Generally, we're taught that spirituality and religion are one and the same. It's my understanding, however, that religion deals with internal motivation in combination with outward group tradition while spirituality focuses on the inner life and it's affect on the outward life and visa versa. In religion spiritual practices are done in a special place or at a sacred time and involves connecting with the divine – quietly, reverently, and usually by ourselves.
Many people have trouble understanding or accepting that simply living life can be a spiritual practice due to the pernicious division of the world into separate realms of the sacred and the secular. People often want their spirituality to remove them from the corrupt world, almost like a drug, and help them transcend it. It may come as a surprise, but I can emphatically say that all divine revelations did not cease with the writing of the sacred texts of the world religions. The modern world holds no new insights for divine revelations. Moreover, ministers, priests, and other professional religious leaders are not the only people who are able to discern the presence of God in the everyday. No special training is required to know the difference between "Spirit" (assumed to be good) and "spirits" (assumed to be dangerous). All anyone needs to know in this regard is that you can and must trust yourself and be willing to approach life like a constant student.
Famed medical Doctor, Dr. Steve McPhee's Letter from the Abbey mentions four domains of life: cognitive, emotional, physical, and spiritual. I admit that it is sometimes useful to divide being into categories, truth is, we cannot fragment ourselves or our lives because when any part of life is neglected illness occurs in one, a few, or all other aspects: physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. Integrating the many facets of our being allows us the freedom of sustaining like the self-renewing solar car. Paying homage to every aspect of ourself helps us become whole people -in my humble option this is the aim of life.
Given this concept of integration and wholeness -spirituality is a way of life. Thus, it cannot be separated from our everyday activities. John Shea, a contemporary Catholic theologian, puts it this way: "The spiritual life is, at root, a matter of seeing. It is all of life seen from a certain perspective. It is waking, sleeping, dreaming, eating, drinking, working, loving, relaxing, recreating, walking, sitting, standing, and breathing. Spirit suffuses everything; and so the spiritual life is simply life, wherever and whatever, seen from the vantage point of spirit."
In this way, Spirituality is the practice that animates our being. It is at the root of our innate longing to expresses ourselves and be in relationship with others, to serve others, and to search for something beyond ourselves. Denying or ignoring the drive for connection throws us out of balance with the whole of society, and with the whole of ourselves. Such an imbalance may leave us antisocial simply burnout. By not paying attention to our own deepest needs and nourishing those needs, we “run out of gas” in our relationships and service to others, whether they be patients, family, or friends. Being in balance not only helps us through our daily lives, but is vital in dealing with the kind of traumatic occurrences we all face—illness, death, loss.
Every happening great and small is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message. — Malcolm Muggeridge
With the constant exposure to digital news, ads and social media interaction, we’ve lost the valuable skill that our ancestors had of gathering information firsthand from our surroundings. All we have to work with is this day, everyday. So it is important to respond to the sacred through the ordinary things we do. Taking a walk, washing the dishes, caring for a pet, or talking with a neighbor can all be expressions of our spirituality. We finding spirituality in books, movies, art, and the popular culture. The key is to listen.
Sometimes this is difficult because most of us have lost the ability to perceive the deep interconnection between “self” and the outer world (in reality self and world are one and the same), and the different ways the world communicates with us. The easiest way to get in scan with the outer world and it's communication style is to take note of nature and patterns -the patterns of birds in flight, the blooming of trees in and out of season, the temperature of the ocean’s water, the invasion of ants or snails, etc. there are so many occurrences in nature sharing valuable information with us that so many people overlook. By first recognizing patterns you will learn to connect significance to them. All you have to do is start paying attention -you'll be rewarded with the gift of working and being in harmony with the web of life. Physicist's refer to this web as the unified field -astrologers call it the matrix.