Sunday, February 22, 2009

What Spirituality Is

Hi, remember me? My name is Marc and today I'd like to talk to you about spirituality and how we all have it.


Don't fret. I'm still an atheist. However, I do want to show you how easy it is to have a spiritual 'feeling' or 'enlightenment' and not have one ounce of religious beliefs in your life. How? Well, it's easy as having a hobby!

You see to be spiritual means that you find yourself in what you do in the world. If you are an artist you will be spiritual through the art you create. If you play sports really well you will feel a sense of bonding with the sport you particularly like. Oh and how about praying to a god every Sunday? If you do any one of these things chances are you're going to feel very good and whole inside.

Now some who read this might argue that the feeling of hobbies is different from that of religious conviction. Well, I can certainly see how that argument might be made but let me be clear about something: I used to be a Christian and I remember quite well the feeling you'd get from having a 'moment with God/Jesus'. And you know what? It was simply amazing and invigorating. The problem is though when you throw belief into the a situation it becomes very discriminating against anything else that happens to share good feelings. When someone has a belief in a deity or 'force' they start to make believe that the feelings they're getting are from this religious conviction. It feels good doesn't it? This is why, I believe, religious people get very excited about their god and/or force because it makes them feel good. Their hobby, more or less, is belief in that god or force.

Disagree with me? Well take my example then of late. I've been attending a Unitarian Universalist Church (see my article below about my visit). During my visit I had an amazing spiritual awakening. I felt good, really good...self aware you might say. I could see all the problems in my life melt away and love was flowing through my body. I had a goofy smile on my face and damn if I didn't feel as if I was on top of the world! Reminds you of something huh? Well, I assure you this was not from the presence of a god. I was feeling the love of the community I was surrounded by and by my own feelings of self worth. Talk about enlightenment.

That feeling conjured up feelings from my past from, you guessed it, my time as a Christian. Shocking I know. Yes part of it was me going to the UU church, however, it was also my willingness to get up and go to the church as I'm not usually a morning riser. I expected this would help me spiritually and it did and thus I fulfilled my own goal and as we know accomplishing goals makes us feel good!

Another time I'd like to mention is when I went on a 2 hour hike into a canyon. The trip was long and arduous to be sure however it was the feeling I had when I came down that made all the difference. Can you guess how I felt? That's right, the exact same way I did at the UU church. Here I attribute it to a few things: exercise, fresh air, a great friend whom joined me, and nature. I remember afterwards exclaiming to my friend how I felt more clear than I have in years. Ideas and optimism seemed to be flowing. I felt like a spirit had embued me. Well, it was my spirit; the spirit of marc eriksen. Spirituality is thus this: You actualizing your goals and asperations and in turn getting motivated to continue on with them and the like.

Unfortunately, we can't all have spiritual moments in our life because life can sometimes be too busy. I don't mean to say that life is montenous and boring but rather when you do the things you enjoy you will find meaning in the tasks you do in your life. It's that simple. If you find yourself in a slump or just completely 'stuck' in a world you feel out of place in then make yourself appear in it by doing something like I did and I promise you will feel the spirituality of youself blossom into the world and take form. You are spiritual, when you want to be and it has nothing to do with a god-like being or religion.

Thank you for your time.


Jonny vanB said...

This is very good, and has much wisdom. The spirit is the self and spirituality is the actualization of the self. Worshipping your own spirit in a sense, through praise of yourself in the form of pleasurable and fulfilling activity. Positive psychology would call this the pleasant life. Having as many pleasurable activities as possible. You also speak of hobbies which engage us, and of self-meaning. These are the three happy lives according to positive psychology: Pleasurable, Engaged, Meaningful. All very spiritualistic aspects of the self. Bravo on the excellent argument, Marc.

Naked Kane said...

Marc, I would totally have to agree. I too used to be a christian. Well, I was very devoted to the Catholic church growing up. I remeber how enlightened that I felt in believing and worshiping. At one point I even wanted to be a priest. But I grew out of that. I am not an athiest or an agnostic, but I do not believe in a god or a higher power (which is the same thing in my opinion), but I also don't believe that we are just sheep, or blades of grass. I have no solid beliefs, but I have ideas that are always open to interpertation and change from time to time.

When I was a teenager, I became insanely depressed and nothing helped with it. When I was in my early 20's, however, I started a couple of new hobbies. Reading and writing. When I would read a really good book, or write a really good story (in my opinion that is, I am not a good writer, but I am getting better when I'm not being lazy about it), I have a huge feeling of self-worth. Whenever I accomplish even the smallest goals, I do get a feeling of enlightenment. I have never noticed until now that the feelings were similar to those of when I was envolved in the church. Maybe they are, or maybe they are not. Maybe after reading this, I am just thinking that they are. I do not, and will never know.