This is what my Webster says, from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English language: "The state, quality, or fact of being spiritual." As for "spiritual" the most common meaning reads: "Of, relating to, consisting of, or having the nature of spirit; not tangible or material." And finally let's go to "spirit". Spirit, as the English language has it, comes from the Latin spiritus, and means "breath, breath of god, inspiration, from spirare, to breathe."
Here are some of the meanings for the noun "spirit". 1. That which is traditionally believed (spirit can't be "proved", on account of its immaterial nature) to be the vital principle or animating force within living beings. 2. Capital S The Holy Ghost. Preceded by the. 3. Capital S. Christian Science. God. 4. Any supernatural being, such as a ghost. 5. a. That which constitutes one's unseen, intangible being. b. The essential and activating principle of a person; the will.
Two definitions are given for spirit when used as a transitive verb, as in "spirited, spiriting, spirits." 1. To carry off mysteriously or secretly. Used with away or off. 2. To impart courage, animation, or determination to; stimulate; encourage.
I wish to address the issue of "spirituality" on account of the confusion around the word "spirit" and to look for meaning and understanding as this word is revealed in the Bible. Jesus promised his followers to send his spirit; but who is His spirit? Spirit is first mentioned in the second line of Genesis: "and God's spirit hovered over the waters." In the creation story of seven days, as the story reveals, spirit is the maker of the desires of God. God says "let there be" and then it appears. His spirit "makes" God's desires. God's last desire was to make a man in the image and likeness of God and His spirit. Let "us", God says, make a man like us. As you see, God and Spirit are each a certain "kind", two kinds.
What is the image and likeness of God? To answer that question all we have is a story, the story about the making of a man. God fashioned, out of the soil, the story tells, a body, a "dirt" body, and then God "breathed" the breath of life into the "nostrils" of the body and the body became a "living" being. This "body" was called a "humus", human, being. Spirit is the breath of "being". Therefore, God is a "breathing" being. Man = God. The story is telling us the nature of God and that nature is a conscious awareness of the presence of being inside a living body right now. Spirituality is that consciousness in its two forms. Consciousness of the surrounding material nature in all its life forms, earth, air, fire, and water are also "life" forms, and consciousness of being conscious within consciousness. Are you cognizant of two U's? Unfortunately, because the story says that "man" lost consciousness of his body, like he got "knocked" out, we have a certain state of consciousness called "spirit" longing, i.e. desire, which isn't clear as to what that might be. I want; but exactly what is not clear! People everywhere are in a state of spiritual uncertainty. What that further means is that people have lost their "being" nature (Noah's flood tells us that God "drowned" all "beings" except a remnant, water took their "breath" away.); they have lost the image and "likeness" of God in their consciousness. We don't recognize nor are we comfortable with our "being" bodies (being alone, being out in the woods, being on high places, in closed spaces, in silence, in front of others, in "mixed" company, etc.) and are therefore diseased. This state of consciousness came with "death" entering our bodies. How did death get into our bodies? Death got into our bodies by knowledge, we learned death and then it stayed. The culprit was knowledge of good and evil, it wasn't the "liar", SATAN.
Spirituality is the active quest after one's living being, since spirit is partnered with being as the first accounts of the Bible tell. The stumbling block in the path towards resolution is language, the living word. What is the living word? Words with a charge on them, an emotional kickback, a power that gets our attention, awakes our "consciousness", like mother, father, darkness, light, spring, fall, truth, falsehood, right, wrong, good, evil. The living word speaks truth, acknowledges the two kinds, two sides.
Truth is one of those "funny" words that get in our way when understanding is desired. It's an old word, truth is. Truth comes from the word tree. Before there were any truths there was the forest. Out of the forest came the trees and then from all the trees came one tree. That tree was learned, studied, look at and knocked up against, until it sank into consciousness that it was REAL, a truth, it was hard, reliable, constant, known! It was believable and assumed to be the "truth". But a tree had a "dark" side, a side not known, a side buried under the dirt and wasn't even suspected, it had roots, a system equally as large and complex as what was assumed to be all a tree was, all green leaves and branches forming a perfect bow, a lovely shape. It had a history, from a sapling, and that was why it was true. "Truth" about living life is always shaded by what we don't know and what we don't know might just be HUGE! The real way to get deeply intimate is to cease assuming and open your senses to that which surrounds us all. The spirit wants us to use language to tell us what is, what is going on in the feeling world of life, how life feels is the dark truth that separated beings prey upon and holy people pray too, pray for life to feel real, real good, like God felt in the seven days of creation.
In John's Gospel, in chapter 8, as Jesus is trying to enlighten the people, both religious and otherwise, he keeps running into non-comprehension, perplexity, so he asks a question: Do you know why you cannot take in what I say? It is because you are unable to understand my language. 8:43. He's making reference to "the Babel Story", where God confused all languages. There is an older language and it is this language that Jesus is using, since it is the language of trees. The "truths" of spirit are found in the myths of our Bible, not in the commentaries of the scribes and the scholars; but in the prophets and storytellers, the myth sayers. But to ensure that common folks don't go there these "truths" have been called "lies" (it's a myth! The truth sayers say) and the power of the myths have been subverted away from the oppressed and the suffering, so that the lords of power can continue exploiting and destroying as they desire. But their fathers were liars and murderers, as Jesus told the people.
Jesus is telling the people that they don't have to live under slavery, that they don't have to feel depressed and powerless. And he gives them signs to learn from. John calls the truths of Jesus' actions "signs" but the holy people have called them "miracles", because the hearts of the holy people don't bleed and they need to believe; but they CAN'T. So Jesus gives them a sign, showing them how they see. A sign points at the old language and asks you to "eat" it: like a sign in the new York city, put up by the children of the pilgrims that fled Europe hundreds of years earlier because their governments were lords and they wanted to do it their way, and they have, a sign reading "empire state" Building. A sign tells us what we are "beholding" in our lords.
Spirit was first manifest in the wife named Eve, the mother of all those who live. She gave her man his desire, a baby called Abel. Unfortunately, the man's first desire, the latest one born, to be a man, had killed his baby self for reasons that were impressed upon him by his caregiver, the real spirit of man, the really BIG MAN god of the earliest Hebrews. In the old language we start understanding the actors that have influenced the direction that our ancestors embarked upon and all the long stories that have brought us into the now today. It's all there, in the beginning, even the BIG BANG! The real explosion was when consciousness exploded out of the living body of flesh and blood, his body that the man "named" WOMAN, and then embarked on his journey of exploring the universe in search of a home he could find peace in. He forgot that his home was a living body of flesh, which is the home of every consciousness in all its kinds. Spirit is still looking for being in a living body and discovering its hidden wholeness within the whole shebang. That is what God wants for you to discover, TOO! That is God's desire: "let us make a man!" Spirit can do that.