The cycle may be split in half by stalling in phases (1) and (2), or in phases (3) and (4), so separating “spirituality” from “religion”. A person may remain in the awareness and expression of what beckons them, which may be ill-defined. Alternatively, a person may remain uncritically loyal to a code of religious conduct.
Furthermore, the cycle may be split into triangles, if one omits one of the phases:
Omitting (1) – leads one into a spirituality lacking interiority.
Omitting (2) – leads one into an uncritical, devotional spirituality.
Omitting (3) – leads to a spirituality characterized by prejudice.
Omitting (4) – leads to a cerebral pseudo-spirituality.
In sum, spirituality involves an awakening to life that relates us more deeply to life. However, spirituality is not a singular activity, but an integration of different activities, spread out over a shorter or longer period. In a most insightful way, theologian David Ranson suggests that spirituality involves four stages of a cycle: (1) attending, (2) inquiring, (3) interpreting, and (4) acting.
Source : Excerpted from and based on David Ranson, “Spirituality: What Is That?”, in Across the Great Divide: Bridging Spirituality and Religion Today (Sydney: St Pauls, 2000), 17-20, 27.
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