After trying to lead a spiritual life for most of my 60 years, I feel eminently qualified to make what may seem to be a radical suggestion: Let's do away with spirituality.
Not so much the actions people associate with being spiritual, but how the word is usually used -- and the divisiveness that comes with splitting reality into "spritual" and "material" spheres.
Actually, the problem with spirituality isn't that the word is meaningless. Rather, it has so many meanings, most of them aren't recognized by someone using the term in a particular sense.
"Spirit" and "soul" are closely connected. So are the ways these words are used. Listening to a talented jazz singer, a woman says "Wow, that was really soulful."
She doesn't mean immaterial or other-worldly. Just that the song touched her deeply, bringing out feelings not usually encountered in everyday life.
Similarly, I've come to feel that for me spirituality points toward the subtle, reflective, philosophical, mysterious, what's-it-all-about? side of life. It isn't opposed to the gross, unthinking, crude, obvious, it-is-what-it-is side -- just as heads isn't opposed to tails.
There's no such thing as a one-sided coin. Or a one-sided life.
First consider a topless pole dancer in a strip club. Now, a tutu clad ballet dancer in Swan Lake. Different words would be used to describe their performances and the feelings aroused in their audiences.
However, both dancers are doing their thing in the physical world. There's nothing metaphysical about either, though "spiritual" would be more likely to be used in one instance than the other (some guys would disagree, though).
Likewise, I've reached the point where it's tough for me to resonate with those who use "spirituality" as meaning a life disconnected from the physical.
I just don't get what they mean.
They talk about other-worldliness while they're in the world. They speak about existing without a body while being a body. They extol going beyond the brain and mind while using a brain and mind to do the extolling.
Maybe there's such a thing as spirit completely separate from matter.
But if so, there's no way for us material beings to know, because each of us connects with reality through a physical body and brain. As noted above, everyone who says "Our real self is spirit" does so speaking as a material entity.
So spirituality would be moving -- living, acting -- as what we are. A can't-miss proposition.
Tom Clark says it nicely in "The Case for Naturalistic Spirituality."
Because most folks are dualists, the idea of naturalistic spirituality still seems a contradiction in terms. Spirituality is generally thought to involve "higher planes," souls, spirits, and other supernatural phenomena. How can naturalists, including atheists, take spirituality seriously without violating a core tenet of their worldview, that no separate supernatural realm exists?
When you subtract the supernatural from spirituality, you're left with something real -- though now there's little reason to use the word "spiritual."