Are You Spiritual?

If you answered “NO,” think again

“The decisive question for man is: Is he related to something infinite or not? That is the telling question of his life.”

— Carl Jung

Are You Spiritual?

Being spiritual does not mean you have to:

Believe in God (or any divine beings)

Follow a religion

Be “Saved”

Believe in magic

Have mystical experiences

Pray, meditate, do yoga, “live mindfully,” etc.

A lot of spiritual people do believe in God(s), follow religions, pursue mystical arts and experiences, and practice mindful disciplines like prayer, meditation, and yoga. But that’s not what makes them spiritual. It’s being spiritual that attracts them to those things.

What makes a person spiritual is not how they view, or don’t view, the universe.

What makes someone spiritual is how they view themselves, and by extension, all other human beings.

Are You a Meat Puppet?

There’s really only one way to be “not spiritual,” and that’s to embrace a physicalist/materialist view of not only the natural world, but also of yourself.

“Physicalism… is the philosophical position that everything which exists is no more extensive than its physical properties, and that the only existing substance is physical. Therefore, it argues, the mind is a purely physical construct.”

Or as’s Larry Dossey phrased it in his essay Consciousness: Why Materialism Fails”:

What does physicalism actually look like? … as astrophysicist David Lindley has said, “We humans are just crumbs of organic matter clinging to the surface of one tiny rock. Cosmically, we are no more significant than mold on a shower curtain.” Spirituality, the sense of connectedness with something that transcends the individual self, is equated in this view with self-deception, fantasy or hallucination. In this outlook, meaning, direction, purpose and free will are absent… according to linguist Karen Stollznow, “Thinking is just the meat talking to itself. It’s generated by the brain and when we die, unfortunately that dies with us.”

Either you view yourself as a crumb of organic matter whose “self” is a brain-generated illusion that will cease to exist at the moment of death, or you hold some kind of spiritual view.

If you believe human beings are more than the meat they’re made from, you’re spiritual.

Because that’s what “spiritual” means. Everything else is embellishment.

Something More

Once you declare, “I am a physical body and something more,” you’ve taken a spiritual stand.

Perhaps you call that “something more” spirit. Maybe soul. Maybe just consciousness — perhaps a uniquely human consciousness destined to survive physical death.

Maybe you don’t call it anything, but your inner experience of your own existence (even Descartes said “I think therefore I am”), plus a lifetime of intimacy with other people, tells you that the human “something more” is real. That people are more than meat talking to itself, more than mold on a shower curtain. That physicalism/materialism, especially when applied to human beings, is an insulting absurdity.

But, Science Says…

Watch the physicalists/materialists flood the responses to this essay, insisting there’s no scientific evidence of “something more,” so it’s delusional to believe in spirit, soul, even consciousness (there’s no such thing as consciousness, according to philosopher Daniel Dennett).

Just watch. It’ll happen.

But not even Science holds the physicalist line anymore. Here’s Elisa Medhus, M.D., writing in The Huffington Post:

… quantum science has begun to steal the show from material science (sorry, Sir Isaac), teaching us that we no longer have to rely on our five senses to hypothesize and eventually define a truth. Just because we can’t see, feel, hear, taste or smell something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. As quantum physics comes into its own, studies into the existence of alternate dimensions and consciousness survival after death result in breakthroughs. Not a month goes by that new discoveries aren’t becoming breaking news stories: The fact that we may be able to see other dimensions beside our own. The hypothesis that the microtubules in our cell’s mitochondria are the origin of consciousness. The idea that our souls may be comprised of tiny subatomic particles known as “neutrinos.”

So, Again, Are You Spiritual?

We all experience our selves, not just our bodies, to be real. We experience ourselves to be conscious. Most of us, even some atheists, expect our consciousness to continue to exist in some form after death.

That means most of us are spiritual, even if we’ve never thought of it that way before.

We hold a spiritual view of what it means to be human.

Everything else is embellishment.

Thanks for reading!

All images CC0 license via


Jack Preston King

Written by

Author, poet, philosopher.

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