The last few weeks have been an existential stew/spew.
Here’s the thing: for most of my life I have not had a soul – I’m an atheist. Not having a soul and having lived a life with a concept of spirituality that was hard wired so to impulsively think “soul” and just tune out, I haven’t been engaging the world as effectively as a someone who is in balance with the universe and those within it. Obviously….
I don’t believe in prayer. Seemed kind of unnecessary to do something pointless. It would be to me I guess, but it isn’t to the person doing it. I say this not because those who pray tell me it isn’t pointless, I say it because I believe their prayer serve to cultivate something that is very important in peoples lives. It’s something that has been missing from my life for a very long time.
I have found a need for a spiritual piece in my life. I have lived an extremely good life, with a great family, great friends, great girl friends, a life with more privilege than 98% of the worlds population yet I don’t feel that way subjectively. My life has been series of temporary experiences most neutral, some great and some bad. But in general waking-up each day is both a blessing and a drag.
But it isn’t always that way. There have been times of extended bliss, when I exist in a child state with the brain of an adult; when I would play, shameless and with out fighting anything. I was okay and the world was okay. During these times I didn’t actually realize what it was that I was feeling, it just felt right and I floated along knowing what I had to do next, starting it with a smile and a sense of excited anticipation. Thinking about it now, those moments / periods were the times in my life when I was cultivating my spirituality in that my thoughts, feelings, movements and purpose were aligned and I was moving forward with pure intention.
For a long time I have blurred the lines between religion and spirituality. To foster a sense of each, one need only do the same things – align their thoughts, feelings, movements and purpose and move forward with pure intention. Praying is similar to mediation, particularly when you know the prayers verbatim and trance out while saying them. In each case, the attention is highly focused on something and this will have a very similar impact on brain waves. Going to a church retreat is very similar to going to any social event that has a theme – a Star Trek convention is not a religious experience in the traditional sense, but it has a lot of the characteristics and the same group-think mentality. Both events serve to create a union between many people and allow for the shameless existence for all participants.
I have always been a spiritual person but I have actively worked against this aspect of my nature because I am an atheist. It has become clear that I do not enjoy a lingering sense of peace due to my lack of attention to fostering a sustainable ME. A strong spirit will continue for a while even without active cultivation. But it needs to grow first, and before that, it needs to be encouraged and allowed to take root.
Spirituality then is about my relationship with the universe. Relative to the rest of the universe, I’m moving really quickly away from everything. Relative to what is on the earth, there is a very dynamic interaction of everything. The essence of my life, of my spirit, is mostly here on earth. Most of what I actually interact with is contained within my body. Most of the nurturing needs to be spend on aligning my thoughts, feelings, movements with my purpose.
When I gave-up the notion that I had a soul I died because that washed away most of the objectiveness about spirituality. This prevented me from seeing the benefit that altering my thoughts, feelings and movements will have on creating a unified ME that has the power to continue to exist even when I am not thinking about it.