21st Century Spirituality

More than half of the UK population identify as having no religion.

But many have a spiritual side.

Ten people explain what spirituality means to them.
Barbara

My spirituality has had an enormous impact on my daily life and actions. It was fundamental in helping me change emotions of deep hate towards someone who was very hard with me, to infinite compassion, forgiveness and ultimately, love.

Simon

You don't need to be dying to ask
fundamental questions. Through constant examination
and reflection, my values continually shift and evolve.

As a humanist I create my own meaning, and for me this is centred on my relationships with others and making a positive contribution.

Sara

When I went to school I was the only Muslim. I started to question the rules that surround our religion. I felt like I was living in confusion and I was searching for containment and happiness.

One day I was feeling really down. I went up to the study and on the bookshelf was a book called Don’t Be Sad.
The book was a miracle for me.
It was about being in the moment, about being fully present and having gratitude for what you had.

I believe every day should be fulfilled. I try to make a utopian world around me, switching negative things into positive and trying to see the good in everything.

Julia

We’re in a spiritual crisis right now - even to say the word seems odd or weird to many people.

I have a deep respect for many spiritual traditions. I don’t think people need to follow a certain way to find peace and understanding.

Our mind filters out much of what the body knows and senses, or else we would be overwhelmed mentally. By lying down we are able to allow the body’s wisdom to be heard.

Ziad

In a time and age where individualism and self-indulgence saturates the social dimensions, I found Sufi spirituality offers the inner warmth that the divine spark in every one of us yearns for.

[I believe] all religions are expressions of the one truth. Like the base of a mountain, humans have compelled themselves to be different. The more we detach ourselves from our ego, the closer we reach the divine spark which is to be alive, to be conscious and share that consciousness with others.

Hugh

I didn’t actually know my mother or father. My father passed away before I was born, and my mother died 11 months later.

I always felt like an orphan. But as I grew older and had a greater understanding of my own being, I realised I wasn’t an orphan. I had a Father. And He was God.

Sohum

My belief - my spirituality - is something I have discovered myself since I was a teenager. I’ve read widely and formed my own opinions.

When I started university, I had a really hard time adjusting. My spirituality helped me to understand that every situation is temporary, and that everything moves and passes.

Reverend Bonnie

Doubt is important to personal development. It’s doubt that keeps you asking questions and broadens your beliefs.

Certainty closes doors. Doubt deepens faith.

Ulrica

When I moved to London I wasn’t accepted in the church, so we formed our own.

There was a barrier in the church among races. But people who are truly spiritual don’t see colour.

Ayala

The most challenging times of my life have also been the times of greatest growth. When there is friction, it shows me that there is something inside me that is rubbing up against the grit and gristle of life, which is creating heat.

Instead of looking outwards, it becomes an opportunity to look inwards. I bring these abandoned parts from the shadows back into the light, until I know myself as this light. It is a journey of awakening.

Spirituality is inseparable from life. It is a way of experiencing the truth of this moment with a clear mind and an open heart. Life is this truth manifest.