Being Spiritual…but, like…Not Religious…Ya Know?
The difference between spirituality and religiosity is on my mind a lot recently.
When I was a devout Christian, I used to think people who were “spiritual, but not religious”, were taking a weak stance. Similar to Agnostics, nonreligious spirituals seemed to want to simply float around, avoiding the bleakness of Atheism without the commitment and hard-knocks of Religion.
Despite my adolescent misgivings, I’m now becoming one of these assholes.
I’ve ultimately had poor results with the atheist-compliant form of personal development that I’ve studied since losing my faith in 2010.
After studying David Hawkins’ stuff, I found confirmation of what I’ve thought for a while — that all religions are right, to an extent. They might seem very different to us, but our perception is hugely limited. We can’t even see the full spectrum of colour, so how are we supposed to see the full spectrum of truth as nothing more than advanced monkey-folk?
On a practical level, the best religions are built on solid teachings describing how to raise your mental state to one that’s much more positive, stable, and ultimately powerful. They combine that with a supportive community of devotees that will encourage your growth.
The problem with these institutions is the distortion that comes from aeons of faction-rivalry and political agendas. It’s remarkable that the teachings remain useful at all. It is a testament to the immense power they originally came with.
Where’s a Community for the Non-Religious?
I’m left with a challenge. My beliefs are starting to sound more and more Christian, and yet there are certain dictums the Church holds that I simply cannot go back to.
I believe that Jesus came to Earth with a mission to save mankind. But I believe that Buddha (for example) had a significant mission too — to teach the world about Enlightenment.
I reckon Jesus was unique, the greatest human to ever walk the Earth, yet I don’t hold him in the same “demi-god” way as most Christians. I think he was the most Enlightened person that ever was, which means he is unique, but not fundamentally different. He wasn’t of a different species, so to say.
I’m open to life after death, but of course I can’t assume to know how it might work if it’s real. All I believe for sure in this area is that if we do have eternal souls, they were definitely not created just because a sperm and an egg collided, leading to an eternity of either exquisite bliss or mind-bending horror, all because of the actions taken during the microscopically tiny (and spiritually blind) human lifetime that started it all.
How can something created by a chance encounter of physical material (sometimes with the help of a few beers) exist for eternity? How could something created within time be outside time’s rules?
Shit. Looks like I might be open to reincarnation, one of the most disrespected believe systems one can have in the subculture I was raised in. Still, Heaven and Hell could still be there. Maybe there are multiple heavens and hells, and everything in between. Perhaps there are infinite dimensions, and consciousnesses can hop between them, leaving behind the vessels they inhabited in each one (such as our human bodies).
Maybe I’m describing the multi-verse, a theory that came from atheistic mentation trying to find a way to reconcile the exquisite balance of physical and quantum properties our universe enjoys (something that couldn’t have evolved into being, and would be astronomically unlikely if ours is the only universe that exists).
It’s a little ironic that the multiverse theory could tie into our post-death experience, as well as tie together the seemingly disparate views about the afterlife held by Western and Eastern religions.
So what do I do?
Do I insert myself back into the Christian community, and just avoid conversations that would expose my more “wacky” beliefs?
Or do I go without community?
It’s unlikely to get far in any significant endeavour by yourself, and overcoming the ego (which is what true spiritual progress comes down to) is certainly significant.
I would like to have a Church I could go to that would be a mixture of the community and structure of the Christian Church along with a reverence for insights unearthed in parts of the world other than Israel.
That’s probably how cults often start. Just a new dogma to replace the old.
Still, perhaps it’s possible to have Church-level community, without being religious…
It’s a shame that at 1:17 he bases his imagined community on an assumed doctrine (“Of course there is no God”). No different to any religion.
However, he then goes on to outline a way of recreating a community structure just as good as religion, without having to believe in religious ideals.
It’s a start.