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What is Spirituality? Part One

What is spirituality?  Since “ContemplAgeing” involves the connection between aging and spirituality, especially the opportunities for spiritual growth that accompany our aging, it is important to spell out what I mean by the word “spirituality.”  In my next several postings I will lay out what the word spirituality means to me.  This will help you to better understand the practice of ContemplAgeing.

 Being a clinical psychologist with an education in theology as well I have looked to both disciplines for ideas and conceptualizations that help me understand what I mean when I say “spirituality.”  I will be sharing with you what I found and how I think about it.

 Within the theological realm there are an abundance of definitions of spirituality.

 In the past, within the psychological domain, my search for the meaning of spirituality would have yielded fewer results and far less interest in the idea.  This lack was the result of the evolution of the field of psychology and the impact of particular thinkers, for example, Sigmund Freud and his book, The Future of an Illusion.

 In clinical psychology and practice there was not only disinterest, but also a pronounced disdain and skepticism directed toward spirituality and religion.  In fact, the realm of spiritual and religious experience was often viewed as pathological or an indication of a lack of maturation and development.

 At the same time others in the psychological field such as William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, were interested in this dimension of human experience.  So where are we now?  My next blog posting will pick up on the current state of affairs as I see it.

 In the meantime, ask yourself what the word “spirituality” means to you.  How would you define it for yourself?  If useful, write down your definition of the word.  And if you are aging—and we all are aging— how might spirituality be relevant to your life experience and the particular circumstances of your aging?

Posted in spiritualityUncategorized on 14 January 2010
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