Spirituality & Becoming What We Aren’t.
“Spiritual but not religious”
—a strange statement, somewhat contradictory,
but psychologically interesting; because despite its supposed banishment of religion, it is still a religious practice, mainly the worship of
divinity. The act of being spiritual, and the idea of the spirit—the very root of spirituality, having travelled through the meat-grinder of
religious doctrine for thousands of years—has become the bastardized concept of spirituality we see today. Certainly, modern spirituality is a form
of religion, a fruit from the same tree, and is best represented as the religious mentality but without the religious dress. More often than not, the
One is “spiritual but not religious” when she doesn’t want to go to church, when she doesn’t want to be associated with the physical act of
religion and its institutions—its prayers, its gatherings, its ceremony, its idols (acts which should be deemed personal to the individual)—but
whom nonetheless retains the same religious psychology and metaphysics of it all—the enthusiasm (in a classical sense), the revelation, the questing
for nirvana and various mythical states, the orgiastic displays of emotion, the idolatry of words and ideals, the obedience to a seer or prophet who
somehow knows more than ourselves, the abstraction, the proselytizing, and most significantly (the common fundamental theme of religion in general),
the desire to be something other
than what we are. The outlook of "spiritual but not religious" seems to be somewhat contradictory, as it
would be dishonest to say that by removing the ritualistic aspect of religion, we are removing religion itself. Spirituality was harvested from the
same culture, history, and the very foundations of religious thought. A critical eye notices spirituality is more similar than in any way distinct.
What does one mean when he labels himself “spiritual”? What does it mean to be
spiritual today? It means the same as taking any label.
“Spiritual” is an adjective. Therefore, spirituality is not a state of being; it is a state of appearance. Spirituality is piety, the act of
spiritual, an act of vanity, all performed while retaining the same state of being as everything else, nothing changing save for the
way one thinks (sometimes doesn’t think) about the world and how his thoughts are expressed. It is becoming the advocate of another philosophy, but
still an advocate nonetheless. Of course, living a humble life of empathy and joy does not require this peacock display of ones spiritual feathers; to
possess a healthy mind and ethic does not require the suspension of criticism towards, the grip of faith upon, and the dogmatic expression of, a
certain idea or other; to be human, one must only be human. As thinking beings, everyone is, by definition, already spiritual.
But thinking is the enemy—isn’t that so my friends? Isn’t that what the spiritual ones promote? that our true nature is not
to think? It
seems strange to be sold on such an idea. We are told that we must, through sheer acts of will, meditation and introspection, suspend our thinking
processes in favour of what—not thinking?
To take a word on faith? To ignore ourselves in order to face ourselves? What might be feared in
this instance is the labour
of thinking, the work involved, the sorts of thinking that another might see as a form of dance or art and quite
liberating. Not thinking is paradoxically still thinking, but thinking of nothing. How they thought of this without thinking I have no clue. But this
shows an interesting paradox found in this idea. Our true nature is not what we already are, but less
than what we are, a thoughtless nothing,
a body-less spirit, a formless emptiness, an intangibility, an idea in the mind of God, energy, whatever it is that is eternal about us. What is this
but self-evisceration? the labelling of pieces of oneself? some for disposal and some for idolatry?
The label “spiritual” is a costume, akin to that of any label through which we knowingly limit ourselves. It is an adjective, a way we wish appear
to others, an appearance we must persist (even to the point of ignoring reason, or our doubts against it, endowing an idea with the power to tyrannize
over our own thinking) in order to continue appearing “spiritual”, to keep up appearances of a particular identity.
Is happiness only found in spirituality? Is spirituality the key to a proper conduct? There is nothing that says this is so, as even the spiritual
prophets devise their own ethics and how they live their lives through reason. As far as philosophy goes, spirituality is similar to all religion
insofar as it is not a way of life, but a way out
of life, a way to limit life, a way beyond life for a stake in what comes after it, a means
to an end. It vows the hedonistic comforts of joy, satiation and bliss. It promises states of ecstasy and understanding in our own self-denial. It is
the mental preparation for death, not the mental preparation for life. It is the doctrine of what we desire to be, not what we are.
Thank you for reading.