Beanery Online Literary Magazine

June 3, 2008

PERTAINING TO THE SPIRIT

—written by Joe F. Stierheim

Webster’s dictionary defines spirituality as pertaining to the spirit. The definition of spirit is the inspiring principle or dominant influence. Both of these terms are heard in our society primarily in the context of religion and always in relation to humanity. But what, actually, is spirituality?

I was brought up to believe that spirituality was a state that one achieved by strict adherence to religious practices. I believe this is a view held by many if not most people in our society. For me, religion and spirituality were inseparable. One could be religious without being spiritual but one could never achieve spirituality except through religion.

I have come to question that concept. My experience with organized religion has brought me to have the opinion that the primary purpose of organized religion is the continuation and expansion of the organization. In pursuit of that end, the concept of the closeness with God that I had thought to be the essence of spirituality has been lost. Indeed, at times even God had become lost. What, then, is closeness to God; what and where is spirituality?

An interesting concept comes from Native American culture. To this culture, everything is sacred. All is part of the same thing, part of the whole. Creation is not something that occurred eons ago – it is something that is still happening all around us and within us. The Creator is part of everything and a part of each one of us. In this belief, spirituality is not reserved for an exterior God but is part of their attitude toward all things. This concept exists in many earth-based religions.

Recently I attended a lecture by a person trained in Hawaiian shamanism. He was also a physicist that had had a successful career as a research physicist. In the lecture he touched upon many of the concepts that are part of shamanism and connected them to discoveries that have been made in quantum physics. A few of these discoveries are the influence of the observer on an experiment, seeming communication between and among sub-atomic particles, and the nature and extent of intelligence in the universe. It is becoming increasingly possible, he pointed out, to establish a scientific basis for many occurrences in the world that were previously thought to be fantasy.  Could this physicist be correct? Could it happen that eventually it will be established that there is a correlation between science and shamanism?

I can imagine that the answer of some people to that question would be that such a concept is the work of the devil. For such a person that would be the end of the matter. There is no argument against such belief. Suppose, however, there was such a connection. What changes would that make in our concept of spirituality? If we were to accept that everything is sacred and that everything, including ourselves, contains or is a part of God, would that change our society for the worse? I hardly think so. If anything, it would cause us to be more careful and respectful in our approach to each other and our environment in general – flora, fauna, the earth itself. Such an attitude could be the basis for rectifying the many ills that dominate our world such as war, famine, pollution, etc. We could have a better world.

None of these results would be against the basic teachings of any of the major religions of the world. It very well could have a detrimental result on religion itself, however. Religion would no longer be a necessary vehicle to God. Thus the power of religion to control people would be diminished, creating a major problem for a great many people. It might cause difficulties with our economy as well. There could be serious repercussions in such areas as the defense industry, the drug industry, banking, runaway development, merchandising, consumerism and others.

I have faith, though. Sooner or later someone will figure out how to make money on the concept. 

Thank you for visiting the Beanery Online Literary Magazine. We welcome your comments on this and any other writings they have posted.

For additional reading, click on the posts below:
LOVER BUBBLE

HAIR UNAWARE

THE RING

REFOCUSED

GLIMPSES THROUGH THE CLOUDS OF TIME

KILLED STRANGELY: A NEW ENGLAND MURDER STORY

RUSS’S ASSIGNMENT: WRITE CAROLYN’S EULOGY Lent Devotion

A REVIEW OF RESPONSES TO CAMPBELL’S BEST BUY LAWSUIT: Part 1

A REVIEW OF RESPONSES TO CAMPBELL’S BEST BUY LAWSUIT: Part 2

OBITUARY FOR BLUE BUOY (A Blue Lobster)

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4 Comments »

  1. Hi

    I am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim. I respect your religion and your views about spirit/soul and spirituality.
    The PromisedMessiah 1835-1908 has explained the subject; though it might be somewhat different from yours; but sometimes one understands by making a comparison with a different view and new vistas of understanding open up before one. May be you like it.
    Your may access the following link:
    http://www.alislam.org/library/books/Philosophy-of-Teachings-of-Islam.pdf
    Please read the first quetion answered there “The Physical, Moral and spiritual States of Man”.

    You are also welcome to visit my blogsite if you could do it convenienty for comments on the posts/pages there or for a peacful discussion.

    Thanks

    Comment by paarsurrey — June 3, 2008 @ 3:28 am | Reply

  2. thanks for your post…cool insight.
    I was told once
    “Religion is for people afraid of going to hell and Spirituality is for those of us who have already been there.”

    Comment by bchboy1 — June 3, 2008 @ 2:17 pm | Reply

  3. Hi beanerywriters!

    Thanks for visiting my blogsite yesterday. Did you read/view some of the posts/pages there? Would you like to exchange your views with me? Maybe we both benefit from it.

    Thanks

    I am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim

    Comment by paarsurrey — June 30, 2008 @ 9:44 am | Reply

  4. I did not realize how magnificent beanerywriters.wordpress.com was until a good pal made me aware of it

    folks with screwy thoughts think like this:
    Really?

    Comment by work at home income529 — July 14, 2010 @ 10:53 pm | Reply


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