What it means to be a spiritual person?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Kenneth, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. Kenneth

    Kenneth New Member

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    Philosophy was derived from the Greek word “philosophia” which means "love of wisdom". Since then people have coined the name "philosophy" to express views on the wisdom of various aspects of human living like politics, religious views, etc.

    But the word "spirituality" is much much higher. Philosophy is subjective. Spirituality is beyond Ego or personal views. It is not a subject of just mankind. It encompasses the whole of life - man, women, our soul, animals, the earth, the sun, the planets and all other things that we are yet to know and the numerous ways in which each interact with the other, controlled by that Vast wholeness or GOD.

    So, what it means to be a spiritual person? I would like to get views on the subject before I give my views.
     
  2. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    Hello Kenneth,

    It has been my experience that after spending years in pursuit of spiritual goals, meditating, praying, contemplation, and general seeking one will become completely ordinary.
    If you think about it, the universe is exactly what it is, and when we begin a spiritual journey there is always something to get and something to leave behind.
    Perhaps spirituality then if done correctly should bring you back to the place you started from.
    I believe a poem by TS Eliot addresses this experience.

    An old Zen story also illustrates this,

    Once there was an old hermit who by all accounts was a very holy person. During his prayers and meditations birds would alight on his arms and shoulders to be near such holiness.
    One day the old hermit attained enlightenment, and the birds never returned.
     
  3. greymare

    greymare New Member

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    very deep Pal........ nice.

    I dont know what its like to be a spiritual person. I try to be a good person etc, and appreciate nature and God. I think its either a simple thing that a complicated person like me cannot fathom ...... or is a very complicated thing that someone as simple as myself could only try to attain.

    Love the Grey
     
  4. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Maybe Eliot appreciated Wittgenstein...

    "The place I really have to get to is a place I must already be at now."

    s.
     
  5. luecy7

    luecy7 New Member

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    What does it mean to be a non-spiritual person?
     
  6. Taoist

    Taoist New Member

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    I wouldn't say spirituality is beyond opinion. Everything is subjective to some point. Immanuel Kant has written much about reasoning.
    There is a good story that tells of Buddha leading several blind men to an elephant. Buddha then asked which each blind man thought was in front of him.
    One grabs the ear and remarks: "This is a leather apron! This must be the home of an honourable butcher who feeds many people! A great man he must be; we should revere him!"
    Another grasps the elephant's trunk and exclaims: "No, this is the root of a great tree that must have been here since the dawn of time! We should all praise this ancient tree of much wisdom!"
    Another feels the elephant's leg and cries: "No this is pillar of what must be an astounding temple! Such strength it has! It must support a giant shrine which we must worship!"
    And so on...
    Only the Buddha who cares not for what he wants to see or what he doesn't want to see actually realises that it is nothing more than a simple elephant!!
    The story goes something like that anyway i can't remember it exactly.
     
  7. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    Is that even possible? :eek:
     
  8. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    This is my experience as well, Mark.

    I would define "spirituality" simply as that which edifies the spirit. In that sense I find Paul's words about dwelling consciously on that which is lovely, true, and of good report, etc. quite profound. But the grit and gristle of life is also worthy of contemplation. I need to feel the pain, sorrow, sense of loss, and regret as well. Without that I have no sense of empathy or acceptance. I have to live in the middle of it all. The only way to stay high is to invent compensating mechanisms to block out the lows. I've tried that, but I found out that it fractures me, and leaves me dependent on artificial control mechanisms and an imaginary mythology of self.

    It's interesting how cultural programming is designed to foster a dualism of hedonistic consumption compensated for with guilt and a sense of a need for redemption. This supports an odd dynamic which blends the otherwise opposing forces of consumerism and moral control and sets up a rather schizophrenic, or bipolar set of behavior drivers which makes it ever so hard to get to a place of meaning and moderation. I struggled with this for the longest time, desiring both holiness and pleasure, and feeling like a ping pong ball being batted back and forth between the extremes. It took a long time to realize that the system is set up this way on purpose to create the essential guilt that drives demand for consumption on one end, and politics and religion on the compensating end.

    Chris
     
  9. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Tolle said something to the effect of, "If you are looking to the future for enlightenment, you'll never find it, it can only be found in the now"

    Our Seattle gal inquires as if it is possible to be non-spiritual?

    Which to me indicates that if you believe...you are a spiritual being.

    (hmmm does non belief make a being non spiritual?)

    or does belief really make all beings spiritual???

    Does this line of inquiry just tackle the age old unanswerable question?

    And does the line of inquiry change by contemplating what is a spiritual being vs. spiritual person?
     
  10. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    Sometimes I wonder if it is all just a story, or to be more exact billions of stories. And each story must have a complex and twisty plot with heroes and villains, success and failure, not to mention the love interest.
    Remember the eight worldly concerns taught in Buddhism? Pretty much an outline for a great novel.
    So we live out the story and if enlightenment wakes us up from our slumber we have only Puck's soliloquy for solace.
     
  11. luecy7

    luecy7 New Member

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    The word 'spiritual' looks ambiguous. Is it:

    1. Believing that there is a spirit.
    2. Seeing the activity of spirits.
    3. Believing a spirit.
    4. Interacting with a spirit (knowingly or not).
    5. Receiving from a spirit (knowingly or not).
    6. Being a spirit (knowingly or not).
    7. Worshipping in spirit (knowingly or not).
    8. Considering animals to have spirits.
    9. Considering objects to retain spirits.
    10. Considering an emotion or thought to be a spirit.
    11. Considering a behavior to be a spirit.
    12. Considering a path to be a spirit.
    ... etc ...

    Depending on the definition, I imagine it is possible to be non-spiritual. If it is every definition, I imagine not. That wouldn't stop someone from claiming to be non-spiritual.
     
  12. murugan

    murugan New Member

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    A person who conscientiously tries to live according to their highest spiritual values can be said as a spiritual person. It can also be said that spiritual means to seek truth and meaning for the life and to live your best according to the principles that you discover within you.

     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    From the traditional perspective, it depends what you mean by 'spiritual' — d'you mean the spirit of one's psyche, or the Spirit as in the Divine.

    From the POV of the Christian Tradition, the concept is somewhat overworked — what is Baptism? what is Eucharist? How can a Christian not be?

    A question arises when one assumes 'spiritual' to be 'experiential', especially in the Christian Tradition, when the works of the great mystics — Dionysius the pseudoAreopagite, The Cloud of Unknowing, Meister Eckhart, etc, speak against the whole idea of thinking in terms of 'spirituality' as a sought experience.

    It's worth noting the term itself did not come into common usage until the 17th century.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  14. The Undecided

    The Undecided New Member

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    Hi Kenneth,

    I would say that being spiritual is simply the pursuit of some form of spirituality, by which I mean trying to understand and employ moral and ethical values, often held together in some sort of religious structure.

    This pursuit usually brings the person round in a full circle back to where they were before they set off on there spiritual quest, but with a better understand of it and a knowledge that there is only the now that exists.

    When Zen Buddhists meditate on Emptiness, it is said that, they reach three levels of understanding:

    1: Form is Emptiness and Emptiness is Form.
    (All is one)

    2: There is no Form, There is no Emptiness.
    (An understanding beyond words)

    3: Form is Form and Emptiness is Emptiness.
    (The sky is blue, the grass is green)

    The point here being that, in their understanding, they come full circle back to the now and understand things to be as they are, without prejudice, bias or opinion. Then they can be one with the universe and just be. This, I think, is what being a spiritual person is all about, or at least it the goal that most spiritual people set for themselves. A way of stripping away all the distractions and deliberate attempts by advertisers and media to keep us unhappy with ourselves and wanting more.

    To be a spiritual person, I would say, is also an attempt to improve ones mind. It is a way of being that allows for self improvement from within.

    To be a non-spiritual person is simply a person that does not pursue a spiritual life. It is a conscious choice not to do this, just as it is a conscious choice to pursue this kind of life.

    It does not matter which route you take on your spiritual journey or what religion or philosophy you follow, because we each walk our own paths and we each have our own spirituality to find within ourselves, because this is the only place we can find it. We all have within us a spirituality waiting to be discovered, or as the Buddha said, we all have a Buddha nature, which we can see once we remove the self.

    TU:D
     
  15. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    Interesting distinction, but perhaps one is the demi-form of the other? I often hear people speak of having their "spirit renewed" from attending services. When I stand on the first tee box in the early morning, listening to the birds stirring, watching the sun rise in the sky, and reveling in the calm coolness, I feel my spirit renewed. I don't think that these things are much different.

    Chris
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Chris –
    I agree — I think this is the middle ground, or the 'human margin'.

    I think there is a purely natural human spirit, and a purely supernatural divine spirit, and a demi-form where the two meet and mingle, to a greater or lesser degree.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  17. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    A charitable person.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I hear ya... but don't need the tee box.

    All charitable people? Many an oger, has been charitable...

    What did Jesus say? Even the tax man loves his children (something to that effect)

    What you do to the least.... I think that more defines it.
     
  19. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    One doesn't have to be perfect to be a spiritual person. The story of the tanner of Alexandria is a good one.

    I don't know ... I know he called a taxman to be His disciple, and stayed in the house of a publican. Jesus doesn't judge by appearances.

    "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another." John 13:35.

    Cuts both ways tho ... doesn't define a spiritual person.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  20. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    So Andrew Carnegie....philanthropist, charitable as it gets....
    Spiritual is completely seperate from physical actions?
     

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