What Is Spirituality?

Sam Chen
7 min readSep 8, 2022


The meaning of spirituality has developed and expanded over various periods of time. Originally, the term spirituality came from Christianity, refer to the life towards the Holy Spirit. However, in the modern time, the term spirituality has been broadened to a wider range of experiences, including a range of esoteric traditions and religious traditions. Modern usage of the term spirituality tend to refer to a subjective experience of the “other dimensions or realms” and the deepest values and its meanings which people live by. To me personally, spirituality is not about the supernatural experiences of “other dimension or realms”, nor is it about a certain set of religious traditions or beliefs. What is a belief? Beliefs are derived from mind, it is not something that you know for truth. I can write PhD articles about apple, but if I never tasted an apple in my life, how do I know what an apple is? You don’t have to believe anything once you know it, because you simply experienced the truth. Spirituality is about understanding the truth and how to live by the truth. First truth is that we are not our body, we are not our mind, we are not our thoughts and emotions, we are the consciousness that is experiencing this world through our body and mind, thoughts and emotions. We are the light that shine upon this world, brighten it with our consciousness and spirit. Second truth is that consciousness is the source of all joy, love, compassion, bliss, tranquility and peacefulness. Third truth is that there is only ever the present moment, past or future are illusions that exist within our mind.

Let us dive deep and explore these truths together. As I detailly explained in my previous article Who Are You?, we are not to be identified with our body, mind, thoughts and emotions, these are the qualities that belong to us as a human being, but we are not them. We are the being who is experiencing this world through these qualities, and we should be grateful to have such qualities. Without them, our life and the world will be a very dull experience with no colors. Nevertheless, overly-identifying with such qualities, we are lost in the wonderful and colorful experiences without remembering who we truly are. Have you ever looked into the mirror when you were ten years old? Instead of paying attention to the difference in body that we have grown during these years, let us focus on who is the one that is aware of such changes? You are the consciousness that is witnessing the changes of your body when you are looking at the mirror, consciousness is the subject, while the body is the object. It would be the same exact thing if I hold up a picture and asks you: Do you see the picture? Are you that picture? Of course I see the picture, and I am not that picture! No matter what pictures I hold up, you would never identify yourself as that picture! You are the object (consciousness) that is looking at the subject (picture)! You are not what you aware of, you are the one who is aware. I am that I am. That is exactly what God said to Moses in the burning bush, which can be translated to I am the consciousness that is aware of its own being!

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

When we are experiencing the feelings of love, joy and compassion, we tend to associate them with the outside world: such person or event or things bring us the happiness and love. We are looking for things in the outer world to create these feelings of love, joy and compassion and enrich our life, but not understanding where the source of it comes from. Without the proper understanding, we will struggle and fight our way to achieve happiness and love. It is exactly like Johnny Lee’s song “Looking For Love in All the Wrong Places”. Whatever we do in life, it is mainly because our mind thinks that achieving or getting such thing will make us happy. We can clearly see that we are experiencing the feelings of love, joy and compassion within us, then why do we seek outside world to indirectly experience our inner joy? It is because we are confusing the outside world’s interactions with our inner state of being, letting the mind run on its own and unconsciously chasing after what feels good and avoid what feels bad. Once we understand this truth, then we can consciously choose our actions and watch our inner state of being gradually shift to a happier place. The ultimate form of slavery is to have others control your thoughts and emotions. It is simply letting them decide whether you feel happy or sad, calm or angry. Take control of your own inner state of well being, and let the joy of life flows through you!

If consciousness is the source of all joy, love, compassion, bliss, tranquility and peacefulness. Why can’t I feel it all the time? It is because when we are trapped in our mind, we have an incessant chatter in our head that is spilling out all its preferences and desires, trying to explain everything based on its likes and dislikes. Have you ever seen a tree in the forest, and immediately your mind tells you that is a big tree! What type of tree is that? How old is this tree? This is exactly what our mind is doing, it is trying to explain and tell us what it sees! I don’t need my mind to tell me what it is, it is a tree! It doesn’t matter how old the tree is, how big the tree is and what type of tree it is, because once we are trapped in that thinking, we are not able to experience the beauty of the tree for what it is! We are looking at this world through the lenses of our mind, which can be distorted and disoriented based on our past experiences and the preferences that were built from them. To experience life and the source of all joy, love and compassion, we cease to pay attention to the incessant chatting mind and its disturbing patterns. We are seated in the center of consciousness, aware of all the things going on in the outer world and the inner mind, be at ease with them, and cease to be distracted by them. There is a passage from Taoism Book Dao De Jing: 致虚极,守静笃。万物并作,吾以观复。what it means is that when we become empty minded, be with the stillness, we can observe the nature blossoming around us. That is exactly what it means to be conscious and be still with our mind, and watch the world unfold in its natural order.

What is past and future? They are simply the thoughts about what happened in the previous moments and the expectations of what will happen in the foreseeable moments to come. We tend to think about our past with emotions and and derive from it with a set of preferences, what should of happened, what could of happened, and what we could of done, these are the disturbances that we stored from our past experiences, and occasionally they will be brought up with emotions and potential suffering. The future also exists in our mind only when we think about it, imagining how wonderful life will be after my retirement; thinking about what I can achieve within the next ten years; worrying about how I am going to pay the rent for next month; wondering what I can do better next time when I encounter this difficult situation that I experienced from my past. Notice the past and the future only exists when we think about it, and we are thinking about it in the present moment! Past and future exist for practical purpose, such as understanding that fire can burn, because I touched the stove when I was five years old; planning what I am going to doing and where I am going tomorrow. Otherwise, over-indulging in the past or the future can create various negative emotions and potentially create immense amount of worrying and suffering.

When you are rooted in being, you are no longer at the mercy of circumstances in your life, you welcome the good things, and you accept the bad things. You surrender your personal mind, in order to be aware of the consciousness of your being, and feel the deepest level of joy, love, compassion, tranquility and peacefulness. In joy, you are not overly-joy; in sorrow, you are not overly-sorrow; You let the goodness come when it will, let it depart when it will. You let the darkness comes and passes when it will. You are like a drop of water that merges into the ocean, and the ocean does not overstep its boundary. All of life pours in through your senses, and leave you in your presence, with serenity, tranquility and peacefulness.

I am the universe, and the universe is within me! Be one with the universe! Just like what Jesus Christ said: my father and I are one. Experience the greatness within you, you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free! You don’t have to believe anything that I said in this article, but I am hoping to inspire you to open your eyes, experience the truth for yourself, and become a knower of God, not just a believer! Thank you so much for reading, feel free to discuss and share any thoughts about any topics, have a wonderful day!

With love and respect!



Sam Chen

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.