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jonnyb

How Do You Define 'spiritual'

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just interested on your thoughts on this...

 

I am someone who currently feels that no religion has solid knowledge of 'God' - what he is or what he does. Lately I have been interested in the worlds of science, nature, philosophy, psychology etc etc and in these areas I find great wonder and awe, a kind of 'spirituality'. But these are mostly things that are 'palpable', ie the are observable in the real world. This is leading me to think that spirituality (or perhaps just my spirituality) is in seeing the wonder of the 'ordinary'. Taking the everyday, ordinary things around us for granted is of course not spiritual, but pausing to really consider those things (eg the intricate construction of a leaf, the scale of the universe etc etc) is when the mundane becomes spiritual.

 

Also, i feel that considering these things make one consider the forces behind everything - what are they and why are they there? I suppose this is the part of my spirituality that involves the 'unseen'.

 

sorry if this is rambling, but i'm just thinking out loud! I'd just like to hear what it means for you to be 'spiritual' if you have no solid beliefs about god, afterlife etc

 

thanks

Jonny

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The way I see it, the spiritual is about principle. This connects the religious understanding of spirit in christianity (where Jesus, or the Logos is sought), and the more unreligious understanding of spirit (where also Logos is sought, but more like the greeks saw it, a tradition that didn't enjoy the "gods" very much except in theater).

 

Spirit is sometimes seen as this principle, but also as an equivalent to our souls. That's how we get this funny feeling when we see a leaf, as you put it. I call it "feelings of the mind", small, sparkling and dazzling things.

 

My own best approximation is that spirit is the marrow of our souls. And Jesus is someone who is so faithful to this marrow of our souls, always, also in Heaven, that He is the incarnation of this marrow, in the container of pure love that is His Father.

 

Understood unreligiously, you can still stick with a spiritual life - following wherever your spirit leads you in an ethically proper way. That would be liberal christianity as many understand it. I just think that eventually all these philosophies, applied to your personal life, will make room in you for theology again, and then your life is enveloped in God in time, and you find faith again.

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It seems in our small world Christ enters and leaves as we try to grasp life in the tight fist of our mind that grasps only laws and reason needs to be expanded. Einstein said that no scientific law is discovered without intuition. I envision this with the physical being as a candle, the intellect as the candle flame, and our intuition as the light that is shed on the things around it. I feel spiritual means we open the mind to the vast, deep and limitless Christ mind, then we relax and rest in a state of peace beyond the mind. We let go and “Let Thy Will be Done”. We are no longer tied or grasping a human predicament. We are no longer poking about our interior with a flashlight, but opening the blinds, windows and doors of our Soul to the present moment of God. We no longer seek God because we know he is always present so we seek the barriers that separate us from That Glorious Presence.

 


I feel our soul is the witness of pure consciousness that sees all inside and out. The ego through the mind seems to impose a strait jacket upon our intuition so we listen mostly to reason and jeopardize our future happiness. My mind needs to remain free to explore, to contemplate and to evaluate higher subjects in order to gain maturity and understanding; or else I feel I stagnate and decline. Yes,this is the fall from grace.

 

I don't think Religious or rigorous spiritual practice gives us intuition or wisdom because we already have them, but it does give the resolution and courage to use our intuition without another’s direction with nothing to fear. I feel we soon transcend the highest intellect because our reason starts to comply with our intuition.



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Some people refer to soul or spirit as an entity, as something that might live on after they die. I currently take the view that my spirit is the software that gives my hardware meaning. My hardware allows thoughts and feelings to form, and experiencing these is what I consider 'spirituality'. I don't think my spirit will live on, but that's just me.

 

So I agree with you Johnny that the way we see and experience 'life' in general can be our spirituality. For me it is. The everyday things we do can simply be tasks, or they can be moments of awe and wonder, but I don't think there's anything wrong with them just being tasks at times either. Without doubt, the earth on which we live is amazing. So much around us even in suburbia is amazing. The whole experience of life can simply be amazing, joyful and wonderous. Similarly it can be painful, hurtful and lonely. Yet it is still all an experience which we can appreciate as just that - an experience. That experience is our spirituality I think.

 

Some people find inspiration in other people (such as Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, etc) and associated documents, some find inspiration just from watching a bird fly. I like to think of all of our experiences contributing to what some would call our 'spirituality' with spirituality being consider th eexperience and not something that is seperate to our existence in some way.

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To me, spirituality is like exercise of the imagination. We do physical exercise to make our physical being healthy. In the spiritual world, we do good things for others (spiritual exercise) to make our spiritual being healthy and happy, and to make the spiritual beings of others healthy and happy.

 

Spirituality is NOT an expression based on the physical laws of the universe. The physical laws seem to bind us to pain and suffering and limitations on what we can accomplish. Instead, the spiritual side of life is an expression of the way we WANT the world to be - a place of kindess, peace, abundance, mercy and justice.

 

The physical laws are all about the harsh reality of cruelty, sickness, bondage, and death. Spiritual activities are all the things we do to unravel those physical laws and to release each other from their harsh tyranny. Spirituality is the medical science we work hard to develop in order to free us from cancer, the charitable organizations we create to free us from poverty, the humane society we set up to release animals from bondage and cruel treatment, the smiles we give each other to surround our existences with love and kindness.

 

In other words, "spirituality" is a word that is very similar to the word "imagination", or "psychology". It is not so much the world, and not even so much our perception of the world, but rather how we can IMAGINE the world to be, how we can TRANSFORM the world, and given our power to transform the world, what type of world we would create if we could succeed in transforming it. I started a thread on animal rights a few days ago. If I could transform the world, I would have all humans and all animals living happily, free of bondage, free of fear from predators, free of pain, sickness, and death. I think someday, 1,000 years from now, this vision will become reality through some kind of high-tech, science fiction magic. But this vision will NOT come true without spiritual beings to long for it, imagine it, work for it, and sacrifice for it.

 

I guess I am agreeing with PaulS somewhat, when he said "my spirit is the software that gives my hardware meaning". Except I am saying my spirit is the software that gives not only my hardware (my body) meaning, but also it gives all of the hardware that makes up the whole universe meaning.

Edited by stopman

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Paul introduces an interesting metaphor of spirit as software; perhaps an unsurprising one given the spread of computing in our lives. And computing jargon borrows from religious vocab too, bringing icons and avatars into global use.

 

 

Stopman, I really like your optimistic vision of the future.

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I would define spiritual as 'being conscious' of ones 'being' or existence or presence rather than the unconscious acting out of our conditioning/programming or thought patterns. The first being of the nature of the spirit and the second being of the nature of the flesh.

 

Joseph

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love that, Joseph, thanks! I think you have summed it up for me

 

Jonny

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For me the spiritual moments are few and far between. Maybe half a dozen in my
life, that I can recall at the moment. They only last a few seconds but they are intense.

The last one:
was high in the Andes - seeing 120 My old dino footprints. realizing I too am a
footprint and will leave them, metaphorically speaking.

Another was
sitting in my back garden insisting to myself there has to be something more to
life than this.

Looking at our prezygote under a microsope and knowing this could be the begining of a human being.


Watching an image of something like napthalene crystallize between two
glass slides in one of old fashioned slide projectors. Two days later watching
the classroom of kids see the same magic

 



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I would define spiritual as 'being conscious' of ones 'being' or existence or presence rather than the unconscious acting out of our conditioning/programming or thought patterns. The first being of the nature of the spirit and the second being of the nature of the flesh.

 

Joseph

Yes, and I've often thought of "spiritual" meaning you are the observer, the witness. You are not who you think you are, but deeper than that. Buddhism helps me a lot in realizing the spiritual and non-attachment.

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