Unitarians value spirituality, but not in the ways most people define that term.  They don’t limit it to scripture reading, attending church services, and prayer.

Their view of spirituality is more akin to how Catholic monk Wayne Teasdale, who supported mutual understanding among world religions and was an active campaigner for social justice, saw it.

He said, “Spirituality is a way of life that affects and includes every moment of existence. It is at once a contemplative attitude, a disposition to a life of depth, and the search for ultimate meaning, direction, and belonging.”

Others use visual images to describe spirituality.  They may view it as a tree with one trunk and many different spiritual branches, or a single mountain with many paths going up, or a river of wisdom tapped by many wells.

Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, commented, “Sometimes people get the mistaken notion that spirituality is a separate department of life, the penthouse of our existence.  But rightly understood, it is a vital awareness that pervades all realms of our being. Someone may say, ‘I come alive when I listen to music’ or “I come to life when I garden’…Wherever we come alive, that is the area in which we are spiritual.”

Author Sarah Bowen uses this simple equation: Spirituality = a deeper perspective + a higher purpose.  She says, “Cultivating a deeper perspective enables me to see beyond my own needs to the interconnectedness we all share, and living with higher purpose helps me make daily choices that support that connection.”

[published May 19, 2023]