What is spirituality? Social scientists have defined spirituality as the search for "the sacred," where "the sacred" is broadly defined as that which is set apart from the ordinary and is worthy of veneration. Spirituality is concerned with or affecting the spirit or soul; spirituality refers to an ultimate immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of their being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” It can encompass beliefs in immaterial realities or experiences of the immanent or transcendent nature of the world.
All spiritual texts aim at spurring us on to discover our own true selves. Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop an individual's inner life.
Spiritual experiences include those of connectedness with a larger reality, yielding a more comprehensive self; connectedness with other individuals or with the human community; connectedness with nature or the cosmos; and connectedness with a divine realm in whatever way that is conceived.
On the inward (spiritual) journey, we come to realise that practice is about finding our own true nature and speaking from that, acting from that. Spirituality is often experienced as a source of inspiration or orientation in life.
Whatever our qualities are, they are our wealth and our beauty; they are what other people respond to. The inward journey is full of surprise – what modern Systems Thinking would call emergence, arising from the relationship between the parts, rather than just from the properties of the parts. As such, we can never know what lies ahead, but we do know that whatever it is it will help expand our consciousness, so the inward journey is also a journey of expansion.
The ISSEA is a spiritual organisation that has a belief in the promotion of five core human values – Love, Truth, Peace, Right action and Non-violence – as these represent the core of the teachings of all the religions. In our view, it is those practising these values and propagating them with energy and sincerity who are the ones that can be described as truly educated. Humility, reverence, compassion, forbearance, sacrifice and sense-control are qualities that reveal the outcome of true education. Gandhi once said “Knowledge without character is a powerful evil”. ISSEA believes that the educational model now prevalent throughout the world needs to be expanded from its emphasis on the secular to encompass the spiritual through the incorporation of human values education.