The Buddhists define spirituality as shamatha, or “tranquil abiding.” We are drawn to a spiritual path out of a desire for tranquil abiding. Just saying the words feels wonderful, like an antidote to the fear, unhappiness, and anxiety with which we often approach life. Fear of what? Fear of our basic human condition. If we stop long enough to take a quiet look at our situation, we’ll hear the tick-tick-ticking of time’s impersonal progress. For each of us, time’s march breeds a different fear: for some it is the terror of death; for others it is the worry of a life unlived; for some it signifies the loss of what we hold dear and familiar. These are not thoughts with which we usually enjoy lingering. Spirituality invites us to linger. It gives us a way of standing naked in the truth of the human condition; meeting it head-on with curiosity and openness. This is serious work, but the mysterious outcome of the work is a lightness of heart — what we call happiness.
Elizabeth Lesser, The Seekers Guide: Making your life a Spiritual Adventure
photo of Glendalough in autumn by J.-H. Janßen