Chap...Is it not possible that we both need to please ourselves and others to have a mental peace? Surely the circumstances determine the merits of either strategy. Both stategies have evolved synchronously to ensure the survival of our genes. Some study on kin selection and group selection and it's role in evolutionary psychology may broaden your understanding of how these innate qualities have played a part in the survival of our and many other species. We of course are more complex as a result of our hightened intelligence and therefore our behavior choices include more factors including long sightedness. This is where societal pressures and education play a role.
Ok, I NEVER post about anything having to do with god or the bible, but....
I haven't read the other answers to your question yet. However, your question contains its own answer regarding why you don't feel spirituality. And here it is:
Anytime I prayed I never felt any "connection" to anything other than me talking to myself. Hell, I can talk myself into something or out of something, but that doesn't mean a "higher power/god" had anything to do with whether I did the right thing or the wrong thing.
You have, like most of us when first we set out upon the "Razor's Edge" seeking spiritual advancement, a very loud left brain. The left brain is engaged in logic, logical thought, language, sequential thinking, and is responsible for the constant chatter in which we engage with ourselves. It is very loud, this left brain, so loud that we cannot hear the small, quiet voice of the spirit which is always trying to make contact with our conscious minds.
Spiritual thinking takes place in the right brain, which is where intuition, feeling, music appreciation, and the flowing, easy feeling of non-linear thinking takes place.
Now this spirit, which is always trying to make contact with us via our right brain, cannot make itself heard over the din of the left brain. Think of the stars, and how they are "out" during the daytime as well as at night. However, the light from the sun is so bright the stars cannot be seen.
And so it is with the spirit in its attempt to make contact with us. It's always there, always trying to make contact, but it can't be heard because of the constant dull roar from the left brain.
The beginning of your spiritual search, then, is to learn how to quieten down the left brain so that you can hear the leading of the spirit from the right brain. You have to learn to stop stiring the pot, stop acting and reacting in ways that keep that left brain churning. You have to stop screaming at yourself inside, stop screaming at your circumstances in life, stop screaming at those who would intefere with your custody of your own child. You have to stop. Simply put, you have to stop. The Master said over and over, "I give you my peace," and, "my yoke is easy, and my load is light." In fact advancing spirituality consists more in what you stop doing than in what you start to do differently (with the exception of getting that left brain's volume turned down to low or off).
You can quiet the left brain by learning to breathe easily and in a constant, slow, deliberate pattern. Once that is established, you can begin working on quieting the left brain. One way to do that is to get yourself a mantra and let your left brain work on repeating that mantra to the exclusion of all else. A four beat mantra is my favorite. It could be something like "Life is good, I'm in control" four beats: life, good, I'm & control. Repeat it over and over and over. Or think up one for yourself.
Then, when the left brain has been trained in this manner, you can enter the meditative state at any time. Spiritual adepts call this the "Monastery of the Mind" and you can enter this state just by repeating to yourself your mantra, and BANG you're in your inner monastery. And nothing can shake you, or ruin your peace. Now, you're getting closer and closer to hearing the voice of the "Kingdom of heaven within you." And when you hear it for the first time, when you touch it, when you become aware of it in all its wonder and beauty, you will never again ask "what is spirituality"? You'll know beyond all doubt.
Have a nice trip. Let me know when you get there?
I too am one of those people who "don't get spirituality" (and I don't think I am dense, either ).
For me, praying was something I did because god, for some odd reason, wanted me to do it, and I went to meetings because I believed that it was mandated from god also. I never felt "spiritual" doing any of those things, it was always weirdly empty, almost ritual. I didn't do it out of fear or anything, but the "love" I felt for god was more a respect for what he had done for me than because of some "personal relationship". The idea of praying feverently and beseeching god for favours or strength was never something I felt I had to do; at my lowest points I could always get through them without god. Thinking of god as a "loving father" in a personal way was, quite frankly, a bit of a stretch to me since I never thought of god as a very culdly figure.
Since most of my belief in god was based on my assumption that the bible was absolutely true, once I lost that belief I had to re-evaluate much of what I once held to be true. I toyed with the idea of becoming a Bahai or Buddhist at some point after that, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I simply did not have a "spiritual need" (most of my prayers consisted of a standard form list of things I said before eating, almost like a talisman more than anything). I stopped praying, searching for god, etc., and quite frankly I have not had even the slightest of inclinations to start up doing stuff like that again. Maybe one day I'll resume that "search", but for now, I just couldn't care about it.