Spirituality (from the Latin spiritus , spirit , breath 'or spiro , I breathe' - like ancient Greek ψύχω or ψυχή , see psyche ) is the search, the turning to, the immediate perception or the subjective experience of something that is sensually incomprehensible and rationally not explainable transcendent reality underlying the material world. Spiritual insights can be gained with questions about the meaning and value of existence , with the experience of the wholeness of the world in its connection with one's own existence, with the “ultimate truth” and absolute , highest reality as well as with the integration of the sacred , inexplicable or ethically valuable into one's own Be connected to life.
It is not about intellectual insights , logic or communication about it, but in any case it is about intense psychological, highly personal states and experiences that have a direct impact on the lifestyle and ethical ideas of the person. A prerequisite is a religious conviction, which however does not have to be associated with a specific religion .
There is no generally accepted definition of the term . The personal, ideological belief determines its concrete meaning for each individual - for example, whether God or other spiritual beings , numinous or natural forces play a role.
In Christianity , spirituality used to be synonymous with piety and is still used that way today. In fact, piety is more formally linked to the practice of a particular teaching and its rituals. In the sciences today, spirituality is mostly used in the broader sense - encompassing denominations and religions - and piety in the narrower - more ecclesiastical - sense.
The term religiosity is sometimes equated with spirituality, although it either only describes the reverent belief or the feeling of a transcendent reality - without consciously and actively "exploring" it, or the turning to a certain religion.
At the 2010 annual meeting of the “Green Academy” only a minimal consensus could be reached on the meaning of the term spirituality: Spirituality is “something different from the disdainful Mammon ” (formulation suggestion of trend and futurologist Eike Wenzel ). The sociologist Detlef Pollack notes an increasing secularization of the German population, in the course of which the Catholic and Protestant Church in particular must position itself against the church-independent, spiritual movement.
Historical development of what is designated and the designation
Spiritual attitudes as part of the intuitive classification of (supposedly) inexplicable phenomena in the magical-mythical thinking of our ancestors probably developed very early in human history. In fact, many phenomena that earlier generations appeared to be "mysterious" can now be explained with the help of scientific insights. As the research results of anthropology have shown for many cultures without writing , there was originally only a fuzzy separation between the world and religion in people's lives as we know it. Spirituality was therefore an everyday behavior pattern of the animistic worldview until the development of formal religions and sciences .
Members of established religious communities often equate spirituality with “ piety ”, as was customary in the past. Today, however, this term is mainly used in the ecclesiastical context because it refers to a spirituality that is based on the teachings and cults of a particular religion and is not “freely” directed towards the transcendent. This also has the negative connotation that a pious person adheres to a religion without criticism, even if his mind would have to refuse to accept certain statements of faith as "true".
Christian Rutishauser differentiates between theological and secular spirituality. According to him, spirituality in contemporary society expresses the longing for a spirit that does not get stuck in the everyday and superficial.
At the present time, spirituality is primarily considered to be the “leading concept of postmodern religiosity ”. Karl Baier explains the “career” that the term spirituality has made up to the present day by saying that it “lacks the patina that many religious words have acquired in modern times”. In the French and English-speaking countries, it was not used by a large number of people until around 1900. In German-speaking countries it was also mentioned in a lexicon around 1900, but it did not gain mass impact here until after 1960.
Varieties of spirituality
With regard to forms of spirituality found empirically in the West, Karl Baier differentiates between a Catholic and an originally Anglo-Saxon, "new religious" form of spirituality. The phenomenon of spirituality can be differentiated not only according to its origin from specific religions, but also with regard to the question of whether spirituality is compatible with existing religions or worldviews, possibly even promotes their liveliness, or whether it fundamentally questions them. According to a study by the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster in 2008 on areas of horoscopy , astrology or magic, for example, 17.3% of the West German population said amulets, crystals and stones had a spiritual effect. The study also made a distinction between "non-religious, non-spiritual", "religious, non-spiritual", "non-religious, spiritual" and "religious, spiritual":
Origin from existing religions and cults
The religions and denominations have produced distinct spiritual currents. This has to do with the different experience, description and naming of the higher authority or reality in the religious traditions: God (Arabic / in Islam: Allah ), a deity, Tao , Brahman , Maha- Atman , Shunyata , Great Spirit, Pneuma , Prajna , Maha- Purusha , Sugmad, the one in unity or the one in multiplicity, etc. a.
When individuals or groups take over elements from different spiritual traditions and combine them with one another, it should at some point make sense to speak of a new spirituality. Often spiritualities are shaped or initiated by individual charismatic figures, sometimes named after these people. Erwin Möde explains the empirically demonstrable increase in spiritual diversity in the West by stating that "the Christian churches [...] are emptier, the conventional image of God and previous morality are fading, a monopoly claim to religion [...] is no longer accepted" because "[A] n the place of the religious monopolies enforced with political violence [...] the free variety of religious convictions".
However, it is difficult to determine at which point such a self-determined spirituality is no longer compatible with the religion from which it has developed. For example, someone who considers the concept of the transmigration of souls to be plausible is actually no longer a Christian, since the belief in the uniqueness of the individual soul is at the core of Christian faith. Ulrich Winkler warns: “[M] ultimate religious affiliation runs counter to religions. They demand serious and undivided approval of the teaching. A separation of individual rituals or practices from the theoretical and theological teaching context contradicts the self-understanding of religions. "
Christian spirituality is understood to be that specific form of spirituality that focuses on the personal relationship with Jesus Christ . It is always also biblical spirituality and tied back to early Christian practices. Depending on one's personal piety, this also includes asceticism and mysticism . In doing so, it points beyond confessional boundaries and particularities. In Christian spirituality, individual perfection is seen as not only achievable through techniques ( contemplation , reading the Bible, prayer , charity , retreats , pilgrimage , church music ), but especially experienced as grace . Christian spirituality not only includes religious rituals , but is also expressed in everyday life. Small things in particular can acquire religious significance and thus contribute to the Christian transformation of people.
New variants of spirituality also develop through the activities of monasteries, priestly communities, religious movements and the like. Ä., from which forms of " lay spirituality " have emerged, which are lived by people who pursue ordinary professions as loyal members of their religious or ideological community and neither as monk, nun, priest or the like in the narrower sense of religious tasks to theirs Have made the center of life. In many cases a lay spirituality emerged from a monastic or monastic one, but then specifically transformed it.
Stefanie Rosenkranz shows in her report on the relationship between Germans and the people's churches in Germany that this is characterized by deep alienation: Both Protestants and Catholics have built up a spiritual deficit over the decades and appear “overall about as illuminated as the Bundestag. “Anyone who undergoes“ the difficult test of a Protestant church service on any Sunday ”has to sit on a hard board and“ stare at a naked cross ”. “Factual pastors are constantly uttering sensible words, just as you can hear them from the pastor's daughter Angela Merkel every day in the 'Tagesschau'.” Such a service has “the ambience of a mathematics lesson at a comprehensive school”. With the Catholics there is indeed more "pomp", but the local believer appears to Rosary like a "bleating, eternally misguided and guilty sheep that has to trot behind its almighty guardian".
The spiritual goal in Buddhism is enlightenment ( Bodhi ). There are many different methods and ways in which this goal is achieved. Buddha teaches the four noble truths , the eightfold path , as the main path to enlightenment . An essential part is practicing meditation . The best known Buddhist forms of meditation in the West are Vipassana and Zazen . Both schools teach non-judgmental and unintentional awareness in the here and now, without being attached to thoughts, sensations or feelings.
The Hinduism consists of different directions with very different schools and views. The teachings and ideas of God are very different in the individual currents, even the views on life, death and redemption ( Moksha ) do not agree. Most believers, however, assume that life and death are a repetitive cycle (samsara), they believe in reincarnation. For example, spiritual practice includes rituals, worship of a god, and the pursuit of individual liberation.
For Islam , spirituality consists in establishing a spiritual bridge between man and the world on the one hand and God on the other within the framework of the "holy" scriptures. Secular thought systems that abstract from God are not classified as spiritual.
The five "pillars" ( Arabic أركان arkān ) of Islam are the basic duties that every Muslim has to fulfill:
- Shahāda (Islamic creed)
- Salāt (five times prayer)
- Zakāt (alms tax)
- Hem (fasting in ramadan)
- Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca)
For Ho'oponopono , a psycho-spiritual practice of the Hawaiians , spirituality consists in the liberation from undesirable, mainly interpersonal circumstances. The higher beings called on to help were predominantly nature spirits , but also a family spirit called 'aumakua. Traditionally, the procedure, in which everyone involved in a problem was present (in the spirit also the ancestors ), was led by a kahuna (healing priest, similar to a shaman ) through rituals and prayers. Its use dates back well over eight hundred years.
Modern forms established by kahuna Morrnah Simeona can be performed alone. Neither traditional nor modern forms of Hawaiian origin include mantras (partly due to the lack of participation of higher beings).
Bound and Free Spirituality
Spirituality as an integral part of existing religions
The term "spirituality" was used in French religious theology in the 18th century. For a long time (especially outside of France) it was rarely used. It was occupied by the church and stood for spiritual life, retreats, and occasionally also the destruction of unwanted desires.
The dtv Brockhaus Lexikon from 1962 also regards spirituality as the domain of the Catholic denomination: “Cath. Church: Christian piety insofar as it is understood as the work of the Spirit of God with the cooperation of man ; also personal appropriation of the message of salvation ”. In 1960 Hans Urs von Balthasar put forward the thesis: "Spirituality [is] the subjective side of dogmatics". The revelation , which is the source of the biblical texts and must be reflected on by theologians, must, according to Balthasar, be "incarnated" through spirituality so that it can be effective in everyday life. Ulrich Winkler interprets Balthasar's teaching in dogmatics as the “skeleton” of a religion, from which the “flesh of spirituality” cannot be separated. “Bones with flesh” - This picture is intended to make it clear that pious believers should not “dumb” through reflectionless spirituality, but neither should scholars remove themselves from the community of believers through elitist, for most incomprehensible philosophizing. Otherwise the following applies: "Dogmatics become encrusted and mysticism slips into the inwardness of psychological self-reflection".
Some reference works of the early 21st century (e.g. the Brockhaus Religionen - 2004 -: "Today largely synonymous with piety" or the Lexicon of Psychology - 2000–2002 -: "Piety, a spiritual orientation and way of life based on faith") equate spirituality with piety.
According to research by Arndt Büssing et al. (2006), what users of the term understand by “spirituality” depends on the ideological context to which they refer. Even in the 21st century, speakers or writers therefore always refer to an immaterial, non-sensually tangible reality (God, beings, etc.), which can still be experienced or sensed (awakening, insight, recognition) and which gives orientation to the way we live. According to Büssing, a distinction must be made between a searching attitude and a believingly accepting or a knowing and knowing attitude. The authors quoted above take a “believing-accepting” attitude.
Free spirituality independent of existing religions
The Masonic Lodge St. Johann am Rhein in Schaffhausen attaches importance to the statement: “Spirituality is [...] to be distinguished from belief and religion. Religiousness is too restrictive and because religions are or can be dogmatic, they do not fit the Masonic “philosophy” anyway. ”By contrast, what is called spirituality today has always been important for Freemasons.
Even Johann Wolfgang Goethe's drama Faust (1808) is an early example of an unchurched spirituality: "No personal God, no more religion, no religious community, no church, no associated moral order - but the feeling of universality and omni, emotional congruence with the universe , the absolute as a code for love. "
What Karl Baier described as Anglo-Saxon-neo-religious began in the 19th century. Helena Blavatsky , co-founder of the Theosophical Society , founded modern esotericism, which incorporated elements of neo-Hindu spirituality. As a result, according to Baier, this form of spirituality has lost its specifically Christian character. As a result, there was a deliberate proximity of the English word "spirituality" to spiritualist interns of "necromancy".
This understanding only slowly seeped into German-speaking countries. However, as early as 1936 the Oestergaards Lexicon concretized the term “spiritual” with the help of the attributes “spiritual, witty, also [sic!] Spiritual, ecclesiastical” and defined the term “spirituality” as “spirituality, spiritual being”, which in contrast to materiality stand
At the turn of the millennium (1999–2004) the Duden defines spirituality as “spirituality; inner life, spiritual being ”. In the sciences today, spirituality is mostly used in the broader sense - encompassing denominations and religions - and piety in the narrower - more ecclesiastical - sense. According to the biophysicist Markolf H. Niemz, both science and religion thrive on spiritual impulses. He sums up his understanding of spirituality in the succinct sentence: “Spirituality is truth that comes from within.” So Niemz sees no contradiction between a spiritual and a scientific view of the world.
The fact that the Catholic understanding of spirituality has faded into the background in the 21st century is supported by current analyzes from the field of psychology, which tended to avoid the topic of "spirituality" in the 20th century:
- The religious psychologist Kenneth Pargament (1999) places the “search for the sacred” in the foreground of his definition of spirituality. According to him, the basic attitude is not ego-centered, the “point of view” is clearly directed towards a transcendent “center”.
- Transpersonal psychology understands spirituality as the perception of the unity of reality and the recognition of the spiritual as reality.
From the field of nursing practitioners, namely the Bavarian Hospice and Palliative Association, the concise statement comes: "Spirituality wants to integrate the" inexplicable "into one's own life."
Blurring the line to esotericism
Already in the Brockhaus from 1973 the keyword was: "Today the spiritual has also become a frequently blurred buzzword, runs under the generic terms esotericism and life support and is already present in almost all mundane areas." Currently the term spirituality is also used as a catchphrase Application, in connection with New Age and alternative medicine , and also politically in the program and the designation of a small party such as " The Violets - for spiritual politics ".
An advertising and marketing agency regards spirituality as a product on a “ market of meaning ”: “Very traditional players such as the churches are fighting for the market of salvation with completely new ones . In the future, spirituality will be part of a modern lifestyle that is oriented towards sustainability and quality. Spirituality in the 21st century covers a large number of needs, for example life support, nutrition, health, counseling and coaching. The personal attitude towards life and one's own identity are enhanced through spirituality. "
According to the Catholic theologian Herbert Poensgen, the word “spirituality” threatens to become a “ plastic word” due to the inflationary use of the word field “spiritual” in connection with the increasing trend to increase sales through marketing using the word field “spiritual” . According to Poensgen, "plastic words" are characterized by the fact that "connotations prevail by far over denotation ".
In the ranks of opponents of the traditional “ occidental ” forms of religiosity, the “West” has been regarded as an area of the world with an underdeveloped spirituality since the 19th century. Since the time of the colonization of overseas territories by European states, the concept of “spirituality” has functioned in Western culture as a criterion for delimiting and identifying with Eastern cultures. What is specifically meant in an essay by Ursula King is the cultural confrontation between the "East", which is personified in the article as India, and the "West", which is initially not further localized (but in the later article it turns out to be America) . The “materialistically oriented West” is commonly understood as the opposition to “Eastern spirituality”, so the two opposite directions get the antagonism: Spiritualism vs. Materialism, with the latter taking precedence over the former in the hegemonic communication structure of the British-Indian colonial discourse. This assignment of terms (east = spiritualism / west = materialism) is, however, one imposed by the “west” on the “east” and stages a frontal position between west and east. At the beginning King clearly formulates what their goal is: "This article is concerned with the examination of one particular image, namely the polarization between 'Indian spirituality' and 'Western materialism' ..." In this article King explains that the superpositioning of the "West "Towards the colony of India from part of the established Indian upper class was made through a reinterpretation of Hinduism:" The nineteenth-century reinterpretation of Hinduism, often referred to as the 'Hindu renaissance', is seen by some as a synthesis of ideas from East and West. ”In the course of the 19th century, when the dichotomous discourse concept of the“ spiritual East ”versus the“ material West ”was established, the“ Eastern spirituality ”with inferior connotations by the colonial power experienced an appreciation, as King explains on the part of the Indian population. In a dedicated demarcation from the “West”, the oppressive power, “Indian spirituality” now functioned as a positively re-evaluated identity feature. From the self-confidence and self-understanding of the Indians, now regarded as a “spiritual mission”, national movements and ideologies formed, which finally led to the independence of India in 1947 under Gandhi.
Spirituality even without reference to transcendence
Lately the term has also been understood without reference to God or transcendence, e.g. B. by André Comte-Sponville in “What does an atheist believe in ?: Spirituality without God”. Justice, compassion, love, democracy and human rights could unite believers, agnostics and atheists without wanting to proselytize one another. Similarly, the Dalai Lama , who describes the fundamental human values of goodness, kindness, compassion and loving care as basic spirituality. In this respect, one could speak of a humanistic spirituality that is geared towards making the values of humanism a reality in one's own life.
Meaning of "intellectual honesty"
In his 2010 lecture “Spirituality and intellectual honesty” in Berlin, Thomas Metzinger speaks of a philosophical or secularized spirituality and means an epistemic and at the same time ethical approach to life that follows the principle of intellectual honesty, unconditional honesty, truthfulness and conscientiousness towards oneself to avoid error and self-deception. Intellectual honesty does not allow one to believe anything without adequate evidence, clues, or circumstantial evidence (John Locke). Correctly understood spirituality is therefore easily compatible with the principles of the Enlightenment , but repeatedly comes into conflict with existing religious and ideological communities, especially with their dogmas.
According to Metzinger, spirituality as a cognitive process is characterized by 4 properties:
- non-theoretical (i.e. gained through practical experience),
- non-propositional (no statements with a logical truth content),
- non-cognitive (it's not about intellectual insights) and
- non-discursive (the knowledge cannot be communicated linguistically, it can only be hinted at).
In 2006, the psychologist Rudolf Sponsel defined spirituality as a more or less conscious preoccupation with "questions of meaning and value in existence, the world and people, and especially with one's own existence and self-realization in life". According to him, spirituality also includes a special religious attitude to life of a person, not necessarily understood in a denominational sense, which focuses on the transcendent or immanent divine being or on the principle of the transcendent, non-personal ultimate truth or highest reality.
Büssing attempts to take into account different interpretations of the relationship between spirituality and existing religions in a definition and writes: “The term spirituality denotes an attitude to life that searches for meaning and meaning, in which the seeker feels his / her 'divine 'Is conscious of origin (whereby both a transcendent as well as an immanent divine being can be meant, e.g. God, Allah , YHWH , Tao , Brahman , Prajna , All-One etc.) and a bond with others, with nature, with the divine etc. feels. Out of this awareness, he / she strives for the concrete implementation of the teachings, experiences or insights in the sense of an individually lived spirituality, which can also be non-denominational. This has a direct impact on lifestyle and ethical ideas. "
Practical Effects of Spirituality
Meyers Taschenlexikon (2003) emphasizes as well as the lexicon of psychology that spirituality has an impact on the development of individual life: [Spirituality is] "the spiritual and spiritual orientation and life practice of a person based on his belief and formed by his concrete living conditions".
Expressions of Spirituality
With the help of questionnaire constructs, at least seven factors could be differentiated as forms of expression of spirituality:
- Prayer , trust in God and security
- Knowledge , wisdom and insight
- Transcendence belief
- Compassion , generosity and tolerance
- Conscious interaction with others, oneself and the environment (corresponds in the broadest sense to a careful treatment on a horizontal level)
- Awe and gratitude
- Equanimity and meditation .
Rudolf Sponsel lists behaviors that, in his opinion, enable outsiders to recognize whether another person is shaped by "spirituality": "Wake up and stand up ritual (to greet the day appropriately), reflect, pause, reflect, meditate (Satipatthana meditation) , taking a walk, doing household chores (e.g. washing up, ironing, peeling onions, watering flowers), on the quiet place of the toilet, giving thanks before eating, with a design (setting the table, making the apartment beautiful, painting), music hear, draw attention to a log fire or candlelight; breathe consciously; full care and devotion to an activity, flowers, a spiritual text (e.g. Borges: If I could live my life again) to work on you; Appreciation rituals, sayings, make contact with your own life story, conduct inner dialogues with caregivers and reference objects (nature, fate, cosmos, stars, mother earth ...). "
Anything that is done with a certain mindfulness, affection, devotion or awareness can express spirituality. "Rituals can help, but sometimes involve the danger of the mechanical (50 rosaries rattling off) and hollowing," says Sponsel.
Evaluation of the material
Horst W. Opaschowski sees the deeper reason why making money is less important in the 21st century than it was before the turn of the millennium (cf. the contempt for "disdainful Mammon" at the Green Academy conference mentioned above) in the fact that most People in the highly developed countries the narrowing of the term "prosperity" to the material-economic, which began in the late 18th century, is now viewed as inappropriate. Instead of the always-more (= standard of living ), more emphasis is now placed on the always-better (= quality of life): the latter is more sustainable and ensures more life satisfaction. For globalization losers, on the other hand, questions about the meaning of life are pure luxury: money and material values are becoming increasingly important to them.
Often spiritual experiences such as near-death experiences, after- death contact or media contacts are the starting point for a lived spirituality. Studies have shown that between 4 to 15 percent of people in the United States, Australia, and Germany have a near-death experience. A near-death experience is associated with after-effects, which often include a greatly increased spirituality in the person concerned (see after-effects of near-death experiences ). Likewise, in various surveys, between 10 and 80 percent of the respondents report on post-death contacts (see also frequency of post-death contacts ). Most religions also claim that their teachings are based on spiritual experiences - experienced by prophets , mystics , etc.
Psychedelics such as psilocybin and other substances called entheogens can trigger spiritual experiences. Such plant ingredients have traditionally been used by many indigenous peoples for centuries. Shamans and similar necromancers often use them in combination with other spiritual practices. According to a study, the combination with regular meditation also increases its effect.
- List of mystics
- New Age
- Neugeist movement (English New Thought for "new thinking")
- Religious Psychopathology
- Religious Psychology
- Spiritualism (theology)
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- Rudolf Sponsel: Spirituality. A psychological examination. Section Spirituality in Everyday Life
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