A famous quote by the French philosopher Rene Descartes states: “ I think, therefore I am.” Let’s take a closer look at this quote.

When we think, we either think about something internal or external. Internal, can be analyzing your emotions for instance. External, can be thinking about a goal that you have, hence an idea derives from the concept of thinking. If you’re thinking about something external, it means that you are thinking about a separate and unique entity that exists, and to be able to have a separate unique entity, there needs to be another entity which, by comparison is also separate and unique and this entity by default, can be the thinker, hence you. If you think about something internal, then there is an entity within that exists, that’s exactly why you can think about it. Therefore, thinking reflects upon existing, it reflects upon a entity that exists.

The first step to understanding who you are, is to know that existence starts and perpetuates through the act of thinking. Thinking made it possible for civilizations to develop and prosper, thinking made it possible for Socrates and Marcus Aurelius to develop universal life-changing principles, thinking made it possible for human beings to understand themselves, others, and beyond the scope of existence, understand and analyze the so called supernatural force or energy, wether you call it god, or the universe, or the cosmic energy.

Going back to Descartes, “ I think, therefore I am “, from a self exploratory side, “ therefore I am “ means therefore I exist. And for you to exist, not just as a physical or cognitive entity, but as a spiritual entity, you need to think. Let me elaborate on that.

Spirituality and religion are often used interchangeably. For many people, societies and cultures, the pre-existent idea that our soul belongs to a divine power gives people a meaning in life. They usually work towards an after-death eternity, a post-existence that is tailored by their actions as mortals. Different religions have different ideologies, however, the latter still stands as a pin-point showing the coherence between spirituality and meaning. We need to keep in mind something however, spirituality is not religion. They can not, and should not be used interchangeably. A person can nourish his spiritual side even in the absence of religion. When you are looking for meaning you are not looking for a meaning that fits your physical form, nor your cognitive form, but your spiritual form. Once your spiritual side is systematically linked to an object that forms a strong enough existential significance satisfying your spiritual tendencies, then you can bare almost any how.

Exploring our spirit a bit more intimately can change our perspective on the cruciality of spirituality in existentialism. Mindfulness is one of the stepping stones in spirituality. Close your eyes, breathe, focus on your breath, and notice when your thoughts will shift from the breath to an impulsive non-controllable thought. Quite some time can pass by before you realize that your focus shifted from the breath, to a random thought. Here’s where it gets interesting, that moment when you realized that you are not focusing on the primary object, instead, your focus is whimsically shifting towards aimless and incidental thoughts, spirituality starts to appear. There are different entities that arise in this situation. There’s the person, you, the physical entity. There’s your focus, your brain, forming the cognitive entity. And then there’s this voice in your head that explored your thoughts while in the process of thinking, and adjusted the latter according to what it wants, and that’s your spiritual side.

The key to understanding oneself is to fathom the fact that, Existence, at its upmost fundamental level, is precisely linked to us, as human beings.