I spent a long time using the term ‘spirituality’ as a way of saying that I wasn’t religious, but I still believed in the possibility of weirdness.
Now, that weirdness could take many forms, and I’m not sure that believing in the possibility of anything, whilst simultaneously doubting the likelihood of any of it, counts as spirituality.
But if it does, then I’m still into it.
But I’ll still read the Tao Te Ching to try and centre myself. I’ll still intermittently rant about Buddhism. I’ll still tell stories about Brahma, with a delicious fervour.
And I still believe in music.
In theory, spirit is that thing just beyond matter that cannot be explained. This obviously makes it tricky to explain. It also makes it fun to try, but you’ll end up sounding like a prick no matter how you go about it.
It is however, very useful to have a term for the indefinable. If I think of my self as a construct of electrons firing in neurons, interpreting stimulus and responding to it impulsively and chemically, then I’m probably being more accurate than if I start talking about ‘me’. But ‘me’ does indeed seem to be here. I can feel it. It ties my moments to each other. It makes me feel. Not like my nerve endings feel, but like I actually feel. The thing that is doing the feeling that I can’t get rid of. That I can’t comprehend the universe without.
That’s my spirit.
Now if you extend that to everything else. Every other being and entitity, and if you’re feeling particularly committed, every other object. Has a thing in it that gives it its sense of being. This definitely sounds like hippydom, but I think it’s a kinder way to understand the universe. To think of there being entities in the universe other than the self. Anything that denies the spirit of everything else is just selfish.
So if you really want to get in contact with it, I recommend two things.
Firstly, find some loud and good quality music, stand loosely within it, and close your eyes. Feel carefully for the way you might get set on fire by it. Focus on the feelings in your body, and the things that seem to exist just outside of it.
Now step out into the world. It’s easier in the more natural places, a forest or a sea, perhaps. And try and remember that feeling. And try and imagine that you’re feeling it from the perspective of something else. Something other than you.
I think, once you’re doing that, you’re engaged in spirituality.
Spirituality is about recognising that despite all our differences, the things in the world have something in common. Science knows we’re all built of the same building blocks. Experience shows the appearance of something beyond simple building blocks.
Even if its an illusion, it’s a something; and it’s how we live. The perspective we have.
So live in it.