Spirituality and awe

What is spirituality?

Spirituality means different things to different people. It may include a search for one's ultimate beliefs and values, a sense of meaning and purpose in life, a sense of connectedness, identity and awareness, and for some people, religion. 

For Māori, the terms 'wairuatanga' or 'wairua' are used to speak of the spiritual dimension and things pertaining to the spirit of an individual or living being (as in the 'wairua' or spiritual essence of each living thing). Values, beliefs and practices related to wairua are considered an essential cornerstone of Māori health and well-being.

How spiritual are you?

Spiritualty is one of 24 character strengths identified by American non-profit organisation the VIA Institute on Character. To discover your hidden strengths and where spirituality fits for you, take VIA's 10-15 minute strength quiz.

That feeling of awe

You don’t need to be religious to experience spirituality - we all have those moments when we feel a real a sense of wonder. Maybe you’ve be stuck by feelings of awe when you’ve been out in nature, or you’ve hung on every note at a concert, or been mesmerised at a gallery, or when you’ve witnessed a truly heroic act. 

According to Greater Good in Action, central to the experience of awe is a sense of smallness, but not the kind associated with shame or self-doubt—rather, awe involves feeling interconnected with others and broadening our horizons, like a camera lens zooming out to reveal a more complex and inclusive picture. From this vantage point, everyday concerns tend to feel less overwhelming—as we get smaller, so do they.

Build more awe into your life 

Want to build more awe into your life? Great Good in Action is a great place to start. Some of their suggested actions for building awe include:

  1. Writing about a personal experience of awe
  2. Taking a mindful walk
  3. Watching an awe-inducing video
  4. Reading an awe-inspiring story