Writers who walk a spiritual path often take for granted the reader understands the basic concepts and terminology of modern, universal spirituality. In fact many people may not be versed in these “basics”, and this article will attempt to define some foundation parameters for the curious and uninitiated.
Universal spirituality is the term I use to transcend specific religious doctrines and organized creeds. In particular, this concept is applied to spiritual pursuits that go above and beyond the teachings of accepted churches and dogmas; the following content will help anchor those who are new to modern spiritual discussions.
First of all, the reader should understand that few things in the spiritual arena, besides personal discovery, are actually new. The “New Age” is a term often used to describe literature and philosophy that reject traditional theism (one-god faiths like Christianity) and promote broad spiritual practices; but the ideology herein is quite old.
This “New Age” technically originated in the late 19th century, along with freethinking and other movements of thought. It’s very interesting to note this emergence is consistent with ancient prophecies about a global spiritual awakening; see native lore from North and South Americas as well as other cultures for evidence of this. However the belief and practice encompassed in these “new” movements are actually thousands of years old.
Universal spirituality leaves plenty of room for individual interpretation and experience. While organized faith finds this outrageous, the fact is every human being is well-equipped to experience the subtle cosmic energies and need not obey arbitrary religious laws to do so; in fact it’s evident that many religious rules and ceremonies are designed specifically to limit the practitioner’s access to these empowering experiences.
The core fundamental of modern spiritual thought is the idea of oneness rather than separation. Whether or not an individual believes in one or more god figures is irrelevant. All things in the cosmos are bound, or connected, at the most fundamental level; this ancient concept is supported by cutting-edge physics, wherein we find that all phenomenon in the known universe emerge from one field of infinite energy, and all things are connected through this field of energy at the subatomic level.
Simply put, the energy waves that form the atoms from which we are all made are entangled with and connected to the energy of all other people, objects, energies, and life forms in the universe. Hence the spiritual claim that we are all one is indeed very accurate.
After oneness, the next primary tenant of universal spirituality is the idea of cosmic intelligence. The Universe is conscious, and an intelligent force drives all functions from the formation of stars to the combustions and reactions within our cells and systems. While some people and organizations use deities and gods to personify aspects of life, it is not necessary to attach names and egos to the cosmic consciousness.
The anthropomorphizing, or transforming into human likeness, of natural forces is an old practice. For example many ancient religions created a sun god, moon goddess, and so forth; this molding of the universe into personal figures demonstrates humanity’s need to control their understanding of the world around them.
But the fact is, intelligence need not only come in the form of humanoid bodies and verbal thought patterns. Our digestive systems demonstrate intelligence, but this does not mean your stomach is named Bob and relays verbal commands your small intestines, Linda. The need to fold and button the cosmic force that drives all things into a form that reflects our own faces is a limitation.
This brings us to the third main principle of universal spirituality, which is the guiding light of intuition. Our intellect may not be sufficient to grasp the most profound spiritual concepts, but through intuitive understanding we can experience a knowingness that transcends thought.
By this same token, our ego-mind is not the ruling portion of our minds. Our ego, or identity, is only one part of what we are. In essence human beings are non-localized consciousness having the experience of mind and body.
Place this notion into context by considering the following statement: When you experience what we call death, your body leaves the spirit, and not the other way around. Give that a few moments to sink in.
Here is a condensed review of these ideas:
All phenomenon that are part of what we refer to as life, or the universe, are connected at the fundamental level. There is only one reality from which the image of many events and circumstances manifests.
A vast intelligence underlies this one reality. This creative consciousness drives the motion of heavenly bodies, the migratory instincts of birds, the life force of ants, and the emotional complexities of human beings.
We are more than our thought patterns and our sense of identity. We are expressions of cosmic consciousness observing the transitory experience of having a body, a name, etc.
These three basic concepts can be even more easily summarized as follows:
All things are part of one great mind or spirit. The spiritual journey is about feeling our connection to this source and its many manifestations, and transcending the mundane experience by knowing our true nature.
From this foundation many additional lessons and experiences can be encountered. Individuality is an important part of true spirituality, as is the paradoxical nature of reality.
I hope this article has been useful for the curious seeker. Bear in mind that other writers may well interpret spirituality in a different manner; however I believe the previous content resonates well with the core themes of most informal spiritual teaching.
To answer the question “what is spirituality
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