Next in the “How To Be Happy Now” Series is something that is very dear to me: Spirituality. (Should you have missed Part 1 “How to open your heart” you can read it here:

When I tell people that I’m spiritual, most of them don’t know what “being spiritual” actually means. So yes, what is spirituality and how can we develop it? What’s the difference between being “spiritual” vs being “religious”?

What is Spirituality?

It isn't until you come to a spiritual understanding of who you are — not necessarily a religious feeling, but deep down, the spirit within —that you can begin to take control.
~Oprah Winfrey~

• The definition of spirituality is that which relates to or affects the human spirit.
• Spirituality emphasizes humanistic ideas on different qualities such as love, compassion, tolerance, forgiveness, responsibility or harmony to mention just a few.
• Spirituality exists whenever we look for the “bigger picture in life”: Every time we wonder where the universe comes from, what happens when we die or why we are here we are asking ourselves spiritual questions.
• We can consider ourselves spiritual when we are deeply touched by values like love, generosity, kindness or selflessness.
• Spirituality is a journey of self-discovery, where we discover the very essence of our being and where we experience a certain “connectedness” with a larger reality.
• Spirituality is the art and science of self-realization.

Spirituality vs Religion

"All fanaticism is false, because it is a contradiction of the very nature of God and of Truth. Truth cannot be shut up in a single book, Bible or Veda or Koran, or in a single religion.
~ Sri Aurobindo

"I have been a seeker and I still am, but I stopped asking the books and the stars. I started listening to the teaching of my Soul."
~ Rumi

I’m no expert on religions at all, so I hope I don’t offend anyone who considers him/herself as religious. I have many very religious friends, who are also incredibly spiritual so I think it’s hard to really distinguish Spirituality from Religion but I’ll give it a try:

1) The beauty about Spirituality is that we can just experience it. We don’t need to get baptised, go to church or stick to strict praying rituals. Spirituality is not about adhering to a certain dogma or belief system.
2) I have the impression that many religions are based on “fearing” God. Concepts such as sins and guilt or the notion that God will punish us if we commit those sins. Spiritual people believe in love, an unconditional love without any judgements.
3) Spirituality embraces all world religions, because it acknowledges that many different paths lead to the same goal.It upsets me that many followers of religion think only their path is the right one and can lead to “salvation”, that all other religions and different thinking people are wrong and therefore try and convert others to their faith.

I don’t understand how until today people can’t just freely get married irregardless of whether they are Christians, Muslims or Jews. Why is there a need to create this segregation? In my opinion, as long as we perceive ourselves as superior to another human being, race or religion there will always be conflicts, wars and misery.

How to develop your Spirituality

Nothing is worth more than this day.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Be Mindful & Live in the Now: To me, being spiritual means living in the NOW. Not in the past, worrying about past mistakes or incidents and not in the future, worrying about what might or might not happen in my life.

Living in the NOW means taking responsibility for our actions right NOW, it means, doing the best we can NOW. It means also forgiving NOW. It’s really surprising to me how long some people need to forgive or let go of things that have been bothering them. Why not let go of it NOW? After all, hating someone for past mistakes is more damaging to your body than to the other person, who might not even know (or care) what you are feeling.

Just accept that whatever happenened in the past, happenened for a reason.Learn from it. Being spiritual means that we know that by living in a positive way NOW, this will also have a positive effect on our future. Be mindful of each beautiful moment and live your life as if it really mattered. Be mindful every day. Don’t just wait for the weekend to start or don’t just look forward to the few holidays we have per year.

Here is a really interesting and inspiring interview on what Mindfulness is and how you can incorporate more of it into your own Life:

"There are many paths to enlightenment. Be sure to take one with a heart."
~Lao Tzu

Feel it. Search for answers vs believing everything that has been written down already. More importantly, search with your hearts, not your minds. We cannot “understand” spirituality, we can only “feel it”. Being spiritual is not something that can be taught, as we all all have a different life path and life purpose, different lessons we need to learn. I haven’t met one person who had the exact same spiritual ideas as I have. Spiritual people enjoy “thinking outside of the box” and sharing their experiences and ideas.

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.
~ Buddha

Love yourself. I can’t emphasise enough (and I have already written several blog entries on this topic) how important it is that we love ourselves. It all starts from there. If we don’t love ourselves, how can we expect other to love us? If we don’t know who we are, how do we present ourselves to the world and to other people?

And most importantly, if we haven’t learned how to love ourselves, we cannot love anyone else either. For some it might be the beginning of a very long journey, while for others it might come a bit quicker. But however long it should take to completely and deeply love yourself: GO FOR IT! As long as you can’t stand in front of a mirror, smile at yourself and scream “MY GOD, I LOVE MYSELF SO MUCH”, you are not there yet! :-)

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
~ Winston Churchill

Listening vs talking. It’s amazing how much and for how long people can talk. And it surprises me how very few people actually have the ability to LISTEN. Or are you maybe one of those people who hate silence and always need to have the radio on, music playing or your tv on?
The ability to listen is especially important, quite simply, because if we don’t know how to listen to others, how are we then able to listen to ourselves? How can we listen to our heart, our soul, our inner wisdom if we are surrounded by a constant noise in our external environment and within our minds?

If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.
~ William Arthur Ward

Be inspired. Being spiritual means experiencing new things, discovering new things, reading new books, engaging in new things, trying to see the world from a different angle, seeing people’s viewpoints from a different angle. It means loving your life and everything in it. It means being curious. This world has so many amazing things to offer. Be inspired. Be amazed. Keep dreaming. Live your dreams and don’t dream your life!

I realize that spending time by myself is always preferable to spending time with someone who wants drama. Nothing wrong with a dull day.
~Stephanie Goddard

Detach from drama. Stay away from people who love to gossip and don’t gossip yourself. Don’t feed into other people’s drama. A spiritual person doesn’t need to judge other’s lives. Stay away from unhealthy situations or relationships. It’s a waste of time. I clearly prefer to spend time away from such people and situations and focus my attention on more interesting matters.

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars... and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers - for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are.

Spend time in nature. You didn’t think that was spiritual? To me it’s incredibly spiritual to sit on grass with the sun shining on your back and observing nature, the flowers, the animals, a lake or mountains, the birds etc. I love observing people, especially children or elders, and especially while travelling to far away places and cultures. It truly inspires me and gives me so much.

Follow me on Twitter: BeHappyNow111
Follow me on FB: Be Happy Now

Author's Bio: 

Lais Stephan is the Founder of Be Happy Now ( where she works as a certified Alternative Therapy Practitioner with holistic methods, such as REIKI, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique),Matrix Reimprinting Crystal Healing and several Massage Techniques.

Lais also has a passion for photography, writing and blogging.