Spirituality and Religion

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Exclusive:Spirituality is different for everyone. For some, it’s about participating in organized religion: going to a temple, gurudwara, mosque, and so on. For others, spirituality is a non-religious experience that varies with individuals. Spirituality may work through private prayer, yoga, meditation, quiet reflection, a belief in the supernatural, a feeling of faith or simply, long walks.

Everyone may not see themselves as spiritual, but the instinct towards spirituality is deeply ingrained in humans. In short, humans can’t help but ask big questions. They’re wired into the brain. Research shows that even a doubter can’t suppress the sense that there is something greater than the concrete world they see, that there’s something hidden. As the brain processes sensory experiences, it naturally looks for patterns and people naturally seek out meaning in those patterns. This can lead to mental discomfort when one believes in something but is strongly inclined to try to explain away anything that conflicts with it. This is not unique to religion or spirituality, but it can often occur in the context of such beliefs.

Today, the percentage of adults identifying as religious in many industrialized countries is declining. Spirituality and religious affiliation aren’t necessarily synonymous, and it’s highly possible that spirituality could remain steady or even increase even though there’s a decline in religious affiliation. While there’s no direct link found, higher levels of spirituality have been linked to increased compassion, strengthened relationships, and improved self-esteem. There may also be a negative side to renouncing spirituality entirely. Some researchers have also indicated that avoiding the magic around and being unable to identify patterns in the surrounding world may be linked to depression or the inability to experience a pleasure.

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