What is spirituality?

candles-wave“What is spirituality?” he asks me.

I stop to think. Or rather, I stop to try to stop myself from thinking. Instead, I try to redirect my focus down to my gut in order to feel forth an answer.

“Faith.” That’s what I want to say. But I don’t. Still trying to turn my brain off, I spit out, “Spirituality is that sense that tells me when everything seems to be going to shit, it is going to be alright in the end.”

He smiles, knowingly. I can always tell when he is about to say something he thinks is profound – and therefore likely is – by this very specific smile that appears on his face right before he says it. Turning to the paper in front of us, he says, “It’s this.” And he draws an arrow pointing from where I have written “vulnerability/honesty,” connecting it to where I have written “spirituality.”

On the paper is a jumble of shapes, each labeled with something I believe I need to work on: spirituality, vulnerability/honesty, acceptance, willingness, wholeness/being myself, anxiety, and forgiveness. I’ve connected them with arrows. Hence the initial question and his proposal that vulnerability/honesty → spirituality. I contend that the opposite is the case, that spirituality is necessary for me to be open to being vulnerable. That the faith provided by spirituality that things are going to be ok if I get vulnerable is what allows me to do so.

“No,” he says. “Vulnerability is what allows spirituality in.” The time for smiles has passed. The conversation ends and I’m left to mull this over.

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