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Why Are Some "spiritual"?


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I have noticed that many "spiritual" people believe the same things that atheists believe. Do any of you have ideas about what personality traits make people interested in "spiritual" ideas, practices, etc.?

 

Personally, I'm not "spiritual", and I don't understand what motivates "spiritual" people. I'm only interested in talking to a real God, learning my real purpose, etc. Evidence has always been very important to me. I have a few experiences that don't fit neatly into reality or psychosis. Those loose ends bug me.

 

"Spiritual" people seem to have different motivations that puzzle me.

Edited by overcast
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It seems to me that "spiritual people" are more interested in subjective feelings instead of objective truth? They evaluate ideas based on their ability to inspire rather than their ability to explain facts? They follow practices because they make them feel better rather than because they think they serve a greater purpose?

 

It's like the difference between a book of poetry and a science textbook.

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As it says on one Psychology site " Sprituality means something different to everyone. For some, it's about participating in organized religion : going to church, synagogue, a mosque, etc. For others, it's more personal: Some people get in touch with their spiritual side through private prayer, yoga, meditation, quiet reflection, or even long walks. Research shows that even skeptics can't stifle the sense that there is something greater than the concrete world we see."

It seems to me one doesn't have to be religious to be spiritual. Spirituality is to me more related to a sense within that life is more than the world we see with our eyes.

Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives hence it includes those who label themselves atheists, agnostics, Christian or other labels. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it is a universal human experience that touches us.

Who can say what motivates one to be spiritual? For me personally, i had everything materially that i desired yet there remained a sense or feeling of incompleteness and i couldn't understand why. There was an inward drawing that i seemed to have no control over to search for meaning and the deeper questions of life. That sense that there was something more than meets the eye drew me on a personal journey of exploration that included religions and such. An inward knowing that this connection to something bigger could be made provided the motivation for me for such a search. Incidentally i am no longer seeking that which i now am apprehended by..

 

It would seem to me that you also sense such a connection is possible from your very presence on this forum among your other stated interests expressed in your posts also.

Just one view to contemplate,

Joseph

Edited by JosephM
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Thanks, Joseph. :) If you have a thread where you described your beliefs, I would be curiuos.

 

I finally accepted that my psychotic memories were incorrect in October. Prior to that, certain topics would trigger disturbing memories, and I would feel trapped between common sense and what I remembered happening. Common sense finally triumphed in October. :)

 

So religion and supernatural is like reopening a can of worms for me. But there are loose ends that I can't explain. The problem is that my experiences don't match any psychological or religious hypothesis that I've heard. I don't know how to solve the riddle and I'm tired and jaded now.

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It seems to me that "spiritual people" are more interested in subjective feelings instead of objective truth? They evaluate ideas based on their ability to inspire rather than their ability to explain facts? They follow practices because they make them feel better rather than because they think they serve a greater purpose?

 

It's like the difference between a book of poetry and a science textbook.

Overcast,

 

i think the conundrum here is that when it comes to God, morality and spirituality, there can be no objective truth. If there is objective truth it seems to me it can only be subjectively known. Being a sentient being, all truth concerning spirituality (the topic of this thread) seems to me to be subjective in nature and i don't know how it could be otherwise. . :)

 

Joseph

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Thanks, Joseph. :) If you have a thread where you described your beliefs, I would be curiuos.

 

I finally accepted that my psychotic memories were incorrect in October. Prior to that, certain topics would trigger disturbing memories, and I would feel trapped between common sense and what I remembered happening. Common sense finally triumphed in October. :)

 

So religion and supernatural is like reopening a can of worms for me. But there are loose ends that I can't explain. The problem is that my experiences don't match any psychological or religious hypothesis that I've heard. I don't know how to solve the riddle and I'm tired and jaded now.

 

 

 

 

 

My beliefs are really not all that important and i doubt just stating them in a thread would do another any good. After all they are just opinions/views.

 

For me, what is important is there is no riddle to solve. My questions have disappeared with an inward knowing that i am complete already and connected to the whole. There is a discernment of presence, peace and Love that emanates from what i perceive as the substrate that sustains me and am convinced through personal experience that it is in and through all people and things. Kind of like being hid in Christ which is not a man but a word (anointing) that signifies the smearing together in one of the created and the creator. And in all of this i (the created) am just an ordinary man who will perish with the using and i am okay with that because I am not that.

 

Joseph

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My beliefs are really not all that important and i doubt just stating them in a thread would do another any good. After all they are just opinions/views.

 

For me, what is important is there is no riddle to solve. My questions have disappeared with an inward knowing that i am complete already and connected to the whole. There is a discernment of presence, peace and Love that emanates from what i perceive as the substrate that sustains me and am convinced through personal experience that it is in and through all people and things. Kind of like being hid in Christ which is not a man but a word (anointing) that signifies the smearing together in one of the created and the creator. And in all of this i (the created) am just an ordinary man who will perish with the using and i am okay with that because I am not that.

 

Joseph

Thanks :) I may know what you're talking about (possibly). I had a dream that seemed to have a similar message.

 

My problem is that I have isolated memories sprinkled over many decades of my life, and they are like puzzle pieces - except they don't seem to be from the same puzzle (psychosis, psi, Christianity, Hinduism, magic, ... ?) So mostly I shug my shoulders and call myself an atheist, because I like atheism. On a practical level, all of us are atheists, because atheism, naturalism, science, and modern lifestyles are all related IMO.

Edited by overcast
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Like the word 'God', I think the word 'Spiritual' can be loaded too. That is to say, like Joseph discusses, being spiritual could fit anywhere on a 1 to 100 scale. I think there can be spritual people (like me) who are atheist yet leave a little crack open for the possibility that there is something 'behind' their life and that perhaps they do have a spirit as well as their mind, right through to a spiritual person who may believe they communicate with the 'other side" etc. Perhaps somewhere in the middle are people who believe there is a God but which/who is nothing like the Bible God, and they might feel they have some connection or purpose relating to this God/force/entity.

 

I think I am starting to get used to the fact that I am none the wiser about any of this for my nearly 47 years on this planet, and perhaps may never 'know' the answer. I am becoming more comfortable with the uncertainty of it all.

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Like the word 'God', I think the word 'Spiritual' can be loaded too. That is to say, like Joseph discusses, being spiritual could fit anywhere on a 1 to 100 scale. I think there can be spritual people (like me) who are atheist yet leave a little crack open for the possibility that there is something 'behind' their life and that perhaps they do have a spirit as well as their mind, right through to a spiritual person who may believe they communicate with the 'other side" etc. Perhaps somewhere in the middle are people who believe there is a God but which/who is nothing like the Bible God, and they might feel they have some connection or purpose relating to this God/force/entity.

 

I think I am starting to get used to the fact that I am none the wiser about any of this for my nearly 47 years on this planet, and perhaps may never 'know' the answer. I am becoming more comfortable with the uncertainty of it all.

Thanks, Paul. :) The whole "spiritual" thing is hard for me to understand. As you say, it seems to mean different things to different people.

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Good question..............I searched for pleasure in many physical and mental experiences, but the coin would flip and the reverse side would appear with pain. It seems they come together on the same gold coin. I traveled overseas for 20 years thinking I could find it elsewhere. I am grateful for all the people who let me down and the pain I experienced because suffering got my attention and turned my focus within myself. My mind searched in books for the answers and my body tried every sensation, but nothing could satisfy an endless craving. My mind and my body, I have them, but who am I? I still don't know who I am and my pleasure is not at such a high peek of excitement, but the good thing is the let down is not so low either. Philosophy and an interest in different cultures and religions gave me an experience beyond my body and mind. It seemed that the different religions are saying the same thing and the mystics in them are all holding hands dancing together. I can only refer to the experience as peace and love, but it caused my awareness to change for what I was looking all over the world for. I didn't have to go anywhere.

 

I wrote this as part of an essay

 

In the grace and comfort of unity, a spiritual experience encounters a new heaven and a new earth where everything is united. The confusions on the physical plane, the duality of the sins and miseries of the mind are not remembered or renewed in the spiritual experience. In the present moment harmony we see the balance and unity of opposites because a center of heaven on earth has glory in our sorrows when we are at our lowest point we are also the most open to change and a new life. The beast in us can lay in peace with our innocence in our renewal where we become whole or holy. We just need a paradigm shift so the mind in not trapped in the brain and opens to the awareness of being a part of the unified force field where we interact with the universe. If we make this shift in consciousness our story becomes a love story and we stop blaming others for our misfortune as we reinterpret our memories, which in Christianity is the process of forgiveness. Science is helping us to reinterpret the universe by showing us that everything in the universe is connected without boundaries or restrictions; therefore, as we are a part of the universe we are totally responsible for our character and our choices. Ignore the criticisms and judgments of the mind and listen to the Divinity within because the mind is asking the questions, but it is the soul that answers them. We begin to see through the soul’s perspective when we realize our connection to the universe, open ourselves to love and let the soul show the way. We are in and a part of the infinite, but somehow we do the most difficult thing, which is to separate ourselves from infinity with our mind. The spirit is always there connected with everything in eternity; we just need to remove the obstructions that keep us from it. Jung called the harmonizing, the awareness of our unity with the infinite synchronicity. “Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see.” (Carl Jung)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was pure intellect in my 20s. Someone invited to a new age meditation group. I had an emotional awakening followed by a spiritual awakening. They are related. Emotional repression can be related to spiritual repression. It's interesting that when the spirit moved, all the symbols and ideas and rituals of my inherited faith came to life.

 

It's like, how do you teach someone to act passionately toward a woman? A gesture here, a a word here, a touch here. No! None of that is going to make sense until you FEEL passionate.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was pure intellect in my 20s. Someone invited to a new age meditation group. I had an emotional awakening followed by a spiritual awakening. They are related. Emotional repression can be related to spiritual repression. It's interesting that when the spirit moved, all the symbols and ideas and rituals of my inherited faith came to life.

 

It's like, how do you teach someone to act passionately toward a woman? A gesture here, a a word here, a touch here. No! None of that is going to make sense until you FEEL passionate.

o.k. :) I am very anti-spiritual. All the benefits of spirituality can be obtained in other ways IMO. Spirituality is usually harmless, but it can also cause serious damage to society and individuals.

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Would you say a little more about how spirituallity is dangerous?

Probably if you go to an atheist forum, and ask your question, you will get a better answer, but here are a few ways:

 

(1) There seem to be a range of psychological and neurological problems that make people think they are in contact with God, spirits, faeries, aliens, etc. Here is a link to a particularly sad example ( http://neuroresearchproject.com/2013/06/21/preying-in-the-name-of-god/ ). These types of tragedies are not unique to Christianity. Any religion that believes that a person can interact with a non-physical world can probably have these issues.

 

(2) The fact that there is no scientific evidence for a non-physical world means that people who hope to improve their physical circumstances through spiritual practices are certain to receive no measurable reward. If a person invests little and expects little (like buying a lottery ticket) then little harm is done. If a person has serious problems and tries to solve those problems through spiritual practices, then greater harm is done.

 

Sorry, ran out of ideas.

Edited by overcast
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Whilst it would be nice if spirituality simply came down to making one more loving or not, I think Overcast raises a valid point - believing in something that doesn't exists (if that is the case) could be dangerous. Whilst somebody might believe in a loving God, they might also believe He could answer their prayers concerning healing cancer rather than them taking conventional medicines. So in that instance, perhaps their spirituality could be dangerous.

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Here are a few more reasons that spirituality should not be respected or tolerated:

 

(3) When sane people mimic the delusions and practices of insane people, it is more difficult to identify the truly insane people who need medical or psychological help. If I say that "I think God is talking to me", that should immediately raise red flags and the authorities should treat my illness (against my will if I necessary, because insane people are often unaware that they are insane). Unfortunately, for every truly "spiritual" (i.e. insane) person, there are 99 sane people who for whatever reason think "spirituality" is stylish, wise, or whatever. If I say "I think God is talking to me", nobody notices, because there are 99 sane people saying the same nonsense. The sane people need to understand that "spirituality" is insanity, and claiming to be "spiritual" is just like pulling the fire alarm as a prank; eventually everybody begins to ignore the fire alarm.

 

(4) There is a range between sane and insane. There are many "spiritual" people who are mildly insane, and their "spiritual" practices and beliefs may eventually push them over the edge. In fact, the more "spiritual" (i.e. insane) these people become, the more enthusiastic they become about "spirituality".

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Of course, religions sometimes stumble onto some good ideas. Meditation helps a lot of people.

 

However, just as alchemy became chemistry and astrology became astronomy, we need to discard the spirituality to move forward IMO.

Please keep in mind that I am simply trying to help you articulate what you believe. That's what this thread is about. So alchemy gave way to something very valuable and so did astrology. What valuable thing is spirituality giving way to that can only happen if we give it up?

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Taking meditation as an example:

A spiritual person might think that meditation is a way of reaching a higher form of consciousness, talking to spirits, clairvoyance, etc.

A non-spiritual person will be free to refine the practice of meditation by measuring physical results from physical mechanisms.

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So what is so compelling about Jesus that you would identify as a Christian, while rejecting the spiritual nature of Jesus? (I'm assuming that you are a Christian)

 

My answer would be that you can practice much of what he taught without believing in spirit. I know many people who do. You don't even have to call yourself a Christian to act as a Christian. That's fine.

 

Now, I'm going to challenge you a bit here. As far as mental health goes, I have bipolar affective disorder. I've seen my fair share of mental health professionals, and not one of them would agree with you that spirituality is a symptom of mental illness or that it is unhealthy in any way. That notion, which was prevalent 100 years ago, is passing away What is your science regarding spirituality and mental health?

 

This paper reflects the current direction of psychology/psychiatry in regard to spirituality and mental health. There are many such studies and articles that support the ideas in this paper

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2755140/

Edited by fatherman
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A couple of observations:

We define mental illness into and out of existence.

Spirituality seems to be different things for different people.

 

For me spirituality is the few moments that I have had in my life that I was in awe.

 

One such moment, as an example, was looking down a microscope looking at a pre-zygote when my wife and I were trying IVF. Those four tiny cells - potential human being.

 

Anyway is not acceptance (as opposed to apathy) a form of spirituality?

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