From Merriam-Webster online -- Spirit
1: an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms
People become a little uncomfortable with talk about spirituality, because of the close association with religion, but our better selves understand spirituality in deeper consciousness, usually in solitude upon reflection, or during an intimate moment with a loved one, or upon viewing a work of art -- perhaps it's an experience in nature, or a song, a great speech that sends chill-bumps up the spine, a certain passage from a well-written book where prose and poetry fuse and ordinary language is transcended.
That deeper awareness is far greater than the platitudes of religion or ceremony that passes poorly for soulful experience -- it reaches the mystery of life, the x-factor that animates us -- the vital principle. This part of ourselves is dulled by cynicism, by the daily grind of mendacity, game-playing, political spinning, base language, mundane existence that loses contact with that which is vital -- it happens, life is tough sometimes, mean and crude at times.
So when we consider spirituality there's no wonder we react with a bit of revulsion, because we've been set up before and disappointed by the worst of humanity, by the reality of lies and dishonor and vulgarity and senseless violence and despair. Hell, this is a tough game, man, it's not a dance down a flowery path! But we know, we know, in those moments, we know.
So, with all the appropriate reservations, conditions, howevers and buts, I say liberty is a spiritual quest. I've never become so cynical, so post-modern and deconstructionist, so reductionist, that I don't feel the spirit when imagining the beginning of America, and other movements toward freedom around the world, when freedom was proclaimed as a new way of life. Even with all the human defects, the flaws regarding women and slavery and the statist motives of some such as Hamilton, the underlying spirit to live free still inspires my thought and leads my "spirit" to continue that great, unrealized idea -- the idea of liberty.
It seems like a naive quest at times, like a utopian dream that grownups must shed to accept the cold reality of central control and sophisticated governance -- but I know, I know, in those moments, I know.
And, I won't forget.