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My Son asked me: “Dad, What does it mean to be spiritual?”


It’s not every day that your 14-year-old son asks you “Dad, What does it mean to be a spiritual person?”
He had my attention! Not quite what I expected for a breakfast conversation.

I paused for a moment thinking about how to respond in a way that would be digestible for a 14 year old.

And so it went…

There are 4 dimensions or planes that you exist through.
1. Physical
2. Emotional
3. Mental
4. Spiritual

Number 1, the physical, or our body, is the most obvious and densest. You can touch it, feel it, and see it. Two, is how we feel, so things like happiness, sadness, anger and fear. Number three is our range of thoughts inside our head. This is like our software that continually gets programmed and reprogrammed from the day we are born. Then four, spiritual, being the lightest and subtlest, which is our unseen, unheard and immeasurable part of us. It’s a part of us that never changes, and can be called the Divine, Spirit or Self with a capital ’S’. Another way to think of this is by using water. It can be ice, water, steam and vapour. And yet it is all the same …H2O

Naturally, most people relate to their physical body as a large part of their identity because it is so tangible and obvious. Yet interestingly it is the one that has the most limitations.

Because our spiritual dimension is so subtle and lacking in density, many people often ignore it. Our attention is easily diverted to the glossiness and glamour of the physical world and then also to the next dense, the world of feeling. However when we allocate our attention to the vast aspect of our spiritual dimension, we discover how unlimited we are.

A spiritual person is someone that is devoting a lot of their time to explore the least tangible and yet unlimited aspect of them. In effect we are all spiritual beings, only some are enthusiastic about discovering more of this realm. Some people are very interested in the intellectual aspect of life, by devouring lots of philosophical books and engaging in stimulating intellectual conversations. Descartes the French philosophy said, “I think therefore I am” so one may assume that he relished exploring his mental plane. Someone like a monk who wants to sit in meditation all day and transcend body, mind and emotions would be considered to be a ‘spiritual person’. However this doesn’t mean we have to be a monk to connect to our spiritual plane.

We all have physical, emotional, mental and spiritual planes. We get to choose how much time and attention we allocate to each part of us. A balanced life would be to attend to all four planes evenly and daily. Here are some examples:
– Physical: Watch what you eat, exercise regularly, rest well and stretch.
– Emotional: Allow your feelings to be expressed without stifling them, however be aware if you are indulging in negative feelings as a way of choice. Be proactive with your feeling level and shift your feeling to lightness and joy.
– Mental: Daily upgrade your software. Many of our thoughts are conditioned into us from our parents, peers, religions, media and colleagues. You can upgrade your thoughts with positive books, lectures, courses and contemplation.
– Spiritual: Transcending in meditation is the portal to our spiritual plane. The spiritual plane is so subtle and intangible, that de-excitation of the mind and body daily in meditation will give you access to this unlimited vastness it.

Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins once said, “I think a spiritual journey is not so much a journey of discovery. It’s a journey of recovery. It’s a journey of uncovering your own inner nature. It’s already there.”  Spirituality is the exploration of that. And this concluded our breakfast conversation and off he went to school.


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