What is it?The word ‘Spirituality’ is tricky; difficult to define, still a bit embarassing to mention, but gradually starting to come into the mainstream. What do I really mean by it?
A quick answer might be “Taking care of our deepest relationships with the whole world around us”. Many people, however, would protest that for them spirituality means prayer, or meditation … so I need to say more in order to justify my stress on relationship.
First, the idea of relationship with the world chimes with many “official” definitions. For example, when spirituality was introduced into the UK school curriculum in 1993, and an influential book1 appeared which tried to explain it, Alex Roger wrote there that ”Our spirit, then, whatever else it has to do with, relates to the basic orientation or disposition of our life: the way we are in the world …" (p48). Spirituality has also been recognised in publications by the National Institute of Mental Health in England2.
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Into these hands, O Lord, I beseech your spirit; for you have endowed me, O God of truth.
Spirituality and Science fit together very naturally under this definition. Spirituality is about knowing something “from the inside” through establishing a relationship with that being; science is about knowing it “from the outside” by observing and analysing it. They fit together like a hand and a glove, and each can inform the other.
Papers relating to spirituality
For a sketch of more ideas on the connections between science and spirituality see the extracts from my chapter in Crisis as Opportunity
For the psychological dimensions of this topic see the next two references to
joint work with Isabel Clarke
My spiritual home is in Christianity. I don't approve of much that
goes on at this ‘home’, but I think that the humanity now needs
to recover the wisdom latent in the mystical strand of this and the other faith
traditions. Some documents here are:
See also links to past writings.
1 Best, Ron (Ed) (1996)Education, Spirituality and the Whole Child, Cassel, London
2 Gilbert, P., Nicholls, V., McCulloch, A. and Sheehan, A. (2003) Inspiring Hope. Recognizing the importance of spirituality in a whole person approach to mental health, NIMHE, London.