The evolution of defining spirituality over the last century
Wort, Albert Renier
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Spirituality is an elusive and a subjective concept built on several opinions (Senaji and Anyanje, 2020). However, it remains hard to articulate spirituality as an academic discipline. Barber (2019) describes spirituality as living towards greater self-awareness and truth. In this practice of spirituality there can be a strong connection between spirituality and religious ideas, and this can also very much extend to spirituality being misinterpreted (Jones, 2018). The specific understanding of spirituality has been gaining popularity in both academia and recent popular culture and has increased the search to find meaning towards providing a way of being in the world that influences decisions and behaviours (Watson, 2017:10). This popularity is further not only within the personal context but relevant within an organisational context. Popularly, unselfish compassionate thoughts and acts are seen as the essence of spirituality (Guillory, 2019). Brophy (2015) takes it a step further in defining spirituality as empathy, connectedness, dignity, respect, insight, and transcendence. It is thus behaviour geared towards creating purpose in life that allows one to be resilient in the face of hardship (Pearce et al., 2020:156). Due to the complex and subjective nature of the concept of Spirituality, and the evolution thereof over the past century, it is crucial that a clear, evidence-based definition of Spirituality is identified (Paul Victor & Treschuk, 2020). Within the above understanding it is now important to investigate specifically the understanding of Spirituality and work towards a definition that is applicable to a personal as well as an organisational context.