This week the word “spiritual” came up for group discussion. What do we really mean when we use this word?
Linguistically, spirit comes from the latin word “spiritus” with the root “spirare” which means to breathe.
The dictionary definition is “individual relationship with a higher power that motivates behavior and provides meaning and purpose”.
Spirit is also defined as soul, courage, vigor.
In Hebrew, the word for spirit is “ruah” which means breath - not just the air that moves in and out of our lungs but, more deeply, “life breathing through this being”.
Thus, spirituality is innate to all of life. Much like a bird that knows to migrate, our capacity for spiritual experience is intrinsic, already present within, not something that needs to be taught. It can be felt as our sense of wonder and awe, our expression of aliveness, our capacity for reverence and the recognition of connectedness to something outside ourselves.
And perhaps it is more, something inexpressible.
We are being breathed!
How interesting! How exciting!
If spirituality is intrinsic to every person, perhaps every living thing, then we have a common ground of experience from which to relate. This common ground is beyond any differences in religious belief and understanding. It is not specific to a culture or even a species. It is a part of being alive.
We can experience wonder, reverence and connection together with each other and all living things. Everything is spiritual.