How do you know if someone is a spiritual person?

And what does spirituality even mean?

Besides being interested in spiritual practices in general, spiritual people tend to have a higher level of awareness and mental clarity.

Spiritual people also tend to enjoy silence and solitude; they are able to let go; they use their intuition, and aren’t afraid to ask questions that seemingly have no answer.

Keep reading for a (possible) definition of the word spirituality, as well as a list of 13 traits of spiritual people.

What is spirituality?

Ultimately, there is no standard definition. Which is kind of a good thing.

For some, the term “spirituality” refers to asceticism. Others see spirituality as a path toward a higher level of consciousness and awareness.

Others think spirituality is the ability to connect with other dimensions, or to be able to reach a certain mental state.

Now, if I had to define spirituality, I would say that…

Spirituality is the practice of focusing one’s energy on the invisible, intangible world.

Each of us has a set amount of physical and mental energy. Spiritual people deliberately invest their energy to discover and get in touch with things that are intangible (rather than the material world).

For example, a spiritual person may have the goal of reaching higher levels of joy and self-awareness through meditation.

They may have the spiritual goal of discovering their purpose, or mission, while they are here on this planet.

Or, they may focus their energy to connect with the universe, or God. Which leads us to a key point…

Spirituality is not religion

All religious people are spiritual (that is, if they take their religion seriously). Not all spiritual people are religious.

This is because spirituality itself does not need a structure, or set of beliefs. Spirituality does not imply or require faith, either.

You can think of religions as a series of beliefs and practices that have the purpose of explaining and getting in touch with the spiritual world, as well as God (whatever the word means depending on the religion).

Spirituality is much broader. Which is why it’s even more difficult to come up with a standard definition of it.

Many see spirituality and religion as the same thing, but it’s a mistake. You don’t have to be religious to be spiritual.

Traits of a spiritual person

Alright, so how do you recognize someone who’s on a path to spirituality? It’s not like spiritual people walk around in a monk robe.

You want to pay attention to their behavior, the way they react (or don’t react) to things, the way they talk, and their own abstract ideas and beliefs, if they are comfortable sharing them.

Here are thirteen traits of spiritual people — if you can think of other traits or signs, please share them by leaving a comment at the end.

1. Genuine interest in spirituality

First of all, what does this person do in their free time? Do they practice meditation? Do they often spend time in nature, do they read books or watch videos on spirituality?

That is usually indicative of a spiritual person. If they were not spiritual, they would probably use their resources to discover the tangible, objective world like everybody else — they wouldn’t be interested in spirituality.

2. Above average intuition

Intuition itself, like spirituality, is often hard to understand, and sometimes impossible to explain. Because spiritual people are in touch with things “normal” people do not usually comprehend, they usually possess good intuition.

This means they may be able to predict the future (that is, what will happen a few seconds from now, or years from now) in seemingly unexplainable ways — precognitive dreams, visions, or hunches.

3. Gratitude

Want to feel happier, instantly, for free? Practice gratitude. There is an endless list of things we can be grateful for; spiritual people have simply learned to be aware of it.

Those who are in touch with their emotions know that, regardless of our circumstances, we have the power to change the way we feel. One of the easiest ways to do that is to be grateful, and to appreciate all the things people usually take for granted.

4. Solitude and introspection

The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.

Albert Einstein

Spiritual people appreciate solitude. They know other people can be a distraction in their journey toward introspection and self-awareness, and are not afraid to spend time on their own. Besides, spiritual people are rare, and may struggle to find like-minded friends.

5. Ability to let go

As human beings, we tend to cling to things. We hold grudges. We let our negative thoughts interfere with our own wellbeing, often without realizing it. As a result, an immense amount of energy is wasted, and we feel unnecessary tension.

Those who are more spiritual than average realize that there is a way to prevent this from happening, mainly through meditation and presence — being in the here and now, rather than being consumed by one’s stream of (unhelpful) thoughts.

6. High level of happiness

Think: why would anyone be spiritual? Why would they focus their energy on something that’s so mysterious, so intangible — and invisible, and often impossible to explain to others unless they’re on the same path?

Although for most people spirituality is a calling, which happens spontaneously and inevitably, you can consciously decide to be more spiritual simply because it leads to a happier life. Think of spirituality as a form of self-development that isn’t limited to basic psychology.

7. Asking questions

Children ask questions all the time (literally, to others, or simply in their own head). Unfortunately, as we grow up, our curiosity seems to gradually disappear; we tend to assume life is what others call life; we no longer question anything, even when we should question it.

The seventh common trait of spiritual people is their ability to ask questions, specifically questions about the unknown. What is the purpose of life? What is life itself? How can we lead a more meaningful existence? The beauty of such questions is that the answers can only be subjective.

8. Love of the unknown

Spiritual people ask questions about the unknown because they are deeply fascinated by it. Someone who is spiritual will probably find the material world uninteresting, at least when compared to the world of ideas, thoughts, emotions, and intuitions.

In a way, things that can be explained rationally don’t stretch our mind any further. Things that cannot be explained rationally, on the other hand, require creativity, and a different state of mind. These are things that are supposed to be felt rather than understood.

9. Honesty

Remember when I said that holding grudges, and not being able to let go, creates tension? The same is true for lying; and, in general, not being yourself; not being spontaneous enough.

Spiritual people know that and strive to be as honest and possible. It’s not always easy: in our society, lies and deception are sometimes tolerated and even encouraged; while honesty is sometimes punished (I’m not referring to the law, just people’s attitude).

10. Quietness; silence

I realized (…) that people fear silence more than anything else, that our tendency to talk arises from self-defense, and is always based upon a reluctance to see something; a reluctance to confess something to someone.

Ouspensky, “In Search of the Miraculous”

You can listen to the full audio here. Silence is scary for most people, but those who are into spirituality tend to appreciate it. After all, silence is nothing but absence of noise; in silence, our mind is not distracted. So if there is inner peace, if there is calmness, there is no reason to hear anything in particular. unless we want to.

11. Physical health

Spiritual people know that everything is interconnected, and this applies to our own health as well. This is why those who experience a spiritual awakening often feel the need to improve their physical health as well.

Some change their diet — what they eat. For example, they may feel the urge to eliminate foods like caffeine, or meat, from their diet. Others may find that walking for hours, in nature, helps them with mental clarity. Others will give up previous unhealthy habits such as smoking.

12. Acceptance of suffering

Even the luckiest person on the planet (whatever that means to you) will experience great pain in their life. And as much as we should all strive to eliminate unnecessary suffering — in our own life, as well as in the life of other living beings — acceptance of suffering is actually a sign of maturity.

Spiritual people know that, in the dimension we live in, suffering is sometimes unavoidable. There is no such thing as an existence filled with pleasure and nothing else. So sometimes the best thing we can do is learn to deal with pain, or trouble, rather than to fight against it.

13. Purpose and clarity

The last tip to recognize a spiritual person is to pay attention to their purpose in life, and their willingness to pursue it. It’s not always obvious — their purpose could be to simply discover the world, as well as their own inner world.

Those with a higher level of awareness tend to be immune to all those distractions that would otherwise interfere with their purpose — other people’s opinion of them, technology, and unhealthy addictions, to mention a few.

Common practices to improve spirituality

  • Meditation. Obvious one. Meditation has been practiced by spiritual people for thousands of years, and the benefits of meditation in terms of mental health and mental clarity are now scientifically proven as well.
  • Reading. Though you could learn more about spirituality in many different ways, books are still irreplaceable. Plus, there’s something magical about reading an actual book in silence — compare it to staring at a bright digital screen.
  • Psychology. This could be therapy sessions, or learning about psychology in general. Although spirituality and psychology are two different things, they both require you to pay attention to your own thoughts and emotions — to become aware of them.
  • Journaling. The more you learn about spirituality, the more often you’ll have powerful ideas and intuition about the world and yourself. And you’ll want to write those down, rather than rely on your memory alone.
  • Traveling. Like, actually traveling to places you’ve never been. Which shows you different cultures, different ways to live, different ways to think. It’s not just fun — it can change you in ways that are profound.
  • Solitude. Lastly, the act of spending time on your own can be a spiritual practice in itself. Spiritual people may feel the need to detach from the external world from time to time, and voluntarily spend time in isolation.

Thanks for reading! If you can think of other common traits of spiritual people, please leave a comment below 👇