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What is the essence of spirituality?

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message 1: by Scott (new)

Scott Hayden (scottinbangkok) What do you all think of this idea from Parker J. Palmer?

“Spirituality is not primarily about values and ethics, not about exhortations to do right or live well. The spiritual traditions are primarily about reality...an effort to penetrate the illusions of the external world and to name its underlying truth.”

(from a speech in March 1990)


message 2: by Douglas (new)

Douglas Boter (dementedhumor) | 20 comments “Spirituality is not primarily about values and ethics, not about exhortations to do right."- I would agree with that. As far as- "penetrating the illusions of the external world", I would would say that's a waste of time. It's a bit like going to the movies and continually reminding yourself that it's just a movie. In fact, I think it can be somewhat counter-productive to spend too much time trying to see through the veil of reality. I believe it to be much more constructive to intentionally create reality within this grand illusion.







Living life loving.


message 3: by Scott (new)

Scott Hayden (scottinbangkok) Thanks for that. If I get your gist then, you do agree that we live within an illusion. Is that right?


message 4: by Douglas (new)

Douglas Boter (dementedhumor) | 20 comments I was being a bit poetic. I believe we live in a reality but not the reality. Another way to say it is that we live in an illusion but not the illusion. I believe we are part of the infinite which is divine, but I think what often happens is that spiritual people spend too much time trying to shed themselves of their unique expression of divinity to become one with the universe. It's liken to your toe saying over and over again that it's your body. Trying to be the body will not allow it to best serve as a toe. Yes, it is part of the body but it is not your body. Yes, we are part of something much bigger than we can comprehend, but our illusion is as real as any other expression of divinity and our personal expression of it just as important.

Often this is done by people who, because of their own judgment can't see their own divinity. "Judge not lest ye be judged"- wasn't about some old man in the sky throwing lightning bolts down on you if you judged someone. It was saying that if you judge others as unworthy, you will judge yourself as unworthy and we are always more harsh on ourselves. When you free yourself from judgement, you can see the divine all around. The ultimate illusion is that we are not divine and therefore must view this all as an illusion, like there has to be something greater than this.

Don't take my word for it though. All answers are found within. My book is about finding your inner guru. In my next book, I'm going to make that more clear.


message 5: by Scott (new)

Scott Hayden (scottinbangkok) "Yes, we are part of something much bigger than we can comprehend, but our illusion is as real as any other expression of divinity."

I agree that we are part of something much bigger. I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at with the next statement: "our illusion is as real as any other expression of divinity."

Does this harken to the parable of the blind men and the elephant?


message 6: by Douglas (last edited Jun 07, 2013 08:15PM) (new)

Douglas Boter (dementedhumor) | 20 comments I don't know that one. It's like saying that an anthill isn't real because they're a bunch of insignificant little creatures. There may be a reality we can see that is greater than their's, but the illusion that they're experiencing is just as real and divine as any other.

Would it behoove an ant to see far beyond his anthill? Perhaps excelling as an ant might better serve the divinity within him than trying to see past the illusion of his anthill.

We already are one with the universe. Trying to lose ourselves in scource, only muffles our divinity.


message 7: by Scott (new)

Scott Hayden (scottinbangkok) ok, I think your view is becoming clearer now. It seems you would differ with the Buddhist ideal of enlightenment as realizing there is no such thing as self. Would that be a fair contrast?

On another note, would you agree that it is important to know at least something about the greater reality for this reason: Even if you're just a toe on the body, it gives direction to life to know if that's the body of an ant or a superhero that you're attached to.


message 8: by Douglas (new)

Douglas Boter (dementedhumor) | 20 comments I veered from Buddhism a while ago, but I really like their see-for-yourself philosophy, and I did.

I do find value in seeing the bigger picture. Part of freeing yourself from judgement allows you to see oneness of all I that is. I just feel too many people try to lose themselves in that because it's the only way they feel worthy. We are divine. We don't have to try to be.


message 9: by Scott (last edited Jun 08, 2013 01:38AM) (new)

Scott Hayden (scottinbangkok) "We are divine." That's very appealing, but how did you come to that conclusion? Or to borrow your phrase above, what did you "see-for-yourself" that led you to believe we are all divine?


message 10: by Douglas (new)

Douglas Boter (dementedhumor) | 20 comments I believe God (insert your name for the divine here- energy, source etc.) to be infinite. This means that it doesn't end with you or me. Whether we happen to be in harmony with our divinity is another matter. Freeing myself of the judgement of others allowed me to see the perfection in them which allowed me to see it in myself as well. Seeing the perfection in everything, you can't help but see divinity in everything.

I know it sounds more practical than mystical, but that is how my divinity expresses itself. I am practical. "I am that, I am".


message 11: by Douglas (new)

Douglas Boter (dementedhumor) | 20 comments P.S. I searched for the mystical experience for a long time before realizing it was not me. Sometimes our preconceived notions get in the way of our spiritual growth.


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