Thursday, August 8, 2019


     Many, perhaps most people are detail- or specifics-oriented. Their comfort zone is in dealing with widely-agreed-upon factual details, specific, familiar places & situations, immediate, tangible, material concerns. They're not comfortable engaging with general principles, broad concepts, & 30,000ft overviews. Particularly foreign, disorienting, even threatening are spirituality, mysticism, wisdom, etc.
     This is in sharp contrast to a small group of folks with a rare (<1%, "Advocate") personality type, whose real passion is getting to the very heart of issues, ideally to help prevent serious problems. These folks may have a facility for & interest in focusing less on individual trees, and more on the basic principles of forestry, in order to prevent catastrophic forest fires.

     Each of us is pretty well stuck with one personality type. Nevertheless, it's becoming terrifyingly obvious to most that human behavior is rapidly destroying the earth. Arguably, this is because most modern humans are ignoring spirituality:
     “our modern worldly values (desire for fame, money, etc.) acquire their compulsiveness from a misdirected spiritual drive.” 
        David R. Loy. “Lack & Transcendence. The Problem of Death and Life in Psychotherapy, Existentialism, and Buddhism.” Wisdom Publications, 2018. 

     So an innate aversion to spirituality does not eliminate our spiritual drive, but may actually ramp it up in a distorted manner. That's why so many of us are addictively "looking for [depth of meaning, community & fulfillment] in all the wrong places": electronic devices, alcohol, food, shopping, drugs, gambling, work, porn, etc, etc).

     But what exactly is spirituality?

     "Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it is a universal human experience — something that touches us all. People may describe a spiritual experience as sacred or transcendent or simply a deep sense of aliveness and interconnectedness.
     Some may find that their spiritual life is intricately linked to their association with a church, temple, mosque, or synagogue. Others may pray or find comfort in a personal relationship with God or a higher power. Still others seek meaning through their connections to nature or art. Like your sense of purpose, your personal definition of spirituality may change throughout your life, adapting to your own experiences and relationships."

     "Spirituality addresses qualities of the human spirit that include love, compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, a sense of responsibility, which brings happiness to self and others. It as well includes a basic concern for the well-being of others. And it has an emphasis on contemplative practices cultivating ethics, stability, and prosocial mental qualities." Dalai Lama 

     “Politics and spirituality are the two sides of the same coin. Politics is the driving force visible to the outside; spirituality is the internal force driving the consciousness to open up to the world and conjoin it. Politics bared of spiritual awareness always leads to violence and the abuse of power. Spirituality without political engagement resembles an escape from the world.” Gundula Schatz

     "Spirituality is about getting out of the conceptual realm of spiritual fantasy and theology. It’s a deep exploration of the direct experience of being. It’s not an attempt to escape the direct experience of being, which is often what’s happening." Adyashanti

     “Religion is for people who're afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those who've already been there.” Vine Deloria Jr.

     In the following, "soul" IMHO is used very much like "spirituality":
     “I don’t use soul in a religious sense but rather the way psychologists Carl Jung and James Hillman and the Romantic poets like Keats, Wordsworth, and Blake use it: to speak of the experience of depth in our lives. Soul invites the marginal, the excluded, and the unwelcome pieces of ourselves into our attention. Soul is often found at the edges, both in the culture and in our lives. Soul takes us down into the places of our shared humanity, such as sorrow and longing, suffering and death. Soul requires that we be authentic, revealing what lies behind the image we try to show the world, including our flaws and peculiarities. Soul doesn’t care at all about perfection or getting it right. It cares about participation. Soul is revealed in dreams and images, in our most intimate conversations, and in our desire to live a life of meaning and purpose.” Francis Weller 
Morning breaks on Eagle Lake

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