Take a manifesto (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
Add a few reflections on religion (1, 2, 3, 4).
And throw in an stab at mapping the ley-lines of my soul (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
Where does all that leave me? Still at the trail-head, seemingly.
A few things are clear:
- I am capable of living my life on two distinct levels, mentally speaking.
- The first level is the default. It is material, rational, practical, and unsatisfying.
- The second is characterized by a shift – in priorities, perspective, worldview, and even overall mood. It is marked by a sense of expansiveness; a desire for, or feeling of, transcendance; and a changed perception of the significance of humans and human action. It is satisfying and restorative.
- It is beneficial, for the sake of my own health and happiness, and that of others around me, to live more of my life on that second level.
- I do not know if there is a God or Goddess or Gods or any other metaphysical reality behind observable reality.
- Nonetheless I find the vocabulary of religion and spirituality the best suited for talking about the second level of life-experience. So for lack of any better term, I will call this the spiritual life.
- Furthermore, I find that the use of religious terminology and symbology is uniquely conducive to experiencing life on the spiritual level. So I will continue to use it, despite my lack of any spiritual sureties.
- My spiritual side has certain consistent traits:
- A sense of calling; of having a special purpose in the world, and the potential to fulfill that purpose.
- A profound love, approaching the level of worship, of humanity and particularly an ideal of humanity, the great potential that every human being has. In keeping with the religious vocabulary, I will call this the divine in humanity.
- An affinity for transcendence; the desire to rise up,figuratively or even literally, from the muck that confuses us, obscures us from each other, separates us, and drags us down; and to carry others up with me.
- A sense of romanticism and heroism. The idea that life can be beautiful, and that it is virtous to live it so. The desire for happy endings
- A sense of living in a broken world, torn apart by rifts which should not be.
- A desire to be absolutely transparent and bare; to experience the total relaxation of the mind that accompanies a perfectly open existence.
- A sense of the devaluation of material things, and the valuation of intangibles.
- The perception of unseen links between human beings, and the desire to strengthen those bonds and grow closer.
- A freeing feeling of wanting to cast off all false decorum and fear-based inaction, and to simply live intentionally – doing exactly what seems to need doing, saying what needs to be said, so long as it brings joy.
- A desire to give honor where it is due.
- The desire to celebrate the beauty that is in the world and in ourselves.
- The ability, sometimes, to communicate others my belief in them, in humanity, and in the divine ideal, in a way which causes them to believe as well, at least for a time.
- I find, also, that there are a number of practices, experiences, and values which can be conducive to entering, and remaining, on the spiritual level:
- Service to others.
- Dance and music.
- Formally honoring myself and others.
- Time spent out-of-doors.
- Rituals of various kinds.
- Esthetics; including clothing and the areas in which I work and live.
- Being reminded of my spiritual side by others.
- Physical affection and sex.
- Focusing on inspiring heroes and archetypes.
- Identifying with a hero or deity.
- Helping others to believe in themselves.
Next: What now?
/me wonders how many southern baptist tenets he could break at once…
Um…how ’bout LUNCH?
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