For me, the crazy thing about religion, spirituality, and mysticism is that they aren't crazy enough. People try to justify their attempts to understand God, divinity, and the supernatural through reason, arguments, explanations, apologetics.
Yet since the dawn of recorded history, and likely long before, human beings have tried to prove that some spiritual notions deserve to be elevated above others.
The net result: there is zero, absolutely zero, evidence that any particular metaphysical dogma, belief system, faith, ritual, or practice is demonstrably true.So there's no reason to offer up reasons for accepting this form of spirituality rather than that one.
Why's are not required in this area.
Which is like sex in this regard. The only difference is that spirituality should be guided by the adage if it feels right, believe it, instead of if it feels good, do it.
One of the great things about the Internet is that it has helped reveal the amazing variety of sexual desires, passions, and predilictions. There's little doubt that no matter how unusual or seemingly kinky someone's individual lust-object might be, with a bit of unfiltered Google searching he or she will find that someone else shares that variety of sexuality.
Likewise, spirituality should be equally free of boundaries, constraints, should's, guilt, and "am I normal?" anxieties.
The most respected religious/mystical seers and sages were wildly bizarre, each in his or her quirky way. Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Chuang Tzu, Rumi, assorted Zen masters, mind-body bending yogis, and other historical personages were uniquely individual.
Yet now the faiths which claim to follow in their footsteps demand that devotees march in lockstep rather than dancing freely across the spiritual landscape. People worry unduly about doing the right thing, rather than doing their own thing.
Some people who visit this blog consider me to be analytical, intellectual, reasonable, rational, and scientific. Well, I do indeed manifest these qualities. Sometimes. Other times, like everybody, I'm passionate, intuitive, emotional, crazy, and artistic.
Vive le difference. Not only between the sexes, between everybody.
Just as each of us has unique sexual inclinations, so should we embrace and honor our unique spiritual tastes -- using that term, "spiritual," not in an other-worldly sense, but rather as what turns us on meaning-of-life wise.
Back in 2006 I wrote about this in a blog post, "The virtue of a Playboy philosophy of life."
What I like about the Playboy philosophy is that it recognizes when a hand of facts needs to be laid on the table, and when it’s OK to keep it hidden.
In the private realm, the only fact you have to be concerned about is your own experience. Like to have sex with the opposite gender? That’s a fact. Like to have sex with your own gender? That’s a fact. The end. In my life I haven’t spent even one second trying to justify to myself or anyone else why I’m heterosexual. Homosexuals have a similar right to simply say, “This is who I am. End of story.”
Ditto with other private preferences, moral or otherwise. I prefer vanilla ice cream. You like chocolate. No problem. Each to his own. (However, every time my wife makes Brussels sprouts she asks if I want some and I say “No, I don’t like them.” She then says, “But they’re good for you.” I reply, “I still don’t like them; I’ll have a salad instead.” It’s our little ritual.)
Disturbingly often, though, religious types forget that their beliefs are just that: beliefs. They’re private preferences about how to look on the mysteries of life: whether God exists, what happens after death, why bad things happen to good people, and such.
Nobody has the answers to such questions. More precisely, nobody can prove that they have the answers. So for practical purposes, nobody has the answers. Similarly, I can’t explain why I like vanilla ice cream and can’t stand Brussels sprouts. I just do. So don’t try to tell me why I should feel otherwise, because there’s no “why” to tell.
Again, there's no reason to offer up reasons for our spiritual beliefs -- what makes life meaningful for us -- just as no why's are required to explain our sexual or food preferences.
With one caveat: if we expect that other people should like what we like, we should also expect that this expectation won't be fulfilled. Facts may be agreed upon, but likes... never.
Which is why this blog's tag line still rings true for me: preaching the gospel of spiritual independence.