What Does it Really Mean to Be Spiritual? : ThyBlackMan

Thursday, April 25, 2019

What Does it Really Mean to Be Spiritual?

August 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Christian Talk, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) People often say “I’m not religious, I am spiritual”. Just what does that mean? Why are a growing number of people so loathe to identify with religion to the deference of spirituality?

The Pew Research Center reports a 3% drop in the number of people who attend religious services at least once per week. Historically black Protestant denominations (Baptists, Methodists etc.) have seen sharp declines in attendance over the past quarter-century.

If people have stopped identifying as “religious”, then what are they identifying as?

Pew also reports that a quarter of U.S. adults (27%) now say they think of themselves as ‘spiritual’ but not religious, up 8 percentage points in five years.

The problem is the term ‘spiritual’ is vague and short on substance. Just what do people who say they are ‘spiritual’ really mean? It means different things to different people.

Life is first an inner experience, writes former Essence editor Susan L. Taylor, all the peace and security we are seeking is within us.

Here’s what ‘spiritual’ – or life in the Spirit – means to me. I define ‘spirituality’ as the sacred and devotional dimension of life that flows from direct communion with God, a communion nurtured by four elements: prayer, ritual, meditation and worship.


Prayer is man’s greatest power! So writes the imminent W. Clement Stone. How right he was! A life nurtured by prayer is invincible; it’s holder impregnable. Prayer is the believer’s lifeline, the act that holds one steady amidst the turbulent storms of life. Much prayer much power. No prayer no power.


A ritual is defined as a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions according to a prescribed order. Ritual in the sense I am using it here is adopting a practice that is intended to honor a sacred belief. It could be something as simple as a hot bath with oils and candles or taking a long walk at evening.

Don’t confuse relationship with ‘ritual’. Ritual only adds to a relationship, it does not become the relationship. As Deborah Norville writes, There is a comfort in rituals, and rituals provide a framework for stability when you are trying to find answers.


Closely aligned with ritual is meditation. Meditation is to think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting. For me, reciting mantras during meditation adds an element of trust to the meditative practice. The late Dr. Wayne Dyer recommended a form of meditation that allows us to become more introspective by visiting quiet places such as churches, museums, mountains and lakes.


Of the four dimensions of spirituality, worship is perhaps the most neglected element, especially considering the aforementioned statistics that show the decline in attendance of religious services. Spirituality, though, lacks severely without a worship component. C.S. Lewis captured it well when he wrote, A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.

Prayer, ritual, meditation and worship are all components of the spiritual life. There are many more dimensions, but to live and have our being in these four tenets lends to our feeling of connectedness to a Power higher than us.

Staff Writer; W. Eric Croomes

This talented brother is a holistic lifestyle exercise expert and founder and executive coach of Infinite Strategies LLC, a multi-level coaching firm that develops and executes strategies for fitness training, youth achievement and lifestyle management. Eric is an author, fitness professional, holistic life coach and motivational speaker.

In October 2015, Eric released Life’s A Gym: Seven Fitness Principles to Get the Best of Both, which shows readers how to use exercise to attract a feeling of wellness, success and freedom (Infinite Strategies Coaching LLC, 2015) – http://www.infinitestrategiescoaching.com.


2 Responses to “What Does it Really Mean to Be Spiritual?”
  1. Pelvo White, Jr. says:

    Words are an accumulation of symbols by which to communicate ideas or group of ideas. Words often fall short of their intended purpose which is to communicate meanings.I believe this to be true when attempting to define the spirituality of prayer. The disciples of Jesus the Christ asked him how they could contact him when he was no longer with them in persona ? Jesus instructed them on how to pray to him thus we have the ” Lord’s Prayer .” To pray means ” to empty one’s self. ” To ” take it to the lord in prayer ” means to seek the Lord’s help in solving a problem that we have been unable to solve ourselves. We discuss the seemingly unmovable problem with the lord. Such a belief forms the foundational beliefs of such groups as Alcohol and Narcotics Anonymous. You pray or empty oneself of the troubling burden asking the lord to remove this burden and come away from the act of prayer( seeking relief from the burden ) fully believing and having faith that the Lord will completely answer your prayer. It has been my observation that this psycho-physiological process works. The exercising of this process is one form of my understanding of human spirituality which involves interactions between God’s metaphysics and physics.

  2. Pelvo White, Jr. says:

    We are not superimposed upon perceivable reality. We are part of it. The word ” spiritual “, as defined in this article falls far short of defining our relationship with the universe. I am of the opinion that we do not need to be instructed in ” being “, and question why we have invented and instruct in such words as “spirituality.” The word ” spirituality ” only finds usage in religious lexicon and does not exist the same in all established religions of the world hence we have differing religions. I have found that the wild men of the Amazon and other so-called uncivilized groups of people throughout the world automatically exhibit an innate bonding with reality without the benefit of religious teachings. They eat when they are hungry, sleep when they are tired,flee from that which is dangerous to them, and fight when they are angry, all pursuing built in tendencies rather than religious teachings or claiming any particular ” spirituality .”

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