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Switch to Forum Live View Secular Spirituality
8 years ago  ::  Jun 03, 2010 - 11:02AM #1
Posts: 443

I heard this term somewhere, but I think it describes, more and more, my own feelings about (what I hope would be) the future of religion and spiritual expression.


By "secular spirituality" I mean meditation/prayer/comtemplation/communing with "god/gods/the all" on a personal, one on one or familial basis......not going to church or embracing religious doctrine.  It's becoming more and more clear that organized religion is either crumbling (in some cases) or resulting in crazed fanatics out of touch with reality (in others.)  Emphasizing personal spiritual exploration instead of blindly adhering to antiquated religious dogma would void both of the extremes, and result (I believe) in a more organic, meaningful, and reality-based spiritual life.

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 12, 2010 - 4:37AM #2
Posts: 3

ChrisSuperstar -

Interesting title for your post. You'll notice it reflects what I thoughtfully chose as my screen name when I first joined BeliefNet back in 2000, shortly after it came into existence.

I agree with your definition of secular spirituality. I had considered myself a strong atheist for over 30 years, ever since I was a teenager and first started thinking about these things. I never felt any need for organized religion or its associated dogma, and still don’t to this day.

In late 1999, I experienced what can only be described as a "spiritual awakening."  Not due to any particular crisis in my life, it just happened. As it turned out, it happened just before a very crucial time in my life, when some major life choices had to be made. In retrospect, I truly believe it was planned all along (from before birth) as a key event in my life path.

The experience was very intense, lasted many weeks, was extremely personalized and was undeniably real. Naturally, it turned my "non-belief" system upside-down. I had to re-evaluate my entire life and, more importantly, my future.

Despite my rational, logical, skeptical view on life, four things became very apparent to me as a result of this experience: 1) We each have a spiritual energy component ("Soul") that exists for eternity (or at least a very long time) outside of this physical life on Earth. 2) There are multi-dimensional aspects to this universe, and our spiritual energy transitions to another dimension ("Home") when we die. 3) There are "Higher Powers" in the universe that monitor and influence our free-will actions while we are incarnated in our physical bodies on Earth. And 4) I have previously lived other lives in other bodies, with essentially the same basic personality traits.

After 10 years, I am now comfortable with this new aspect of my life. I am here to experience and learn things that I have not managed to learn previously. I don't subscribe to any particular rituals or dogmatic religious beliefs, but I now have a better understanding of those who do. I use meditation as a means of exploring and strengthening this spiritual side of myself.

We each have an internal spiritual component. Whether one decides to accept or deny this is purely an individual choice. It really doesn't matter in the end. Many who want to accept it and are not comfortable figuring out their spirituality for themselves turn to organized religion to "explain" things for them. Or, they may just turn to the religious dogma of their upbringing out of habit.

Bottom line is there are many opinions and beliefs, but no one REALLY knows what happens when we die. Although there is no “final judgment,” it is still important that we live our lives striving for the greater good, as that is always our overarching goal. That is truly our purpose here.

Most religions merely provide a moral compass for believers to follow, with a generous amount of dogma to justify why these actions are necessary. However, my personal experience has convinced me that we all continue to exist after death and will all return to the same place...Home...irrespective of any religious dogma or individual beliefs.


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8 years ago  ::  Jun 12, 2010 - 9:01AM #3
Posts: 443

That sounds very reasonable to me.  Oddly enough, but I am much more convinced that there's life after death, then for the existence of God(s).  I think there's  now enough evidence to support the idea that our souls do exist after we die, and there's been some amazing work done on reincarnation that suggests, to me, that it's a reality.  I've also experienced what some people call "after death communications" after loved ones have passed away, so I don't think you just die and are gone.  When it comes to God(s) though I am less convinced; clearly, ghosts/life after death are a universal phenomonon, but every culture/religion has vastly different ideas about the Divine, and with the world being the way it is I don't find it easy to believe that there's anyone "out there" looking out for us.  I wouldn't call myself an atheist, but I think if there is any kind of Divine power, it's probably not a personal one.

I am growing less and less happy with religion.  I grew up an odd mix of Presbyterian and Catholic, but left those as a young adult and explored more alternative paths.  I've recently come to realize that even more out-there religions like Wicca can be just as dogmatic and fundamentalist as any other, so I'm sort of backing away from that.  I do attend a Unitarian Universalist Church, which I LOVE and which lacks any sort of dogma so there's never any conflict there.  Besides that, I get most of my spiritual/religious fill from personal reflection and private ritual.

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8 years ago  ::  Jul 18, 2010 - 5:52PM #4
Posts: 29

Hi All,

My name is mouseytalons, I consider myself pagan.  Please let me explain why (before you judge my choice of label).  I was raised with a bizarre mix of Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, and assorted other "christian" religions.  It really depended who brought us to "church" as to which religion we were going to.  As I got to about 10, I accidentally (through, what I thought was "a child's game") discovered that "magic" and "the spirit world" are REAL.  I did the "bloody mary game" with my sister and 2 cousins, I saw "mary" in the mirror (me alone).  Shortly there after, I started experiencing odd things happening in my "world", things like sensing spirits that were near, and being able to discern whether they were safe or unsafe.  Things like this have continued even through today.  When I was pregnant with my (now 21 year old) daughter, I had some strange occourances happen to me, that my 1st husband witnessed the physical changes in me, and asked "what happened?" .  I saw a large (door height) male figure appear in my bedroom door while my (then husband) was in the bathroom taking a shower.  Later that month, when I went on full bed rest, a hot breakfast, coffee and all was prepared and served up for me, then, when my soaps came on, an "old lady" scent and figure sat beside me on the couch, and comforted me all day while my (then husband) was at work.  These are just a few of the "odd" experiences in my life that made me believe that there are gods and spirits that are around us everywhere.

Today I still practice in "secret" as I have since I was about 10.  I have felt I have had to be secretive about my spirituality since my mother makes it hard for me to be honest with her about my beliefs.  I did finally tell her I was pagan about 2 weeks ago to avoid a fight with her.  I still got told that my beliefs may be different as  long as they are "christian", they are not.  When we found out my step-dad has cancer, and that he has about 1 year, I offered to pray that death comes quickly and painlessly.  She said "we don't use that (death) word around here, then she said only if you pray to the "christian" god.  I still pray for him, but refuse to do healing prayers or spells, as I do not have his permission.  Am I wrong??

I believe secular spirituality is an awesome way to look at spirituality through the purest, un-mucked by religious retoric. 

Way to go!  Blessings! :)

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