Spirituality – Your Mileage May Vary

I’m winding down in my reading of Kent Nerburn’s “Neither Wolf Nor Dog” which has been one damn uncomfortable read.  Its really challenged my perceptions of racism, as well as provided me with an opportunity to view my own personal beliefs from angles I had never perceived of.  Its also challenged my perception of what “spirituality” really is.

Just a few weeks ago, if I had been pressed for a description, I would have offered up the term Spirituality as a means of connecting to the Gods through worship and prayer.  I would be describing Spirituality in terms of religious belief, bringing it into a discussion as a subset of human reactions and experiences.  For the sake of explanation, I would be describing Spirituality as something one does in a specified setting at a specified time for a specified purpose.  But that’s not really Spirituality.  That’s ceremony and ritual.  Something I would describe as a process of attaining a specified state of mind, which would allow for one specific way to address an aspect of Spirituality.  Its so much more than that.

Its so much more than that.  Spirituality isn’t about finding one’s footing in Life in a religious setting.  That’s one way, in my opinion, to go about addressing one’s Spirituality.  But Spirituality is, again in my opinion, about opening up to the unique moments and experiences that Life provides to you, as a singular individual.

In all honesty, its difficult to completely explain.  Even now, as I am writing this, I can feel the concept slipping past my fingers – skittering just on the outside of my ability to explain with a vocabulary.  I know the feeling of my own personal Spirituality.  I can feel it sitting in a field, looking out over the wavy grasses before and hearing the buzzing of the nearby insects.  I hear it in the moving waters of streams.  I can even feel it sitting in my car in a traffic jam on the highway.  And yet, its something I can’t put into words in a manner that completely suffices as an explanation.

While its difficult to intellectualize my concept and perception of Spirituality…I can tell you what its not.  Its not something that has me worried about how others perceive me.  I don’t practice my Spirituality so that I look “good” or “right” in the eyes of others – I practice what I believe because it is what is right in my own heart.  When I sit outside in my backyard and talk to the younger trees that I planted earlier this year – I am practicing what is my own Spirituality…by being a caring person for the plants that I have under my care.  That’s important to me – and while my neighbors may think I’ve cracked up because I talk to plants, their perception doesn’t bother me.  It doesn’t matter to me.  Because I know what’s in my own heart.

There will be people who disagree with whatever definition I put out here for Spirituality.  There will be those that will argue concepts, terms, definitions, and meanings.  Bully for them.  I’m not here to argue or debate.  I’m willing to discuss, provided that you realize you know no more than I do…no matter how time you have on this Path or how many years you have been in this incarnation.  I understand these terms as they relate to me…your own mileage may vary…

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2 thoughts on “Spirituality – Your Mileage May Vary

  1. Which takes me back to a statement I made in my most recent blog post. Something along the lines of, I have learned that some things just can’t be proven to others. Some things you have to experience first hand for yourself. I also mentioned the movie Contact and I really enjoyed the interplay between the world of religion and the world of science. Sagan was such a genius and his legacy lives on in so many ways. But anyway, there at the end, in the court room, here is this scientist who had this experience that only she had with no evidence “in her possession” to back up her story. What she experienced could be described as both spiritual and scientific in it’s own way but she had no way of proving it to anyone else.

    Just as you said, we have no need to prove to anyone else that our spirituality is “right” or “legitimate” in the eyes of others. What matters is that it is right for us as individuals on our own paths. Others may walk our paths with us but no one can walk it for us.

    1. I’d actually forgotten about that scene in Contact. Thanks for mentioning that.

      Yeah, I see so many posts littered throughout the internet from both Pagans and Christians discounting the experiences of others because it doesn’t properly fit their paradigm. These folks also openly rail against adherents from other belief systems doing the same thing to them…and they change their focus from one focusing on their own experiences to that of denigrating others. Not only do they step off the Path of their own Spirituality – no longer focusing on what was necessary for them, they also change their focus to one of attack and many times vulgarity. Instead of being positive and building what is necessary for themselves…they attempt to destroy and harm others. And then those being attacked move towards being defensive about their own Spiritual Path and attack in return…and it spirals into a cauldron of hate and derision…with everyone focusing on something that distracts them from what they should be doing – following their own Awen…

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