Do you have a spiritual life? If so what is it?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by earllogjam, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. earllogjam

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    I believe that whether or not a person participates in an organized religion he/she can have a spiritual life. I'm wondering if most people have a spiritual side of themselves that they would like to share.
     
  2. D_Gunther Snotpole

    D_Gunther Snotpole Account Disabled

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    What is a 'spiritual life'?
    What does 'spiritual' mean anyway, Mr. Logjam?
    Just to get our premises aligned.
     
  3. crescendo69

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    If I said "yes" then I wouldn't be spiritual anymore.:biggrin1:

    I've had numerous acquaintances who strove to be spiritual, but it seemed a game to me, where one tried to up the other. The more spiritual I tried to be, the less I felt. Almost any moral, ethical, or spiritual code I tried to adopt was found to be more "holey" than holy.

    Just being happy with my own existence is almost all I can handle. I seem to reach higher states when sharing my gifts with others, especially music. As I have lost much of my musical employment lately, my spirituality seems to be tested. I suppose not letting adverse situations get one down is the mark of a spiritual man, where ones faith must sustain oneself. So maybe I will come out stronger for this.

    But generally, I am pretty frivolous.
     
  4. unabear09

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    I would definately consider myself to be highly spiritual. I was raised Presbytarian, Southern Baptist, and Church of Christ. At about the age of 11, I realized that church and religion in general were a farce. I started hanging out (when I could) with my cousin-in-law, who at the time was heavily involved in the Southwestern Native American religion (or practice/belief system). She turned me on to studying different belief systems, which led me to do many years of research and study on my own (and I still am studying and researching).

    I've studied religions from all parts of the world. I've studied Buddism, Hinduism, Judism, Islam, Paganism, and many other belief systems. Basically I've stitched together my own belief system.

    I fundamentally believe that all religions are essentually the same. The parables are all similar, the message is similiar...its all up to interpretation of the 'believer.' I tend to be highly cynical of the Christian/Catholic church. The original text (the Bible) has been bastardized and politicized over the centuries by whomever was in charge at the time of translation. I do believe that there is one God, one Creator, but that he/she answers to many different names, and assumes many different shapes.

    The entity I call God is omnipotant, all loving, all forgiving, and is not vengeful, jealous, or wrathful. I have a problem with the 'Church' saying, in the same breath, that 'God is all knowing, all loving and all forgiving, yet he is a jealous God, who's wrath should be feared. If their god is all loving, all knowing and all forgiving...a positive driving force on this plain of existance, then why does he possess the most petty of human traits? How can a positive be a negative at the same time? I believe the 'church,' over the years, has used the Bible to control the masses through fear of spending an eternity in a so called 'Hell.'

    I believe that we are all sent here to this planet to learn...to feel...to further the development of our souls. However, I don't believe we 'souls' can learn all there is to learn in one lifetime. I believe the vast majority of us experience many different lifetimes. I think we reincarnate as different people, of different sexes, with different sets of challenges and learning experiences in every lifetime. We continue to reincarnate (with periods of rest on the 'other side' between different lifetimes) until we attain all the knowledge and experience our souls are meant to attain. After we reach this level, our souls move on to other things...other journeys, other destinations. What those journeys and destinations are....I don't know, and I don't guess I will until I leave this lifetime, whenever that may be.

    On occasion, I practice Magik (Wicca has been incorporated into my spiritual belief system). I believe many of its tenents and philosophies to be true, and like the Jews, Christians/Catholics, and Muslims, there are different cerimonies and 'practices' (an example being taking the Lord's supper) that transpire, and I personally find them to be empowering and often highly effective. I also pray on a regular basis, meditate, and practice yoga. All of these practices and beliefs are often the only things I can cling to when times are rough. But every struggle is an opportunity to learn and grow...to become a better being.
     
  5. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    You've just described the B'hai and Universalist faiths really well. You'll find a lot of like-minded people in both.
     
  6. earllogjam

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    By "spiritual life" I mean a belief system or practice that connects you to a higher power or life beyond your earthly existence. Something that gives you meaning and a moral bearing for the course of your life here on earth.

    "Spiritual" in this thread shall mean anything which is not tangible or material that pertains to your soul.
     
  7. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Interesting.

    On Wednesday I had just finished with Don and was enjoying an iced tea from Starbucks before getting on the subway. I was midway through it when I got a sudden sense of urgency and my inner monologue was interrupted by another inner monologue which said, "If you want to make the next subway, you have to go NOW." I sucked down the last of the iced tea and went right down into the subway and just as I began descending the platform stairs, the train pulled-up to the platform. Now mind you that I was seeing Don at an irregular time on an irregular day and the F train had been having signal problems all day. I was not familiar with the train schedule at that point nor could I be because of its delays all through the day.

    I made it on to the train, it lumbered through its stops at an appallingly slow speed, and then I made it to Hoboken with just enough time to pee and get on the train home.

    I'm getting these kinds of things more frequently the more I meditate and explore the concept of centeredness and attempt to live by it. My imagination is alarmingly overactive. I'm a contemporary Walter Mitty who loves to walk down Fifth Avenue listening to Moby's Lift Me Up and imagining the crowds of people suddenly ascending into the air and watching their reactions. Or I'll listen to The Connell's '74-'75 and try to divine the hidden lives of the masses I see, wondering just who these people are behind their public personas. Maybe I should have been a video director.

    Either way, it's events like that subway thing or when I was in London and suddenly thought of a friend I hadn't seen in years only to turn the corner and see him walking right toward me. There is something else out there which I cannot explain yet I'm so paranoid of devoting myself to any dogma for fear of boxing in myself intellectually, that I have yet to discover how or where these premonitions come from. The more I meditate though, and the more I do what those premonitions advise, the more I get them and the more accurate they become. I attribute this more to a mystical component than necessarily a spiritual one. My fascination with Japanese gardens goes back 30 years because when I visit them, my head shifts gears into a mystical mode that tries to read the language of the garden. The Japanese do precisely the same thing. There are places all over Japan, many very remote and none necessarily have anything in common, which are surrounded by ropes or torii because these places seem to be inhabited by kami. It's a type of transcendentalism at work here and one I respond to with natural readiness without any logical reason as to why.

    Mystical places and synchronicitous events like these become stronger the more I allow myself to live as who I am. I find my affect too is flatter, much to the chagrin of many people who don't like that I don't become as emotionally excited about what they believe I should. It's not that I don't have strong emotions, I do. It's just that they take longer to develop and aren't as transient; as if what I do become emotional about is only that which I need to feel emotional. I find myself more ready to disagree with others, less need to impress or please others. I also find myself more ready to forgive the transgressions of others... to a point. Much of that I attribute to an increase in awareness that everyone has their own hidden lives filled with what we do not see.

    I try to be honest, compassionate, understanding, and sensitive to the world around me and not just the human world either. Attempting to be as aware as possible all the time is very difficult and, at first, I thought it would rob me of the security of fantasy only now I find fantasies not so comforting as they used to be.

    Sorry to ramble on like this. What I'm dealing with is a puzzle of many pieces and I've lost the box top so I don't know what the finished image is supposed to be. I have to improvise, pulling together pieces and hope to make some sense of it. This is what I've got so far.
     
  8. Calboner

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    I'm content with wine and beer. Spirits are really not my thing.

    Talk of "spirituality" has always struck me as a lot of New-Agey cant favored by people who can't accept the discipline of a real religion -- which they sophistically call "organized religion" -- but relish the woolly-mindedness and superstition that religion commonly brings with it.

    And to quote Johannes Brahms: If there's anyone here whom I have not offended, I apologize.
     
  9. earllogjam

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    I think meditation sharpens your ability to trust and listen to yourself without the chatter of the outside world making decisions for you. I've found it to be helpful to see things as they really are. I don't think anyone has the picture of the finished puzzle, Jase. It's probably more like a blank canvas that you paint with teachings from other more enlightened people - some paint will work better that others.

    I'm a big fan of non-verbal spirituality. It's amazing how music and sharing your gifts can nurture your spirit.

    Thanks for sharing, that's been quite a journey for you.

    I think most people in America have no spiritual life or if they do it is not outwardly expressed as it's a pretty personal thing.

    That term "New Agey" is a misnomer. Most of these alternate religions like Zen or Hinduism, Yoga, Native American belief systems have been around longer than Christianity.
     
  10. earllogjam

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    At some point in your life you begin to question "Is this all there is?" - I think that happened to me at 27, an existential crisis as you will. You then begin trying to find something that makes your existence and the world make sense.

    Some belief or practice that makes you feel whole and complete. It's a personal journey I think most thinking people take.
     
  11. Calboner

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    It's not a misnomer at all. Certainly the religions from which New-Age types extract a bit of this and a bit of that have traditions dating back hundreds or thousands of years. But Americans who treat those religions as "belief systems" from which to take the bits that appeal to them do not actually belong to those religions. They are like tourists bringing back bits of kitsch from Mexico, or like shoppers in a mall who buy a bit from this boutique and a bit from that one. Then they dignify their vapid consumerism with the name of "spirituality."
     
  12. D_CountdeGrandePinja

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    Yes, could not begin each day without some quiet time connecting with the Spirit within. Try it - you may enjoy the time.
     
  13. bigbull29

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    Eastern Orthodoxy/Catholicism, Buddhism, Reiki
     
  14. Countryguy63

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    Spirituality is something that I have struggled with since I accepted myself being bi.I was raised very strict within the Church of Christ. Both sides of my family worship there and included are Deacons and Elders. I used to pray every morning and night and ask God to take away these feelings. Of course, it never happened.

    I want to believe, but that means that I have to pick and choose what I believe, which makes me hypocritical.
     
  15. lonelywolf

    lonelywolf New Member

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    Sorry for my poor English but I hope that you are understand my point.

    I live in catholic country and like most of the people here I go to church and believe in God.
    We don’t chose many things which we receive from fate. This is our “cross” which we must carry through our life. Cross is different for anyone of us: sexuality, diseases, life problems, what we look, where we live etc.
    Christ don’t told us: Be str8 or you will go to hell. He told us (and is common in all religions): believe in God, be good as a person, be honest, don’t hurt other people, find love and peace in your life. Try to be happy.
    I also believe that part of heaven or hell is here on earth. It’s a state of our minds, not a place.
     
  16. jason_els

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    Reminds me of a Catholic priest I knew, Peter Midori (the guy who was on WABC Sunday mornings) who was lamenting what he called, "Cafeteria Catholicism," in a homily at our school. He was surprisingly sympathetic however saying that he had struggled with certain articles of faith in the church and still did. What bothered him was that many people seemed to stop trying to believe the bits they had discarded. Faith, he pointed out, was a struggle in some ways as much as it was a security in others. What mattered, he said, was devotion and trust in the church to be right even if some articles of faith seemed unbelievable or just plain wrong. It was important to keep trying to believe and even if you never truly did, the desire to believe would create greater grace in faith as time went on.

    I was impressed by that homily but, not being Catholic, I also heard it as an outsider. Compared to my nominally Unitarian upbringing, I found it naive and counterintuitive. I could not believe that masturbation, condoms, abortion, or a host of other things were sinful because they seemed to me to be of no consequence to God.

    I still wonder, why not take the best parts of various religions, the parts that truly speak to you, and make use of them? I'm not talking about practicing Buddhism as Edina Monsoon did, with a flit, a few mumbles, and the ring of a bell, but actually taking truths where you find them and integrating them into your life. If it makes you a better person, then why not? I find it hard to believe that any single religion is perfect for everyone as all of us are different. Nearly all of those who seem to buy entirely into a religion appear to me to be prisoners of faith who have surrendered all reason for a dogma. Now I have known many Catholics like that, some bitterly resentful that the church prevents them from doing what is they want. I have also known a handful of Catholics who are liberated by their faith in a way that allows them to be, frankly, serenely humble and self-aware in a way I can only dream of. People like that are far and few between in pretty much any sect I've encountered. Not all faiths fit all people to some degree or even any, yet some people cannot let go of what they were raised with or they feel duty bound to follow. I feel bad for these people as some of them become bitter while some become downright dangerous.

    Except those who feel so trapped that they're unable to admit they're even having a crisis [raises hand]. I think that's the appeal of fundamentalist anything. Rather than try to work it all out on your own, it's much easier to be handed a catechism (of any faith) and just believe in it. You'll be with like-minded people who make your choice feel secure and you'll be told the world's out to get you, thus unifying the flock and solidifying your faith by cause of opposition. Some people are so lacking in internal strength of character, that they desperately need cults to justify themselves and to promise them acceptance.

    I have a severe case of monkey mind. Just getting quietude of mind is a challenge for me at this point. It's funny. I was talking to Don about this very thing last week, the same day as the F train premonition. I was admonishing myself for using my dog to help bring me back during meditation. I meditate lying down with my torso propped-up with pillows and Tweeter always lies right next to me. As my mind wanders I just reach out and pet him a little to bring me back to mindfulness of the present. Don laughed and said Gautama did the same thing by touching the ground so if I used my dog to do so, then I was in good company.

    Seeing things as they really are is difficult as I find it so frightening. I fear emptiness without meaning, I fear love is merely a transitory chemical brain process, I fear that everything is dust in the wind, I fear I hurt those I love, I fear I don't express myself appropriately, I fear what cancer will do to me, I fear death, and I fear I won't have time to overcome these fears. Staying present is, for me, to sup with demons. Even now, when they put in the chemo needles, I have to remind myself that all things are temporary and I need to listen to my iPod track of chanting gyuto monks. My brain so desperately wants to think of something else that I still need fucking xanax to get through it lest I get panic attacks. I'm far from where I want to be.

    You know what though? I have faith in my teachers. At the right time, life has given me the strength of others who have been generous enough to share their wisdom with me. I'm not always grateful as I should be nor do I always listen to what they tell me nor do I always behave appropriately with them. As much as I try to accept my imperfections, I wish they didn't impact others yet still, my teachers allow me the grace of their kindness and for that I am truly thankful. So don't get too pensive. I'm certain your existential crisis has helped more than one person change their lives for the better.

    How so? Does ordering chicken with chinese vegetables and asking them to hold the bok choy make you a hypocrite? There are a staggering number of Christian denominations out in the world with a large variety of dogmas. I'd be surprised if you couldn't find one with a little research. If you're called to a faith then you'll know it when you find it. It's useless trying to cram a round peg into a square hole. I think that God wants you to love yourself and if a denomination or even a different faith brings you that peace and love, then that's what's meant for you. The Golden Rule doesn't just apply to everyone else. Sometimes we have to look into the mirror and realize that half the rule is loving ourselves.
     
  17. Pendlum

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    No, I don't have a spiritual life.

    In fact it can be a pet peeve of mine, depending on the person/situation/believes/whatever. I think it is because I don't think I've actually met a truly spiritual person. And if I have, I can't recognize it. Which is how I think it should be. The concept seems way to personal to me to take someone who talks about this and that about their spirituality seriously, it comes off so fake to me. Oh here let me impart this good energy on you oh here blah blah blah blah.
     
  18. cdarro

    cdarro New Member

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    No, no spiritual life whatsoever. A waste of time and effort in my opinion.
     
  19. D_Tyrone_Tittickler

    D_Tyrone_Tittickler New Member

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    Cal, I call them Cafeteria Christians! Just noticed the post, What Jason said!
     
  20. B_Hung Jon

    B_Hung Jon New Member

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    Dzi&#281;kuj&#281; wam za szczer&#261; odpowied&#378;. Mam &#347;wiadomo&#347;&#263; tego, co wam powiedzie&#263; o pa&#324;stwa religii pochodzi z serce wasze. Wydaje mi &#380;e was zrozumie&#263; przes&#322;anie Jezusa bardzo dobrze. Wszystkie ka&#380;dy z nas mo&#380;e rzeczywi&#347;cie nie jest do przestrzegania naszego w&#322;asnego sumienia i by&#263; prawdziwe dla siebie. :smile:
     
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