The spirituality is an interdisciplinary science encompasses anthropology, arts, history, literary studies, medicine, neuro-physiology, psychology and theology. In the early centuries of Christianity, spirituality and theology were integrated and inseparable. With the rise of theology in western part of world, Christianity gradually became understood as a conceptual science distinct from ascetical or mystical life. This was an unfortunate separation of science and spirituality, a separation resisted in Eastern Orthodoxy. [In the Jewish and Christian traditions the term spirit is a complicated subject and has multiple meanings in different texts. Accordingly, in the Hebrew Bible the term Ruah refers to the breath or spirit of God, a life-giving force. In the New Testament, Pneuma (Greek) or spiritus (Latin) refers often to the Holy Spirit or the animating principle of the human being].
Spirituality refers to an authentic and holy life in all its aspects. Christian theology has perpetuated deep ambiguity in its value in physical and spiritual persistence in numerous religious traditions. Thus, spirituality incorporates holy treatment of, or relationship to the body and the physical world.
In the contemporary context, it refers to an interior journey to the practice of prayer and meditation, to faithful and righteous living, or to a general commitment to authenticity and self-awareness. Prayer, ritual and meditation remain central spiritual practices across religious traditions. Spirituality does not mean simply the interior life or religious discipline. Rather, it relates to social action, ethical choice, family commitments, friendship, work, and politics. Thus, both private and public practices form the spaces for spiritual expression and growth. Christian spirituality could be understood as life in the Spirit of God, a path in which one walks as a disciple of Jesus Christ revealed by the Creator in history within the community of the church. Among other religious forms, Buddhist spirituality has been defined as ‘cultivation.’ Spirituality spreads in all walks of life such as:
The practice of science
Spiritual practice is an attentive search for understanding of the intricate and extraordinarily complex world around or within us. The practice of science merges the power of reason with humility and curiosity.
Spirituality and health
A strong academic and popular interest in exploring connections between spirituality and health is widely seen. This interest takes two forms. One is the general insistence on the relatedness of body, mind and spirit. These practices need not claim a metaphysical reality responsible for healing. The second kind of interest presupposes a higher being life -giving Creator that sustains or restores bodily health.
Spirituality and faith healing
Diverse religious traditions believed that a divine being can cure illness.Christians believe that spiritual practices such as prayer, exorcism and anointing can restore health as Christ is chronicled as doing in the Gospels (e.g., Mark. 6:13). Christian Scientists make faith healing centre and maintain as a principal tenet that true understanding alleviates disease. Adherents to Buddhism, Shintoism and Daoism often wear amulets to ward off illness. In different ways, various spiritual practices orient one towards the divine healing power.
Meditation denotes deep or continued reflection seen as a state of direct spiritual or intuitive seeing. Meditation is found in all religious traditions but varies as to method, focus and religious objectives. Practices range from the apophatic, an emptying procedure to clear consciousness to the cataphatic, where a specific image, idea or deity is kept in mental focus. Apophatic practices tend to be more cognitive and intellectual (mind), whereas cataphatic practices are more emotional and devotional (heart). Meditation focuses scientific research to determine the neurophysiologic conditions productive of meditative awareness [Latin word meditari - to meditate]. Meditation is a universal spiritual wisdom and a practice that find the core of all the great religious traditions, leading from the mind to the heart. It is a way of simplicity, silence and stillness. In Christianity this tradition became marginalized and even forgotten. But in recent times a great recovery of the contemplative dimension of Christian faith has been happening. Central to this now is the rediscovery of a practice of meditation in the Christian tradition that comes to us from the early Christian monks – the Desert
Fathers and Mothers allow us to put into practice the teaching of Jesus on prayer in a radical and simple way.
Psalm 19:14 states, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Unfortunately, the word “meditation” can carry the connotation of something mystical. For some, meditation is clearing the mind while sitting in an unusual position. For others, meditation is communing with the spirit world around us.
Christian meditation is to be solely on the Word of God and what it reveals about Him. David describes the man who is “blessed” as one whose “delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” [Psalm 1:2]. True Christian meditation is the study of the word, praying over it and asking God to give us understanding by the Spirit, who has promised to lead us “into all truth” [John 16:13]. Then we put this truth into practice, committing ourselves to the Scriptures as the rule for life and practice as we go about our daily activities. This causes spiritual growth and maturing things of God as we are taught by His Holy Spirit.
Prayer and Meditation
Prayer is the practice of communion with God and traditionally involves components such as confession, thanksgiving and intercession. Meditation is a form of spiritual practice based on focused attention that is restrained in its use of words or images. Prayer is conceptualized in terms of a relationship with God. Meditation does not necessarily make theistic assumptions. Benefits to the person who prays Prayer makes a valuable contribution to personal coping that apparently helped to protect against depression. Prayer is closely related to other aspects of religion, such as religious beliefs, experience and public rituals. Nevertheless it is highly plausible that prayer is helpful, and it is not difficult to suggest how it might be so. It seems to serve as a cognitive method of coping with stress in which events are conceptualized in a broad framework of meaning. The religious frame of reference does not look at events primarily in terms of whether they are enjoyable, but in terms of how they relate to the purposes of God. It is a basic belief of many faith traditions that God can bring blessing out of adversity and prayer facilities the application of that belief to particular events. The beneficial aspects of prayer are probably mediated by the attribution processes of prayer. Prayer invites attributions to God, otherwise there may be little alternative to attributions to one’s own strengths or weaknesses, or to seeing events as the result of mere chance processes.
Thanksgiving is an aspect of prayer that plays an important role in the reformulation of attributions.
Below given some quotable quotes regarding meditation:
Reading makes a full man, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man. - Benjamin Franklin.
Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom. – Buddha.
The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large. - Confucius.
If a person’s basic state of mind is serene and calm, then it is possible for this inner peace to overwhelm a painful physical experience. - The Dalai Lama.
It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart. -Mahatma Gandhi.
One hour’s meditation on the work of the Creator is better than seventy years of prayer. – Muhammad.
However, to precise the concept, though some ardent religious spirit which forced to propagate through different media but the whole transformation will direct a person to lead a life to be joined with the hands of God at last. This feature can be chieved through meditation and the spirituality which inculcate a peaceful life pathfinder in the rest of life.
Author Aravind Krishnan K. is the Asst. Prof. of Zoology, in University College, Trivandrum. He is a GOCE Graduate of Divya Bhodhanam course with first rank. This article is reproduced from Divyabodhanam Souvenir 2013 pp 88-89