I’ve tried to pin point what it means exactly to be spiritual, in a most non woo-woo way so that everyone can understand, and I think I got it.
“To completely be unidentified with your thoughts” or “To be detached with thinking”.
Your conciousness is the “spirit”, and so if you don’t identify consciousness with what you think, then spirituality arises.
It is really much more simple. If the question was “What does it mean to be in a meditative state?” then your answer would be correct. What it means to be spiritual is easier to understand if you break down the word itself. When you Add the suffix UAL to a noun it becomes an adjective indicating “pertaining to”. In this case, it’s pertaining to “spirit”. So, if you believe or understand that you are essentially a spirit clothed in flesh, then exactly what it means to be spiritual is to simply be yourself. That’s it! Nothing more is required to be spiritual. Anything beyond that are just individual expressions and different degrees of the “woo, woo” factor.
The excerpt I’m attaching is somewhat long, but worth the read. I just started reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and see what all the fuss is about. The way he explains being and detaching from the mind’s ego is well stated, and easy follow. Your definitions about what it means to be spiritual reminded me of a couple pages from the book:
ENLIGHTENMENT: RISING ABOVE THOUGHT
As you grow up, you form a mental image of who you are, based on your personal and cultural conditioning. We may call this phantom self the ego. It consists of mind activity and can only be kept going through constant thinking. The term ego means different things to different people, but when I use it here it means a false self, created by unconscious identification with the mind.
To the ego, the present moment hardly exists. Only past and future are considered important. This total reversal of the truth accounts for the fact that in the ego mode the mind is so dysfunctional. It is always concerned with keeping the past alive, because without it – who are you? It constantly projects itself into the future to ensure its continued survival and to seek some kind of release or fulfillment there. It says: “One day, when this, that, or the other happens, I am going to be okay, happy, at peace.”
Even when the ego seems to be concerned with the present, it is not the present that it sees: It misperceives it completely because it looks at it through the eyes of the past. Or it reduces the present to a means to an end, an end that always lies in the mind-projected future. Observe your mind and you’ll see that this is how it works.
The present moment holds the key to liberation. But you cannot find the present moment as long as you are your mind. Enlightenment means rising above thought. In the enlightened state, you still use your thinking mind when needed, but in a much more focused and effective way than before. You use it mostly for practical purposes, but you are free of the involuntary internal dialogue, and there is inner stillness. When you do use your mind, and particularly when a creative solution is needed, you oscillate every few minutes or so between thought and stillness, between mind and no-mind. No-mind is consciousness without thought. Only in that way is it possible to think creatively, because only in that way does thought have any real power. Thought alone, when it is no longer connected with the much vaster realm of consciousness quickly becomes barren, insane, destructive.
EMOTION: THE BODY’S REACTION TO YOUR MIND
Mind, in the way I use the word, is not just thought.
It includes your emotions as well as all unconscious mental-emotional reactive patterns. Emotion arises at the place where mind and body meet. It is the body’s reaction to your mind – or you might say a reflection of your mind in the body.
The more you are identified with your thinking, your likes and dislikes, judgments and interpretations, which is to say the less present you
are as the watching consciousness, the stronger the emotional energy charge will be, whether you are aware of it or not. If you cannot feel your emotions, if you are cut off from them, you will eventually experience them on a purely physical level, as a physical problem or symptom.
If you have difficulty feeling your emotions, start by focusing attention on the inner energy field of your body. Feel the body from within. This will also put you in touch with your emotions.
If you really want to know your mind, the body will always give you a truthful reflection, so look at the emotion, or rather feel it in your body. If there is an apparent conflict between them, the thought will be the lie, the emotion will be the truth. Not the ultimate truth of who you are, but the relative truth of your state of mind at that time.
You may not yet be able to bring your unconscious mind activity into awareness as thoughts, but it will always be reflected in the body as an emotion, and of this you can become aware.
To watch an emotion in this way is basically the same as listening to or watching a thought, which I described earlier. The only difference is that, while a thought is in your head, an emotion has a strong physical component and so is primarily felt in the body. You can then allow the emotion to be there without being controlled by it. You no longer are the emotion; you are the watcher, the observing presence.
If you practice this, all that is unconscious in you will be brought into the light of consciousness.