What Is Spirituality?

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Spirituality is a broad term used to describe beliefs, practices, and experiences that seek inspiration, meaning, and connection. It is often linked to feelings of hope, love, and inner peace and is a central part of many people’s lives. It is also about how we relate to others and the world around us. A spiritual life can involve a belief in a higher form of intelligence or consciousness that runs the universe and that life continues after death. It can include prayer, meditation, contemplation and a range of other activities. It can encompass many different faiths and is experienced by people of all ages and backgrounds, including those with no religion or who have confused their religious identity.

It is important to distinguish spirituality from religion, although it can be difficult to define. A religion is a system of faiths that share common beliefs, practices and rituals. A spirituality, on the other hand, may be a separate but related journey to find meaning in the world and ways of living that are in harmony with one’s core values. It can also include a sense of awe, wonder, and transcendence that can occur in nature, art, music, relationships, or war, to name just a few examples.

We reviewed articles that explored aspects of spirituality and presented them in a framework proposition (Figure 2) to facilitate discussion. To be included, articles had to be based on original research or offer a new concept or operational definition in the field of spirituality. Exclusion criteria were articles that only cited pre-existing definitions and did not discuss the dimensions of spirituality.