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.
Great post. Thanks for sharing.
Posted by: So Journer | August 25, 2010 at 08:39 AM
It also means that my world is within my skull. The other one is having his own. If I have to perfectly penetrate into others’ world I have to break open their skulls. And this is what exactly happens when wars are fought for the ideologies and organized religions. If I understand that my thoughts, beliefs, inner visions and experiences are activities of my own nerves, I become a better human being and a Yogi. There is cease fire, at least within me.
Posted by: Bharat Bhushan | August 25, 2010 at 10:16 AM
Did you read about this?
Posted by: Nobody | August 25, 2010 at 11:26 AM
I surmise thqat spirituality should be kept hidden.
Comment 1)For the spiritual folks I know it would be impossible for them to hide. Perhaps author never really met a spiritual person?
Comment 2) Would it be desirable to never see the spiritual side of another human being besides your own?
Comment 3)As far as his point there is zero evidence backing any religion.
Has the author not read the history? Does he need the actual historical evidence to re-enacted in his life for this to be counted as true?
In order to make this statement he has to be willing to cast over and say the history is not true. Remember there are those that say the moon landings never occured. Others that said the Holocaust never occured.
In one generation there were those who decided Jesus never rose from the grave. In the next generation some others concluded that Jesus never existed at all.
Much is written about his life AND miracles in secular history of the time. Oh yes and does this author fail to recognize/realize that all the worlds calendars are calibrated by his lifetime? eg today is the year 2010. 2010 years after life events of Jesus. For me I see ample evidence.
Posted by: Mark Wardell | August 25, 2010 at 03:58 PM
your comments are to Brian (the author of this blog), but i will add in my two cents...
"I surmise that spirituality should be kept hidden."
-- huh? what is that supposed to mean? seriously?
"For the spiritual folks I know it would be impossible for them to hide. Perhaps author never really met a spiritual person?"
-- what? are you serious? try studying this blog just a tad, before making such absurd statements.
"Would it be desirable to never see the spiritual side of another human being besides your own?"
-- what "spiritual side" are you talking about?
"As far as his [the suthor's] point there is zero evidence backing any religion. Has the author not read the history?"
-- what does history have to do with it? there is no evidence in religious history.
"Does he need the actual historical evidence"
-- there is no historical evidence.
"In order to make this statement he has to be willing to cast over and say the history is not true."
-- history is mere heresay... not truth nor evidence.
"there are those that say the moon landings never occured."
-- but how do you know?
"Others that said the Holocaust never occured."
-- wrong. that is not what they say. your claim is incorrect. the question is not about whether it occured, but about the actual number of deaths. so get your facts straight.
"In one generation there were those who decided Jesus never rose from the grave. In the next generation some others concluded that Jesus never existed at all."
-- he may not have. he may be a fabrication composed of other pre-existing myths.
"Much is written about his life AND miracles in secular history of the time."
-- that is mere heresay.
"Oh yes and does this author fail to recognize/realize that all the worlds calendars are calibrated by his lifetime?"
-- so what? that proves nothing. there are also calendars in other cultures that are different. a calendar proves nothing.
"For me I see ample evidence."
-- then you are not very rigorous intellectually. so go back to your religion.
Posted by: tAo | August 25, 2010 at 08:26 PM
LOL....."so go back to your religion."
---tAo, I gotta luv ya.......you know how skin a cat...
Posted by: Roger | August 26, 2010 at 11:21 AM
There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim, so whose path shall I follow? Guru Nanak
Posted by: Dogribb | August 27, 2010 at 09:38 AM