There are many approaches to spirituality, religious practices, and self-help techniques. Are any of them really valid? How do we go about trying to answer that question? The first thing that has to happen is this: we need to understand what spirituality is, and what it means to be a spiritual person. Once that is accomplished, we can evaluate various approaches in light of that understanding.
Spirituality can be viewed as the vessel that holds all the different fields of life. If that is the case, then physics is a subset of spirituality, along with biology, psychology, art, mathematics, anthropology, business, etc. Every single field of life is a subset of spirituality! All these areas are like pieces to the puzzle of life. Only after all these pieces fit together into a unified whole, can we see the big picture. This big picture is the shrouded, yet essential, message of spirituality, and it provides the context for all the diverse aspects of life.
From the psychological and artistic perspectives, spirituality fulfills the inner longing of life. From the philosophical perspective, it answers deep questions like "Who am I?", "What is my purpose?", "If there is a God why is there suffering?", etc. From the scientific perspective, it all has to be logical to make sense. From a biological perspective, the whole Darwin vs. Creationism debate must be satisfied. No stone can be left unturned. Every piece of the puzzle of life must have its reasonable place, its context in the big picture. Many philosophies and religions fall short in this arena.
We would do well to ask ourselves if the approach or perspective we have adopted is the appropriate one. All too often, people find themselves devoted to a particular practice, philosophy, religion, spirituality, or atheism simply because it is the one they stumbled upon, or were born or indoctrinated into. Perhaps it is because our friends, loved ones, and community members all follow that path, providing us some form of comradery and companionship. It's no coincidence that most people in the Middle East are Muslim, most in India are Hindu, most in America are Christian, etc.
A Chinese proverb says that it is better to spend a long time looking for the right teacher than it is to spend any amount of time with the wrong one. Spirituality is a quest--an ongoing pursuit. One's spiritual perspective is not something to be put in a box, clearly defined, categorized, and identified with. Isn't it rather arrogant to think we can read a piece of scripture and assume we completely understand its depth, especially to the same degree that the Master who said it in the first place does?
Questioning is a major part of spirituality. It is an inquiry into the deeper understanding of the puzzle of life. A spiritual life then becomes a life that strives to attain a deeper level of wisdom, knowledge, insight, and understanding about all of life and existence. This quest demands vision, a willingness to look beyond what one currently knows, while at the same time looking directly into the face of what one does 'know,' and questioning it. I encourage everyone to look beyond their current horizon. It is the true, final frontier for every individual.