What is 'spirituality'?
My brain isn’t working super good today, but I’m determined to write this.
The world’s idea of spirituality
- people wearing impractical clothing
- closing your eyes
- sitting in a special posture
Spiritual-but-not-religious people’s idea of spirituality
- non-corporeal entities
- New age
- psychic abilities
- vibrational frequencies
- not having boundaries
Many of these things are real1 phenomena, though most of them unproven or even unprovable for reasons that are off-topic. I might call all of them ‘fringe science’ in honor of the TV show ‘Fringe’. Some of them may be quite fascinating, but all are ultimately irrelevant to my spirituality.
My idea of spirituality
- the undoing of the ego (false self); being your true self.
Let’s talk a bit about the ego. If you’re new to this then the most obvious protrusion of the ego into your awareness, is your thoughts, and since you identify with your thoughts, the “the ego” is synonymous with “you”. So when we talk about undoing the ego, we’re talking about undoing what you think of as yourself.
This idea may seem strange or even uncomfortable or scary. But despite what your thoughts might tell you, awareness is independent of thought, and there is a ‘real you’ without the ego, and the ego, which isn’t even real, is the ‘cause’ of the nightmare you happily call your life2 because you don’t know any better. But there is better. Much, much better.
Nevertheless, the process may be perceived as dying, and is often described as such. The first time you ‘die’ in this way is a novel experience. After a few times, it just becomes normal, and eventually it becomes the entire goal of your life to ‘die’ and to stay ‘dead’. The original me is quite consistently dead now, yet a new me keeps being generated, and must find its way to death. The rate at which new mes are ‘born’ and ‘die’ is ever increasing. Eventually, one day, no new ‘me’ will be reborn at all.
Once you’re on the “okay let’s undo the ego” train, it’s a question of how. The ego is a slippery fish. To the casual observer, it would seem impossible.
There are many thought systems that recognise the undoing of the ego (or at least the part of the ego that they see) as necessary and have effective methods of doing so. Some of them have more complete pictures of the entire process than others. The ones I’ve identified so far are:
- A Course In Miracles3
- The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
- Loving What Is by Byron Katie
- Radical Honesty by Brad Blanton
Loving What Is and Radical Honesty don’t even really talk about spirituality, yet they have some noticeably similar processes to ones that are explicitly spiritual.
Anyone who tries to do these practices will encounter resistance at some point, because the ‘you’ that is trying to do the practice, is what is being undone.
If you’re new to it, it’s going in what seems like the opposite direction than you’ve been used to. Someone on the path might say with a grin of delight “this phrase from A Course In Miracles really cuts me down to size”. The attrition of the ego, which would previously have been perceived as a threat, is instead welcomed as a healing salve.
For a thorough, mind bending, totally disillusioning introduction to my spirituality, I recommend Gary Renard’s The Disappearance of the Universe.
I’m aware I’ve vastly, absurdly simplified the explanation of the ego and its undoing. But maybe that’s okay.
Also seems mmmm sort of hashed together, and missing important things. Like, if undoing the ego is a purely psychological process, then where does all metaphysics come from? Maybe that can be in another post.
It also jumps in too quickly talking about the ego. Needs to be put in more familiar terms. More stages of explanation.
My idea of spirituality can’t be explained in a bullet point because context needs to come first. Need to back track a long way, to earlier in my path, to when I was a more conventional scientist, and then chart the path from there to here, or at least from there to following the footprints of the bull. Speak to that self. Or maybe that’s another blog post.