Spirituality: A Very Short Introduction explores the historical foundations of spirituality and considers how it came to have the significance it is developing today. It has been suggested that ‘spirituality’ has become a word that ‘can define an era’. Why? Because paradoxically, alongside a decline in traditional religious affiliations, the growing interest in spirituality is a striking aspect of contemporary western cultures. Spirituality refers to the deepest values and sense of meaning by which people seek to live. Sometimes these values are conventionally religious. Sometimes they are associated with what is understood as ‘the sacred’ in a broader sense — that is, of ultimate rather than merely instrumental importance.