Common Threads in Spirituality Defined


Spirituality is a vast topic that encompasses all belief systems and personal ways of experiencing the unknown. It is difficult to discuss or define because it is the result of a person’s unique relationship with the unknown and their individual perspective of their existence (Krok, 2009a).

The most common definitions are religion or religious practice, self-improvement, and transcendence. Each of these can be further analyzed and categorized into other categories. The term “spirituality” has evolved and expanded over time, which has created confusion about what is and is not spirituality. Despite the wide range of views and practices, it is possible to find common threads in many different beliefs that can be categorized as spirituality.

These common threads are found in all the definitions of spirituality and can be categorized into three axes or domains (Figure 2). The first axis is about human aspects, which includes things such as self-scrutiny, examining the meaning of life, hope, and self-actualization. The second axis is about human connection with others and nature, which includes things such as helping others unconditionally, compassion, altruism, empathy, and pacifism. The third axis is about cultural aspects, which includes things such as mysticism and values.

When deciding what to believe or accept, it is important to consider the source of the information. It is also important to ask yourself what you feel when reading the information and if it resonates with your spirit. If you don’t feel that something is right, it is best to move on.