If there is an abused word in our language, it is “spirituality.” It has been repeated over and over for several hundred years by pious pretenders and snivelers as though it belonged exclusively to them.
It may be well enough to ask: What is it to be really spiritual?
The spiritual man lives to his ideal. He endeavors to make others happy. He does not despise the passions that have filled the world with art and glory. He loves his wife and children – home and fireside. He cultivates the amenities and refinements of life. He is the friend and champion of the oppressed. His sympathies are with the poor and the suffering. He attacks what he believes to be wrong, though defended by the many, and he is willing to stand for the right against the world. He enjoys the beautiful. In the presence of the highest creations of Art his eyes are suffused with tears. When he listens to the great melodies, the divine harmonies, he feels the sorrows and the raptures of death and love. He is intensely human. He carries in his heart the burdens of the world. He searches for the deeper meanings. He appreciates the harmonies of conduct, the melody of a perfect life.
He loves his wife and children better than any god. He cares more for the world he lives in than for any other. He tries to discharge the duties of this life, to help those that he can reach. He believes in being useful – in making money to feed and clothe and educate the ones he loves – to assist the deserving and to support himself. He does not wish to be a burden on others. He is just, generous and sincere.
Spirituality is all of this world. It is a child of this earth, born and cradled here. It comes from no heaven, but it makes a heaven where it is.
There is no possible connection between superstition and the spiritual, or between theology and the spiritual.
The spiritually-minded man is a poet. If he does not write poetry, he lives it. He is an artist. If he does not paint pictures or chisel statues, he feels them, and their beauty softens his heart. He fills the temple of his soul with all that is beautiful, and he worships at the shrine of the Ideal.
In all the relations of life he is faithful and true. He asks for nothing that he does not earn. He does not wish to be happy in heaven if he must receive happiness as alms. He does not rely on the goodness of another. He is not ambitious to become a winged pauper.
Spirituality is the perfect health of the soul. It is noble, manly, generous, brave, free-spoken, natural, superb.