The Concept of Spirituality

Thankfully, there are those scholars who have sought to distinguish between the two constructs and their work has provided some clarifying perspectives. Two decades ago, Burkhardt sought to explore the concept of spirituality by suggesting that it was a process involving the unfolding mystery through harmonious inner connectedness that springs from inner strength. In suggesting that life’s experiences provide challenges that allow us to confront the purpose and meaning of life, individuals are believed to discover that purpose in relation to a higher being (God) and others in their lives. Meraviglia  also weighed in on the discussion by asserting that spirituality is the experience and expres- sions of one’s spirit in a unique and dynamic process reflecting faith in God or a supreme being; connectedness with oneself, others, nature, or God; and an integration of the dimensions of mind, body, and spirit. Also contributing to the discourse on spirituality is the work of Mattis, and while her perspectives were anchored in the opinions of a primarily female sample, she captures a po- tent definition from the narratives provided by her women participants. Mattis concludes that spirituality was a belief in and connectedness to a higher inter- nal and external power; consciousness and meta-physicality; understanding and acceptance of self; guidance and life instructions; peace, calm, and centered- ness; positively influencing relationships with others; life purpose and meaning; and facilitation of efforts to manage adversity through support, strength, ability, and willingness to cope.

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