman of the religious community Altan Serge (Алтан Сэргэ) in Buryatia.
The Yazılıkaya sanctuary in Turkey, with the twelve gods of the underworld
A map of major denominations and religions of the world
The patriarch Abraham (by József Molnár)
The Torah is the primary sacred text of Judaism.
Jesus is the central figure of Christianity.
Muslims circumambulating the Kaaba, the most sacred site in Islam
The Baháʼí Lotus Temple in Delhi
The Temple of Heaven, a Taoist temple complex in Beijing
Folk depiction of Ganesha in Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal, Udaipur, India
Depiction of Lord Vishnu
The Padmanabhaswamy Temple houses the Padmanabhaswamy Temple treasure.
The 10th century Gommateshwara statue in Karnataka
Wat Mixay Buddhist shrine in Vientiane, Laos
An 1840 miniature of Guru Nanak
Chickasaw Native cultural/religious dancing
Peyotists with their ceremonial tools
Altay shaman in Siberia
Temple to the city god of Wenao in Magong, Taiwan
Shango, the Orisha of fire, lightning, and thunder, in the Yoruba religion, depicted on horseback
Sacred flame at the Ateshgah of Baku
Ranjit Singh established secular rule over Punjab in the early 19th century.
Average income correlates negatively with (self-defined) religiosity.

Religion is usually defined as a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that generally relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, and spiritual elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.

Man Meditating in a Garden Setting

Meditation

Practice in which an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.

Practice in which an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.

Man Meditating in a Garden Setting
The āsana in which Mahavira is said to have attained omniscience
Bodhidharma practicing zazen
A statue of Patañjali practicing dhyana in the Padma-asana at Patanjali Yogpeeth.
"Gathering the Light", Taoist meditation from The Secret of the Golden Flower
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina stated: "Through the study of books one seeks God; by meditation one finds Him."
Whirling dervishes
Meditation. Alexej von Jawlensky, oil on cardboard, 1918
Meditating in Madison Square Park, New York City
Young children practicing meditation in a Peruvian school

A 2010 review of the literature on spirituality and performance in organizations found an increase in corporate meditation programs.

Adi Shankara, the most prominent exponent of Advaita Vedānta tradition.

Advaita Vedanta

Hindu sādhanā, a path of spiritual discipline and experience, and the oldest extant tradition of the orthodox Hindu school Vedānta, a tradition of interpretation of the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gitā (collectively known as the Prasthanatrayi).

Hindu sādhanā, a path of spiritual discipline and experience, and the oldest extant tradition of the orthodox Hindu school Vedānta, a tradition of interpretation of the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gitā (collectively known as the Prasthanatrayi).

Adi Shankara, the most prominent exponent of Advaita Vedānta tradition.
A drop merging in the Ocean, an analogy for the Jivatman merging into Brahman
The swan is an important motif in Advaita. The swan symbolises the ability to discern Satya (Real, Eternal) from Mithya (Unreal, Changing), just like the mythical swan Paramahamsa discerns milk from water.
Ramana Maharshi, the Indian sage who was widely regarded as a Jivanmukta
(Vidyashankara temple) at Sringeri Sharada Peetham, Shringeri
Gaudapada, one of the most important pre-Śaṅkara philosophers in Advaita tradition
Mahatma Gandhi stated "I am an advaitist".

Advaita Vedānta has gained attention in western spirituality and New Age as nondualism, where various traditions are seen as driven by the same non-dual experience.

A Balinese Hindu family after puja at Bratan temple in Bali, Indonesia

Hinduism

Indian religion and dharma, or way of life.

Indian religion and dharma, or way of life.

A Balinese Hindu family after puja at Bratan temple in Bali, Indonesia
Om, a stylized letter of Devanagari script, used as a religious symbol in Hinduism
Swami Vivekananda was a key figure in introducing Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and the United States, raising interfaith awareness and making Hinduism a world religion.
Ganesha is one of the best-known and most worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon.
The Hare Krishna group at the Esplanadi Park in Helsinki, Finland
The festival of lights, Diwali, is celebrated by Hindus all over the world.
Hindus in Ghana celebrating Ganesh Chaturti
Holi celebrated at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Utah, United States.
Kedar Ghat, a bathing place for pilgrims on the Ganges at Varanasi
Priests performing Kalyanam (marriage) of the holy deities at Bhadrachalam Temple, in Telangana. It is one of the temples in India, where Kalyanam is done everyday throughout the year.
A statue of Shiva in yogic meditation.
Basic Hindu symbols: Shatkona, Padma, and Swastika.
Kauai Hindu monastery in Kauai Island in Hawaii is the only Hindu Monastery in the North American continent.
A sadhu in Madurai, India.
The Hindu Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram was built by Narasimhavarman II.
700px

Hinduism includes a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, but has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet(s) nor any binding holy book; Hindus can choose to be polytheistic, pantheistic, panentheistic, pandeistic, henotheistic, monotheistic, monistic, agnostic, atheistic or humanist.

New Age meditation group at the Snoqualmie Moondance festival, 1992

New Age

New Age meditation group at the Snoqualmie Moondance festival, 1992
This barrel house was the first dwelling constructed at the Findhorn Ecovillage.
New Age shrine in Glastonbury, England
Astrological ideas hold a central place in the New Age
Reiki is one of the alternative therapies commonly found in the New Age movement.
Stonehenge is a site visited by New Age pilgrims, as seen in this midsummer rave.
Isis, a New Age shop named after the Ancient Egyptian goddess that was located in St Albans, southern England
The New World Alliance was one of several New Age political groups in the 1970s and 1980s.
New Age author Marianne Williamson campaigned for a seat in the U.S. Congress and for the Democratic Party nomination for president.
One of the first academics to study the New Age was Wouter Hanegraaff.

New Age is a range of spiritual or religious practices and beliefs which rapidly grew in Western society during the early 1970s.

Praying Hands by Albrecht Dürer

Prayer

Invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication.

Invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication.

Praying Hands by Albrecht Dürer
A kneeling position with raised hands expressed "supplication" in classical antiquity. The word for "prayer" and for "supplication" is identical in ancient languages (oratio, προσευχή, תְּפִלָּה etc.), with no terminological distinction between supplications addressed to human as opposed to divine powers.
Statuette known as "Praying German" or "supplicating barbarian". It is not known if this figure was originally set in a context of religious prayer or of military surrender.
The valkyrie Sigrdrífa says a pagan Norse prayer in Sigrdrífumál; illustration by Arthur Rackham
Old woman praying by Théophile Lybaert
David Prays for Deliverance, 1860 woodcut by Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld
Captain Samuel Cass, a rabbi, conducting the first prayer service celebrated on German territory by Jewish personnel of the First Canadian Army near Cleve, Germany, 18 March 1945
Orthodox Jewish men praying in Jerusalem's Western Wall
Jesus praying in Gethsemane. Depicted by Heinrich Hofmann
Muslims in prostration at the Umayyad Mosque in Syria
Buddhists praying with incense at Wat Phra Kaew, Thailand
Shakta Hindus in Dhaka, Bangladesh, pray to the goddess during Durga Puja, October 2003
A Sikh holy man, doing Sikh prayer (Ardās)
Many Thelemites recite "Resh" (Liber Resh vel Helios, or "Liber CC") facing the direction of the ever-present sun as it rises in the East, triumphs in the (northern-hemisphere) South, sets in the West, and "hides" in the North. Image shows a close-up of the Stele of Revealing.
To pray over an individual while laying hands on them is a form of faith healing in Christianity.

Prayer is often used as a means of faith healing in an attempt to use religious or spiritual means to prevent illness, cure disease, or improve health.

Vivekananda in Chicago, September 1893. On the Left note, Vivekananda wrote: "One infinite pure and holy – beyond thought beyond qualities I bow down to thee".

Swami Vivekananda

Indian Hindu monk, philosopher and author.

Indian Hindu monk, philosopher and author.

Vivekananda in Chicago, September 1893. On the Left note, Vivekananda wrote: "One infinite pure and holy – beyond thought beyond qualities I bow down to thee".
Group photo taken on 30 January 1887 in Baranagar Math, Kolkata. Standing: (l–r) ) Shivananda, Ramakrishnananda, Vivekananda, Randhuni, Debendranath Majumdar, Mahendranath Gupta (Shri M), Trigunatitananda, H.Mustafi Sitting: (l–r) Niranjanananda, Saradananda, Hutko Gopal, Abhedananda
Vivekananda at Chennai 1897
Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati (a branch of the Ramakrishna Math founded on 19 March 1899) later published many of Vivekananda's work and now publishes Prabuddha Bharata.

Born into an aristocratic Bengali Kayastha family of Calcutta, Vivekananda was inclined towards spirituality.

Forest dwelling was a common practice in early Buddhism, and it is still followed by some Buddhist sects such as the Thai Forest Tradition.

Monasticism

Religious way of life in which one renounces worldly pursuits to devote oneself fully to spiritual work.

Religious way of life in which one renounces worldly pursuits to devote oneself fully to spiritual work.

Forest dwelling was a common practice in early Buddhism, and it is still followed by some Buddhist sects such as the Thai Forest Tradition.
Young Buddhist bhikkhus in Tibet
Trappist monk praying in his cell.
The Monastery of Saint Anthony in Egypt, built over the tomb of Saint Anthony, the "Father of Christian Monasticism"
Coptic monks between 1898 and 1914
A meeting of various Shankaracharya - heads of monasteries called mathas in the Advaita Vedanta tradition. The title derives from Adi Shankara, an 8th-century CE reformer of Hinduism.
Digambara Jain monks renounce all clothing.
China's Wudang Mountains is a center of Taoist monasticism and the practice of Tai chi.

In their quest to attain the spiritual goal of life, some Hindus choose the path of monasticism (Sannyasa).

Meditation

Religious experience

Meditation
Sufi whirling
Three early Methodist leaders, Charles Wesley, John Wesley, and Francis Asbury, portrayed in stained glass at the Memorial Chapel, Lake Junaluska, North Carolina
The Buddha demonstrating control over fire and water. Gandhara, 3rd century CE

A religious experience (sometimes known as a spiritual experience, sacred experience, or mystical experience) is a subjective experience which is interpreted within a religious framework.

Steiner c. 1905

Rudolf Steiner

Austrian occultist, social reformer, architect, esotericist, Some of the literature regarding Steiner's work in these various fields: Goulet, P: "Les Temps Modernes?", L'Architecture D'Aujourd'hui, December 1982, pp. 8–17; Architect Rudolf Steiner at GreatBuildings.com; Rudolf Steiner International Architecture Database; Brennan, M.: Rudolf Steiner ArtNet Magazine, 18 March 1998; Blunt, R.: Waldorf Education: Theory and Practice – A Background to the Educational Thought of Rudolf Steiner.

Austrian occultist, social reformer, architect, esotericist, Some of the literature regarding Steiner's work in these various fields: Goulet, P: "Les Temps Modernes?", L'Architecture D'Aujourd'hui, December 1982, pp. 8–17; Architect Rudolf Steiner at GreatBuildings.com; Rudolf Steiner International Architecture Database; Brennan, M.: Rudolf Steiner ArtNet Magazine, 18 March 1998; Blunt, R.: Waldorf Education: Theory and Practice – A Background to the Educational Thought of Rudolf Steiner.

Steiner c. 1905
The house where Rudolf Steiner was born, in present-day Croatia
Rudolf Steiner, graduation photo from secondary school
Rudolf Steiner as 21-year-old student (1882)
Rudolf Steiner around 1891–92, etching by Otto Fröhlich
Steiner, c.1900
Rudolf Steiner in Munich with Annie Besant, leader of the Theosophical Society. Photo from 1907
Marie Steiner, 1903
Steiner's gravestone at the Goetheanum
The Waldorf school in Verrières-le-Buisson (France)
English sculptor Edith Maryon belonged to the innermost circle of founders of anthroposophy and was appointed to head the Section of Sculptural Arts at the Goetheanum.
Rudolf Steiner 1900
Memorial for Rudolf Steiner in Vienna

In the first, more philosophically oriented phase of this movement, Steiner attempted to find a synthesis between science and spirituality.