Spirituality is seen by some as a journey into a person's true self; some see it as our relationship to God, others, creation, and self. There are many views.
Henri Nouwen saw the spiritual life as "that constant movement between the poles of loneliness and solitude, hostility and hospitality, illusion and prayer. The more we come to the painful confession of our loneliness, hostility and illusions, the more we are able to see solitude, hospitality and prayer as part of the vision of our life." Reaching Out, Doubleday & Co., 1975
Evelyn Underhill saw it this way: "After all it is those who have a deep and real inner life who are best able to deal with the irritating details of outer life."
"Through awareness, you get a certain attitude. That's the way, you see, to achieve more peaceful, more compassion, more friendship through that way." ―The Dalai Lama
"I'm not religious, but I like God and he likes me."―Tony Kushner, Angels in America
Bonnie Raitt said, "Religion is for people who are scared to go to hell. Spirituality is for people who have already been there."
Alan Jones sees spirituality as "that which gives meaning and harmony to the whole of human experience ... the peculiar way in which we arrange all the bits and pieces of our lives and glue them together."
Spirituality has all these meanings. It refers to something broad and common to all humanity. It's also tribal. We live locally, as part of families, cultures, and societies. Each has its own spirituality. Each has its way of providing meaning and engaging spiritual practice.
Any Episcopal parish is a Christian community in the Anglican tradition. So it might be understandable that our view of the relationship between spirituality and religion echoes what Walker Percy wrote: "What she didn't understand, she being spiritual and seeing religion as spirit, was that it took religion to save me from the spirit world, from orbiting the earth like Lucifer and the angels, that it took nothing less than touching the thread off the misty interstates and eating Christ himself to make me mortal man again and let me inhabit my own flesh and love her in the morning."
The Anglican approach to spirituality tends to be appreciative of many approaches to the spiritual life. Our focus, of course, is on living in our own tradition, doing that well, and offering it to others who might find it a way of grace and love.
We invite you to explore these pages and discover if the Anglican Way speaks to you.