A naturalistic spirituality?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by DT Strain, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

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    Hello everyone :)

    Having been a member of this board for a few years now, I think Spiritual Naturalism is something we could discuss here, and also news in which some of the members here may be interested. Apologies to those who aren't...

    The Spiritual Naturalist Society is a new non-profit organization and community that has launched just this week. It's mission is to help naturalists live better lives by spreading awareness of spiritual wisdom and practices that are consistent with a modern naturalist (non-supernatural) worldview. Our articles and member materials are informed by a number of writers, professors, and others from a wide range of traditions, including Buddhism, Humanism, Paganism, Christian Naturalism, Stoicism, and more.

    If you're interested in learning more, please visit:
    www.SpiritualNaturalistSociety.org

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    What are your thoughts on a purely naturalistic spiritual practice?
     
  2. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    What makes naturalistic spiritual practice different from positive psychology?
     
  3. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

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    Hi Ahanu!

    While positive psychology, like many sciences, can certainly provide much useful information on good living practices, it is just one source of wisdom. More importantly, it is highly clinical and not as useful for the practitioner as more poetic, artistic, metaphorical, intuitive, and sacred manners of framing and ritual provide.

    Best wishes :)
    -Daniel
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hi DT —
    If 'non-supernatural', how do you define spirituality? Will you be using spiritual advice from those who do hold a 'supernatural' world view? Native American wisdom, for example?

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  5. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    Isn't "naturalisitc spiritual practice" an oxymoron?

    i.e., how can something be naturalistic (non-supernatural) and yet spiritual? The definition of spiritual generally refers to the spirit/soul/incorporeal. Naturalistic (non-supernatural) would therefore be non-spirit/soul.
     
  6. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

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    Thanks for your posts Thomas and IowaGuy :)

    For many, the word ‘spirituality’ has an association with the supernatural. However, we mean the term in its more general and original sense. The Latin root word spiritus meant ‘wind’ or ‘breath’, or the essence of something. As we might speak of the ‘spirit of the law’ or ‘school spirit’, the spiritual is that which is concerned with the essence of life – or the essential things in life. Thus, a person with no sense of spirituality would be a person that lives on the surface, always dealing only with the shallow or the mundane; perhaps even a materialistic person. But to have spirituality is to be concerned with the larger, deeper, and essential matters of life and to apply ourselves consciously toward them in a committed practice or ‘walk’. This includes, as Socrates put it, the ‘examined life’, and this is what we mean by spirituality.

    So, spirituality is about focusing on the 'essential things'. For those with beliefs in supernatural entities, lives, and salvation these things are, to them, the essential things. For naturalists, the essential things (the 'spirit of life') is about learning wisdom, ancient and modern, concerned with living a good flourishing life. It also includes engaging in practices designed to cultivate habits, character, and qualities which deeply imbed that wisdom beyond mere intellectual assent, and make transformation to greater enlightenment possible.
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hi DT Strain —
    Nice explanation ... makes sense to me.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  8. Paladin

    Paladin Purchased Bewilderment

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    Nicely articulated DT :)
     
  9. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    While I have nothing against Spiritual Naturalism or its adherents, this practice holds no interest for those of us on the Left Hand Path.
     
  10. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

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    Etu,

    Interesting. Left Hand Path means slightly different subtle things to different people. Can you tell me what aspects of LHP you're referring to and how they conflict with this model? Thanks :)
     
  11. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    DT,

    I would gladly explain myself, thank you for the opportunity.
    The LHP in the modern western understanding, seeks to separate from the objective universe (a.k.a. physical universe, God, Nature, what abides by the Laws of Physics), whereas the RHP's seek to atone with this.

    For the most part, the LHP is misinterpreted as something Evil, of which it is not (good & evil are intents and belong to individual pursuits).

    I'm trying not to go any deeper into the philosophy out of respect to the Original Topic.

    RHP = THY WILL BE DONE
    LHP = MY WILL BE DONE
     
  12. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    Just to clarify, you're not interested in "learning wisdom, ancient and modern, concerned with living a good flourishing life" and "engaging in practices designed to cultivate habits, character, and qualities which deeply imbed that wisdom beyond mere intellectual assent, and make transformation to greater enlightenment possible" ???

    LHP = my will be done = not interested in good flourishing life & greater enlightenment?
     
  13. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    You assume this doesn't happen on a Left Hand Path, and you are mistaken.
     
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hi Etu Malku —
    That poses a number of questions, if I may:
    LHP seeks to separate what from the objective universe?
    Are you not proposing a 'subjective universe'?

    Is this not a dualist solution?

    Just trying to understand,

    Thomas
     
  15. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    I'll probably just confuse you more (and myself!) but here goes . . .

    The separation of consciousness from the objective universe, into the subjective universe (which is trans-personal). There is a school of thought that the object universe is what everyone interprets as God, it certainly is the natural ordering of all things known in the universe, and those on the Western LHP seek to step outside this whenever possible in order to get a glimpse of their true, inner self, their Creative Higher Self.

    Dualism for us occurred when our singular/monad True Self reflected upon itself, it then created dualism in order to know itself, from there it spiraled down into a material form which we are now.

    I'll stop here for now for any comments
     
  16. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    aka Liberation from Samsara. :p
     
  17. DT Strain

    DT Strain Spiritual Naturalist

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    This all sounds interesting, but I'm still not understanding how it relates to seeking and practicing wisdom in order to have more flourishing lives. Thanks :)
     
  18. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    Simply, it relates because it is the pursuit of the True Self and not the objective self which is what one will only find when approaching from a natural/material/objective stance.

    Do you feel as though only naturalists live better lives?
     
  19. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hi Etu Malku —
    I think there's two things going on here —

    I think the first is it appears to me that you've reversed the definitions of 'subjective' and 'objective' as they are understood philosophically, theologically and metaphysically?

    The 'objective self' is the reality of the Self in all its modes and degrees of being, whereas the 'subjective self' is the ego concept of the autonomous and self-important 'me' which does not see itself as a particular ephemeral and subsistent instance of Selfhood.

    The second is that you also seem to be conflating the 'subjective self' and the 'transpersonal self'?

    The difference between self and Self is fundamental, but many make the mistake of putting the individual above the universal.

    The Transpersonal Self' is not me, and 'i' cannot manifest it, anymore than any one person can manifest the totality of human nature — the transpersonal talks of a universal, and not even an infinite number of beings would suffice to manifest it in its entirety.

    The 'transpersonal' element, it seems to me, usually refers to the personal psychism and potentiality of the individual, rather than the universal or transpersonal which, by its very nature, is beyond the world of forms ... ?

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  20. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    I believe you are referring to objective & subjective reality, which is not what I am talking about.

    The objective universe (OU) is all that abides by the laws of physics, the natural universe, the material/physical universe. This is what is understood by many as the divine, god, nature, etc.

    The subjective universe (SU) is every and anything else, such as our imagination, psyche, everything that does not follow the laws of physics.

    We use the OU to assign meaning to our SU, in order to operate in the OU one need not do anything, for this is the realm of automation, things follow laws and principles that define the OU.

    On the other hand, in order to operate in the SU, one must deliberately step outside of the OU and become a Creator. We all do this, but most of us are unconscious of it.
     

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