I definitively state, proclaim, and enthusiastically announce that my-self is really another way of referring to my-spirit. My Self’s doppelganger is My Spirit <—> My Spirit’s poltergeist is My Self. I consider them to be equivalent and of the same substance. Period! I now include Self = Spirit in my naturalistic worldview. In the sense that my-self and my-spirit are the same thing and of the same substance, I consider that I am indeed a very spiritual person. Please stay with my reasoning on this. Do you understand that when I say I am a spiritual person I am trying to experience, to be aware of, learn about, try understand, and attempt to comprehend as much about myself, my inner world, my life, and the world around me as I can? Spirituality for me has become a process aimed at deeply knowing myself in a world of nature and in a world with other people. Thus, for me spirit and spirituality are naturalistic concepts, not supernatural concepts. Period!
I have ascertained that the concept of spirituality is frequently associated with the word awakening. John Selby said there exists a need for “awakening the primal spiritual truths of human existence.” (2003) I postulate that a noteworthy part of my/our journey is an awakening of ourselves to our life. I adamantly portend that spirituality is a critical part of our journey’s awakening ourselves-to-ourselves. An awakening that can reset and anew a path towards self-evolutionary changes. A spirituality that is awakening surely is an evolutionary process that is inspirational and aspirational. Buddhism advocates that we become like the Buddha; the “awakened one.” Alcoholics Anonymous recommends and stresses its members have a spiritual awakening. I associate this breath of life awakening as an inner dynamic energetic spiritual awakening to human nature, our collective inheritance, and our personal inheritance. To view spirituality from an awakening perspective becomes a matter of what we really about, who we really am, what our true intentions really are, and relates to one’s authentic Self. Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio announced spirituality as “an organizing scheme behind a life that is well-balanced, well-tempered, and well-intended.” (2006) In later posts, I explain how well-balance and supra-balance have a significant presence in the Theory of Balanceology.
I have discerned that a variety of definitions for spirituality (spirit) give significance to the physics and biology of breath, wind, and life. I insist that the breath of life inside of us is a spiritual principle. Poetically, metaphorically, and in actuality the spirituality of us surely pertains to and involves the breatheable part of us that sustains our life. I go on and assert that the concept of spirituality is nature-made, is innate, and is physically and biologically based. Full-stop! Roberts maintains that humans are a “physical-spiritual unity.” (1981) I propose that nature’s energy is connected to spiritual breath (wind) and together sustain life. Spirituality is about us, our life, our breath, our energy, our very essence. A hero of mine Pierre Teilhard de Chardin announced, “we are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” (1955) I so agree with Soren Kierkegaard when he stated that, “Man is spirit. But what is spirit? Spirit is the self. But what is the self?” (1849) For me, this quote suggests that Kierkegaard is indicating that in knowing more about oneself, we are knowing more about our spirit. Fernandez-Armesto stated that, “the conviction that the Self is in some sense spiritual is remarkably resilient – considering how strange it seems by the cannons of common sense. There is no test for spirit; but the sense of it is too strong and widespread to be dismissed.” (2004)
I started off my journey with major goal of repealing-and-replacing a childhood supernatural worldview and to come to a better understanding of myself. As my journey unfolded, I was finally able to put my childhood worldview to sleep. In my journey I also strived to initiate a path to better know myself. It came a time when I attempted to present my understanding of the concept of spirituality and how it plays into my new naturalistic worldview and my self-understanding. In posts to come, I will indicate how spirituality is embedded within our essential being. I will propose that spirituality is involved with our search for higher nature-based meaning and truths. I first point out that spirituality contains the root word spirit. Some derivatives of the word spirit include: 1.) from the Latin spiro that can mean ‘breathe,’ 2.) from the Greek the word for spiritual is psyche which literally means to breathe (also to blow and to live), 3.) from the Hebrew the word for spirit is ruach with some wind and breath connotations, and 4.) from Sanskrit we have the word atman (meaning breath, or real self). According to Ralph Waldo Emerson, “spirit primarily means wind,” (in Ericson ed. 2003).
Gulley and Mulholland refer to a “theology of separation.” (2004) We live in a very dualistic world of boundaries, borders, ultra-competition, ethnocentrism, and ethnosolipsism. I ask, “What will it take for established religions to accept a Theology of Balance?” In my mind a balance-based theology is one of syncretism, consilience, and synthesis. It is a theology of connection, belonging, and inclusiveness. I postulate that a balance-based theology is a “theology of inclusion,” (Pearson, 2010) open to all people, and encourages people to express their views and ideas. A theology of balance must advance beyond the historicity of a dualistic double-edge sword exhihited by the major religions. That is, most religions can exhibit great kindness to fellow believers, but often manifest great cruelty to those who have different beliefs. A balanced-based religion is open to all people, and will treat all human beings the same.
A balance-based theology is open to gnostic experiential knowing and doesn’t fear questions. A balance-based theology encourages a healthy skepticism and is open to objective scientific based knowledge. Such a theology will admit that up to this time in history there is zero scientific exculpatory evidence of a supernatural being (God). Huberman stated, “the religion that is afraid of science dishonors God and commits suicide.”(2007) A theology of balance accepts theological evolution and understands that as we know more about Nature, and human nature religions should and must change with that new knowledge. Authoritarian dogma means little. Doctrines are man-made ideas and these ideas must change as we learn and experience more of human existence. Thomas Hobbes argued in Leviathan that ethics must be freed from authority. According to Elaine Pagel, “the purpose of accepting authority is to learn to outgrow it. When one becomes mature, no longer needs any external authority.”
Theology of Separation is a wants-based theology. A wants-based theology has human interaction with an ultimate source in an endless petitionary role. I want –> I petition; I am in trouble –> I pray; I desire –> I seed faith money. A wants-based theology is a dependent theology based on a patriarchal ultimate source. A wants-based theology is not open to questions related to its dogmas and doctrines —> in fact it fears such questions. How does one move from a theology of separation to a theology of balance? That is, a wants-based theology to a needs-based theology? What was most important for Confucius, Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed is not so much what you believe, as much as how you behave. Bjorklund felt that, “the issue with someone who is outwardly religious and yet strongly focused spiritually elsewhere may often be described as hypocrisy. What a person says he believes, and what is revealed by the person’s behavior about his or her belief do not come together.” (1983) However, I view a Theology of Balance as one that encourages people to behave according to true intentions. A Theology of Balance is supportive of a journey where we deeply experience our sexuality, love, morality, emotions, and consciousness. As our experiences become deeper it may allow us to have some experience with truths and higher Truth that we all are seeking.
Manichaeism is to Zorastrianism, as Gnosticism is to Orthodox Christianity. Orthodox Christian views have greatly hampered our ability to realize the intuitive/experiential knowledge that can help guide us. How different Western/Persian history might have turned out if the Gnostic/Manichanean world views were permitted to grow and flourish. Instead of obtaining inner knowledge gained through experience, we have 2,000 years of externally dictated patriarchal dogma and doctrine. Manes was the founder of Persian Manichaeism (3rd Cent AD). From Manichaeism comes the intuitive word mani, or light inside. Manichaeism combined some of the Gnostic views with some of the traditional views of Zoroastrianism. However, some of the more syncretic views that Manichaeism adopted would come to collide with the more divisive worldview of Zoroaster. The same kind of trouble the syncretic Gnostics encountered with Orthodox Christianity, the syncretic Manicheans would encounter with Zoroastrians. Carl Gustav Jung was just fascinated by the Gnostic worldview. For Jung, the Gnostic intuitive process correlated with his view of a collective unconscious.