Many people feel confused by the word, “spirituality,” because they are not exactly sure what it means. Some feel that spirituality is just another word for religion.

While there are similarities between spirituality and religion, they are not synonymous.

  • Spirituality is the individual search for connection with the source of ultimate meaning.
  • Religion, with its traditions, rites, and institutions, has a basic function to create and nurture spiritual community.

In the search for meaning and connection, all humans are spiritual beings, but not all are religious.

Both religion and spirituality are complex and paradoxical and concern a relationship with the Transcendent. Thus they are hard to explain in words. Defining spirituality and religion presents the same challenge as trying to define other significant, powerful experiences such as love, hate, joy, or sorrow in all their unique experiences and profound variety.

Readers who feel uncomfortable with the words spiritual or spirituality can substitute their own words throughout this section – perhaps words like connection or love or meaning.