The Paradox of Modern Spirituality

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posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 02:40 PM
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MODERN DENOTATION:


spiritual |ˈspiriCHo͞oəl|
adjective
1 of, relating to, or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things: I'm responsible for his spiritual welfare | the spiritual values of life.
• (of a person) not concerned with material values or pursuits.
2 of or relating to religion or religious belief: the tribe's spiritual leader.

Oxford English Dictionary

MODERN CONNOTATION:


Several authors state that there is no definitive definition of spirituality.[1][2][note 1]
According to Waaijman, the traditional meaning of spirituality is a process of re-formation:[8][note 2]
The re-formation aims to recover the original shape of man, the image of God. To accomplish this, the re-formation is oriented at a mold, which represents the original shape: in Judaism the Torah, in Christianity Christ, in BuddhismBuddha, in the Islam Muhammad.[9][note 3]

In modern times "spirituality" has acquired a new meaning. It still denotes a process of transformation, but is often seen as separate from religious institutions, as "spiritual but not religious." [5] Spirituality has come to mean the internal experience of theindividual. According to Yuk-Lin Renita Wong and Jana Vinsky, religion represents the organized aspect, the institutions which press people into a mold.[5] Dick Houtman and Stef Aupers write that modern spirituality blends humanistic psychology with mystical and esoteric traditions and eastern religions.[6]
Social scientists have defined spirituality as the search for "the sacred," where "the sacred" is broadly defined as that which is set apart from the ordinary and worthy of veneration, for example "a transcendent dimension":

[...] a transcendent dimension within human experience [...] discovered in moments in which the individual questions the meaning of personal existence and attempts to place the self within a broader ontological context.[10]

Spirituality can be sought not only through traditional organized religions, but also through movements such as the feminist theology and green politics. Spirituality is also now associated with mental health, managing substance abuse, maritalfunctioning, parenting, and coping. It has been suggested that spirituality also leads to finding purpose and meaning in life.[3]

Wikipedia

ETYMOLOGY


ORIGIN Middle English: from Old French spirituel, from Latin spiritualis, from spiritus (see spirit) .

Oxford English Dictionary



spiritus |ˈspiritəs|
noun
Latin term for breath, often used figuratively to mean spirit.

The English word spirit comes from the Latin spiritus, meaning "breath", but also "spirit, soul, courage, vigor", ultimately from a Proto-Indo-European *(s)peis. It is distinguished from Latin anima, "soul" (which nonetheless also derives from an Indo-European root meaning "to breathe", earliest form *h2enh1- [2]). In Greek, this distinction exists between pneuma (πνευμα), "breath, motile air, spirit," and psykhē (ψυχη), "soul"[3] (even though the latter term, ψῡχή = psykhē/psūkhē, is also from an Indo-European root meaning "to breathe": *bhes-, zero grade *bhs- devoicing in proto-Greek to *phs-, resulting in historical-period Greek ps- in psūkhein, "to breathe", whence psūkhē, "spirit", "soul"[4]).

Wiktionary



Classical and medieval meaning

Words translatable as 'spirituality' first began to arise in the 5th century and only entered common use toward the end of the Middle Ages.[11]

The term "spirituality" is derived from the Latin spiritualitas and the Biblical "roeach/pneuma". It means to be put in motion, to be a living person, and being driven. In a Bibilical context it means being animated by God.[12] Spirituality means to be driven by the Holy Spirit, as opposed to a life which rejects this influence.[13]

In the 11th century this meaning changes. Spirituality denotes then the mental aspect of life, as opposed to the material and sensual aspects of life. Spirituality represents "the ecclesiastical sphere of light against the dark world of matery".[14][note 4]

In the 13th century "spirituality" acquired a social and psychological meaning. Socially it denoted the territory of the clergy: "The ecclesiastical against the temporary possessions, the ecclesiastical against the secular authority, the clerical class against the secular class"[15][note 5] Psychologically it denoted the realm of the inner life: "The purity of motives, affections, intentions, inner dispositions, the psychology of the spiritual life, the analysis of the feelings".[16][note 6]

Wikipedia


[font=Stencil][size=10]S[/font]pirituality. According to the word’s etymology, we can see how far modern spirituality has strayed from its roots. What was once relevant to the breath, movement, animation and the very drives of an organism—life—is now concerned with the beyond, the immortal soul, divinity, God, self-negation—death. If there have been any concepts completely ruined by religious philosophy, spirituality has to be the most tragic.

Everyone is inherently and a priori spiritual; we are all possessed of the breath of life, animated, expressive, in continuous motion, and occupying a certain space in a universe. But how we practice being spiritual, the expression of our impressions, how we live life—our art of living, our philosophy, our spirituality—no longer depends on the spirit of old, on the breath of life, but on the hope that there is a reason we breathe, a reason we live—immortality, the ceasing of suffering, divinity, reward in death, a different existence, religion—ideas that are the very antithesis of life and the spirit. Hopes, dreams, lies. A conundrum.

It must be true that life is its own purpose. When we speak with someone, interact with something, as we guide ourselves through the world, we see not things void of meaning or purpose, but things that are purposes themselves. Everything is its own purpose, motive, basis and justification simply by existing. It is meaningful to live, meaningful to be animated by constant movement, able to create and destroy. Not only is it rewarding and profound, but a prerequisite of everything we know and love. The value of life isn’t found in the values, but in life and living itself. Everything we can understand through our organism depends first on being that organism. We, as breathing spirits, as individuals, as beings, are our own purpose.

Why must we go beyond that in our search? Why must we look further forward or backwards, beyond the scope of our lives to find reasons for them? The foundation of spirit is life, the spiritual world is this world, spirituality is living. Should we continue to negate it (and ourselves in the process) in favour of thoughts to the contrary and call that our “spirituality”? the very thoughts that seek to tyrannize over our lives and how we conduct ourselves through it? How not-so-free-spirits we are.

When we assert, dear reader, that this life is merely temporary, our bodies are prisons, the flesh is without value, this existence isn't real and we should instead focus on the salvation of some inner and immortal idea, we are not in the least bit being spiritual, but anti-life, and anti-spiritual.

Thank you for reading.

-LesMis




posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 03:37 PM
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Nice OP


We are spiritual beings having a human experience. Our soul or spirit comes into this flesh body to learn emotions be that love or hate. There is no real death, when the flesh dies the spirit is taken back to source to be recycled into another body to learn from a different point of view. That is how I see it anyways.



posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 03:45 PM
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The Paradox of Modern Spirituality?

As opposed to what? The spirituality of the past?

Spirituality has always been paradoxical. It always will be.

Paradox is not a problem.

A lack of a definitive definition is not a problem.


When you look at it you cannot see it;
It is called formless.

When you listen to it you cannot hear it,
It is called soundless.

When you try to seize it, you cannot hold it;
It is called subtle. . . .

It is up, but it is not brightened;
It is down, but it is not obscured.

It stretches endlessly,
And no name is to be given. . . .

It returns to nothingness.

You face it, but you cannot see its front.
You follow it, but you cannot see its back.


-Lau Tzu

edit on 23-3-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 04:02 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


I really don't have any substantial arguments against your premise at this time. Consider that a compliment.
edit on 23-3-2013 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 04:48 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 



Why must we go beyond that in our search? Why must we look further forward or backwards, beyond the scope of our lives to find reasons for them?


This part is interesting, it reminds me of another view I had read on the meaning of life. This is a quote from Thomas Nagel ....


The absurdity of life lies in the nature of consciousness, because however seriously we take life, we always know that there is some perspective from which this seriousness can be questioned.


So meaning is somewhat of a contradiction from the sense of meaning we give that which has no meaning in itself. Once we recognize life as absurd we can then fully live it.
Here is another quote along these lines by Albert Camus....


You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.
edit on 23-3-2013 by g0dhims3lf because: added replyto
edit on 23-3-2013 by g0dhims3lf because: spelling



posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 04:54 PM
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I absolutely agree on what you are saying OP. Modern people who practice modern spirituality often dwell on the 'reason', rather than the reason. Once they have found the reason, everything becomes meaningless to them. Their existent is just another passing as they take it. As far as I am concerned, life is certainly not a 'passing'. A great deal of life and effort is placed in one's existence. Treasuring and promoting life is what I believe is the best 'reason' a modern spiritualist could do.

As far as paradoxes are concerned, one above has posted stanza's of Lao tzu's work. Everything in life that may appear irrationally opposing is not 'paradoxical'. It is but complimentary, that is what makes it complete.

much love



posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 04:55 PM
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are not in the least bit being spiritual, but anti-life, and anti-spiritual.

SandF. The way their minds wander and the ridiculous questions they ask are an attempt to become spiritual. Just asking these questions makes ones spiritual. That is the deception. When you eat the fruit of good and evil, you will be like God. When you ask these..... you get it don't you.


Since we want to attain spirituality, and the only thing that comes up is looking further than our noses, weren't we spiritual then already not looking further then our noses.

In a dutch song it is sung 'give them a chance before they act stupid'. (it's from a good band).

It is probably because these people have been unaccepted, that their minds were forced to think they themselves were not true (while they were), and because of that mind then they started to reach for something they already were. That way they seem to act stupid. But in fact they aren't. It's just because they ask these questions on here on the internet, and we reading them, it comes over as a bit stupid. But it is in fact that way they learn that they were good and spiritual already.

There was done a wretching of the mind on them. May they become focused and healed again.



posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 05:51 PM
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reply to post by BlueMule
 




The Paradox of Modern Spirituality?

As opposed to what? The spirituality of the past?

Spirituality has always been paradoxical. It always will be.

Paradox is not a problem.

A lack of a definitive definition is not a problem.



paradox |ˈparəˌdäks|
noun
a statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory: a potentially serious conflict between quantum mechanics and the general theory of relativity known as the information paradox.
• a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true: in a paradox, he has discovered that stepping back from his job has increased the rewards he gleans from it.
• a situation, person, or thing that combines contradictory features or qualities: the mingling of deciduous trees with elements of desert flora forms a fascinating ecological paradox.



A paradox is an argument that produces an inconsistency, typically within logic or common sense.[1] Most logical paradoxes are known to be invalid arguments but are still valuable in promoting critical thinking.[2] However, some have revealed errors in definitions assumed to be rigorous, and have caused axioms of mathematics and logic to be re-examined (e.g., Russell's paradox).[3] Still others, such as Curry's paradox, are not yet resolved. In common usage, the word "paradox" often refers to irony or contradiction. Examples outside logic include the Grandfather paradox from physics, and the Ship of Theseus from philosophy. Paradoxes can also take the form of images or other media. For example, M.C. Escher featured perspective-based paradoxes in many of his drawings.


Paradoxes are always a problem for ideas. Paradoxes show where ideals cannot work. To say that modern spirituality, which basically consists of denying life in favour of that which isn't life (ie. afterlife, the other-worldly, denial of the flesh and negation of life), when the spirit is life itself, is a paradox, is contradictory and ironic. It shows the absurdity of such ideas because they negate and contradict themselves.

Sure, in the world, in the universe, in existence, there are no paradoxes; things are as they are. But saying paradoxes and contradiction aren't problems in the realm of thought, where ideas such as the spirit, the soul, the afterlife, and God exist and reign over us, is another one of those absurdities. If paradoxes is not a problem for people, then they are not concerned with understanding their own ideas.

I don't speak ill of paradox. I in fact love them. I think they're beautiful have their utility. We must know when ideas cannot translate to reality, and they show us where our fallible logic might lead us astray.

The foundation of spirituality is life, yet its advocates teach us death. A paradox. An irony. A contradiction.



posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 06:06 PM
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Originally posted by LesMisanthrope

The foundation of spirituality is life...


No it isn't. The foundation of spirituality is the mystical experiences of people like Jesus, Lau Tzu, The Prophet Muhammad, Moses, etc.

The laws of logic are the laws of our everyday consciousness and experience... they have no application to mystical experiences which are beyond everyday consciousness and experience, beyond ideas, beyond words, beyond definitions.

But not beyond experiencing.

That One which is beyond all thought is inconceivable by all thought -Dionysius the Areopagite

That Oneness is on the other side of descriptions and states. Nothing but duality enters speech's playing-field -Rumi

edit on 23-3-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 07:06 PM
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reply to post by BlueMule
 



No it isn't. The foundation of spirituality is the mystical experiences of people like Jesus, Lau Tzu, The Prophet Muhammad, Moses, etc.

The laws of logic are the laws of our everyday consciousness and experience... they have no application to mystical experiences which are beyond everyday consciousness and experience, beyond ideas, beyond words, beyond logic, beyond definitions.

But not beyond experiencing.

That One which is beyond all thought is inconceivable by all thought -Dionysius the Areopagite

That Oneness is on the other side of descriptions and states. Nothing but duality enters speech's playing-field -Rumi


Nonsense. That is the foundation of religion—the repudiation of spirituality, the antithesis of spirituality, denial of spirituality. I mentioned the etymology of the words "spirit" and "spirituality" mean "to breathe". Life is the roots from which the tree of spirituality grows. If you can refute the etymology of spirit, you could refute my arguments.

To be spiritual, one must be alive. How does "to breathe" translate to mystical experiences? Correct; it doesn't—at least not until religion has had its perverse way with the concept, having convinced the religiously motivated and credulous otherwise. One must first be breathing and living and animated before he can have a mystical experience.



posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 07:56 PM
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Hmm



posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 08:03 PM
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From my perspective, (an extremely spiritual perspective) you are concerned about the facts. Spirituality is something that is growing and changing. To grow and change we have to realise truth, and that isn't always done correct the first try am I right?
Your idea of straying from 'the breath', couldn't be further from the truth. I use the breath (a meditation) countless times within a single day. I'm not concerned for the future and I have healed my wrongs so the past does not bother me either. This comes from the understanding that nothing is 'right' or 'wrong', just an opposition of perspectives. Understanding other people's perspectives is the best way to understand yourself, and the world around you. I'm not concerned with definitions, or facts. I'm only concerned with my happiness. I live in the moment, and only make choices based on my perception of happiness in that moment and how it will affect the future. If the result isn't my happiness then I'm capable of understanding because I'm accepting of anything, as long as it represents my happiness.
To science they need facts and definitions, why aren't emotions at play? Emotions are just as real as math, or science and plus they mean more to me individually. So why not understand your emotions and what drives them?
You're ignorant of yourself, yet not of the physical world around you. To me that is a paradox, especially on this website.
I also give no right to judge spirituality who has not experienced it themselves. I think of it as a High School English teacher. Before they can make a judgement of your writing, they must read it first and take the time to experience it before actually gaining insight about the content.
Spirituality has changed my life in ways of understanding myself, the importance of emotion, and the world around me. I highly recommend it.
edit on 23-3-2013 by DayStar69 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 08:07 PM
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Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
reply to post by BlueMule
 



No it isn't. The foundation of spirituality is the mystical experiences of people like Jesus, Lau Tzu, The Prophet Muhammad, Moses, etc.

The laws of logic are the laws of our everyday consciousness and experience... they have no application to mystical experiences which are beyond everyday consciousness and experience, beyond ideas, beyond words, beyond logic, beyond definitions.

But not beyond experiencing.

That One which is beyond all thought is inconceivable by all thought -Dionysius the Areopagite

That Oneness is on the other side of descriptions and states. Nothing but duality enters speech's playing-field -Rumi


Nonsense.


As opposed to what? Sense?

Dualistic either/or thinking isn't going to enlighten you. You need to go beyond sense and nonsense. Beyond concepts, beyond thought, beyond expectations.


To be spiritual, one must be alive. How does "to breathe" translate to mystical experiences? Correct; it doesn't—


I can see why one might think that. But it isn't necessarily mundane everyday breathing that we are talking about here. Have you ever felt the 'breath of fire' overtake you as 'kundalini' energy surges through your body? I have.

If it was mere mundane everyday breathing we are talking about, how could the spirit of God breathe into Adam? Do spirits have lungs?

No.

But during mystical experiences the spirit can enter you in ways. Ways that breathing is an apt metaphor for.

Food is another apt metaphor. So is sex.

edit on 23-3-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 08:14 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 





The value of life isn’t found in the values, but in life and living itself. Everything we can understand through our organism depends first on being that organism. We, as breathing spirits, as individuals, as beings, are our own purpose. Why must we go beyond that in our search? Why must we look further forward or backwards, beyond the scope of our lives to find reasons for them? The foundation of spirit is life, the spiritual world is this world, spirituality is living. Should we continue to negate it (and ourselves in the process) in favour of thoughts to the contrary and call that our “spirituality”? the very thoughts that seek to tyrannize over our lives and how we conduct ourselves through it? How not-so-free-spirits we are. When we assert, dear reader, that this life is merely temporary, our bodies are prisons, the flesh is without value, this existence isn't real and we should instead focus on the salvation of some inner and immortal idea, we are not in the least bit being spiritual, but anti-life, and anti-spiritual. Thank you for reading.


Nice! Thank you for writing it. Some really powerful stuff there.



posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 08:18 PM
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Originally posted by jiggerj

Nice! Thank you for writing it. Some really powerful stuff there.


Nice! You make a really powerful cheerleader. Hurray for our side!


edit on 23-3-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 08:20 PM
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Originally posted by AfterInfinity
reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


I really don't have any substantial arguments against your premise at this time. Consider that a compliment.
edit on 23-3-2013 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)


And I thought I was arrogant lmao

Maybe you didnt fully understand what the opp was trying to project. Either way its all speculation when it comes to spirituality and belief.



posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 08:31 PM
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Correct me if im wrong but I think the gist of the Opp is that people that "proclaim" to practice spirituality seem to focus on the afterlife or the end game and not enjoying the moment they are living in. too much in a rush to finish to enjoy the journey.

By and large that is a good way (good being a loosely used term) to live ones life I think we also need a balance of present and future. People that live too much in the present will never be prepared for the future and people who always plan for the future will never be happy because the future never gets here.

And in the context of the afterlife if there is one we will get there and if there isnt one it wont matter.



posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 08:35 PM
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reply to post by TiM3LoRd
 


The OP practiced asceticism for a time and failed to achieve enlightenment. So this thread seems to be about consoling himself and his pride, as many of his threads are. As if to say, "spirituality is paradoxical nonsense anyway, and so it isn't really ME that failed... it's spirituality itself that failed and besides I'm alive and breathing and that's all it really is anyway just look at the words and their history"

edit on 23-3-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 08:42 PM
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Originally posted by BlueMule
reply to post by TiM3LoRd
 


The OP practiced asceticism for a time and failed to achieve enlightenment. So this thread is about consoling himself and his pride, as many of his threads are. As if to say, "spirituality is paradoxical nonsense anyway, and so it isn't really ME that failed... it's spirituality itself that failed and besides I'm alive and breathing and that's all it really is anyway just look at the words and their history"

edit on 23-3-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)


Well I must admit to the ignorance of not fully knowing the opp or their personal experiences with relation to what spiritual path they walked and what value they gained from such a choice. I was just commenting on the opp and my perception of it.

You may well be right in your assessment but as the old saying goes "dont throw the baby out with the bath water" there is valuable information to be gained form every experience.



posted on Mar, 23 2013 @ 10:05 PM
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Originally posted by BlueMule

Originally posted by jiggerj

Nice! Thank you for writing it. Some really powerful stuff there.


Nice! You make a really powerful cheerleader. Hurray for our side!


edit on 23-3-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)


Thank you. And, you are a diehard believer in realms that don't exist, can't be validated, and totally negate the NOW that we live in. What a waste of a life!





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