All of us are spiritual, for the Latin derivative of this word spiritus is to breathe or breathing into.
My whole world has suddenly changed. I am dying. I am faced with pain and suffering. The equations in my family have changed. I am no longer the breadwinner; the nurturer; the joker; the healthy one. I become increasingly dependent on my family. What will happen to my family after I die? Who will look after them? I can't bear the pain of separation. Will they be able to bear the pain of loss?
And then there are other difficult questions troubling me. What have I done to deserve this? Can I control this? How do I die? Why did this happen to me? Why me? Why is God punishing me like this? What will happen after my death? Is there a life after death? Is there a God or some other supreme power deciding our fate here and hereafter? Where do I find solace? What will sustain me over this time of suffering?
A time of crisis, like facing one's mortality, can bring questions such as these to the foreground. A sense of spirituality can be heightened at this time concerning questions of meaning, the purpose of life and death, the significance of connections and relationships, the place of love and forgiveness, and the evaluation of one's life as it has been lived. Perhaps, it might be the quest towards peace that is of utmost importance.
The word spirituality can be understood in many ways. We embrace an inclusive and pluralistic understanding of spirituality.
The word spirituality is being used as an umbrella term to encompass a wide range of belief and faith systems, of a conceptual and practical nature. This may include a traditional religious framework, or it could be about a value-belief framework that includes elements of the transcendental (that which is beyond). Other meanings and understandings of spirituality might include such notions like One-ness, Interconnectedness, The Mystery, a journey. These understandings, and other's like these, make up the diverse expressions of spirituality that are an important part of everyday modern life.
Spirituality may also be understood as a capacity and tendency that is innate and unique to all persons. This spiritual tendency moves the individual towards knowledge, love, one's capacity for creativity, growth, and the development of a values system. Spirituality encompasses the religious, spiritual, and transpersonal (Summit on spirituality, 1995).
Spirituality may also be understood as the organising centre of people's lives; it is that which brings coherence or unity to the diverse elements of their experience, providing them with meaning and purpose, enabling them to transcend present dilemmas and move creatively into the future (Hodder & Turley, 1997).
Dying can push us from the superficial into the depths very quickly. Spirituality may be tested by dying and death. That is why anyone living their dying, or living with the dying needs to be in touch with their spirit, their own meaning.