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What is Secular Spirituality?

Old 02-07-2011, 07:47 PM
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What is Secular Spirituality?

This term keeps cropping up and I am not sure I know what it means. Is it just the same old belief in an Abrahamic God separated from organized religion and dogma? Is it a less supernatural spirituality? More along the line of Kant's a priori knowledge. Is it just just more sloppy New Age thought that means whatever you want it to mean?
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:16 PM
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Hi Recycle. Hmm, good food for thought. I don't believe that humans have spirits, but I do think in terms of "spirituality" sometimes. For me it has to do with mood, emotion, passion, a greater sense of the humans around me, meditative thought, etc. Basically, if I had to divide myself into brain, spirit, and body, it would go like this: brain is in charge of rational thought/logic/intellect, spirit the part of the brain is in charge of the more humble brain functions, and body is the vessel & protector. So, basically, I know that my emotions, mood & fulfillment are also in my brain, but this is what is traditionally thought of as "spiritual." Just one secular take on it. I'm interested in hearing what others have to say.
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Old 02-08-2011, 04:31 PM
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Spirituality reflects the bit between self and society (or the world) that we don't comprehend. Not entirely out there, nor entirely in here. To me, this doesn't cheapen any of our longings, or any of our dreams.
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Old 02-08-2011, 05:06 PM
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Looks like an oxymoron to me.
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Old 02-08-2011, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Bamboozle View Post
Looks like an oxymoron to me.
Indeed, also a bit of


Originally Posted by Recycle
Is it just just more sloppy New Age thought that means whatever you want it to mean?
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:06 PM
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For me my "secular spirituality" means not being locked by the rigid constraints of dogmatic beliefs that most religions have, allowing me to freely pursue the meaning and purpose of my life and my place in the world.
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:54 AM
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I know what I would like ‘Secular Spirituality’ to mean: Secular as in non-ecclesiastical – not associated with a church or religion. And spirituality as the part of the human experience that is beyond the causally-closed realm of logic and science.

By coming up with my personal definition, I realize that I have fallen into my own trap and associated Secular Spirituality with New Age thought. (Or as I have recently seen it referred to as newage thought. ‘newage’ rhymes with sewage.) Obviously, I have some resentments here I have to let go of. For all the silliness of pyramid power, healing crystals, and chakra balancing underwear, some real inquisitiveness and acceptance has come out of the new age movement. I just need to get over myself – yet again. Sigh, my mood ring is all green and icky.
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Old 02-09-2011, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by AnthonyV
For me my "secular spirituality" means not being locked by the rigid constraints of dogmatic beliefs that most religions have, allowing me to freely pursue the meaning and purpose of my life and my place in the world.
I like that Anthony

I use the word "secular" as a qualifier so that I'm not confused with those that have supernatural beliefs. The Wiki definition of secular spirituality says it all for me.

If it causes confusion then: "Anyone who isn't confused really doesn't understand the situation."
- Edward R. Murrow
...LOL.
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:53 PM
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As A bystander with much intrest in the spiritual plane of things and how they affect other areras of our llives,as they are being played out day .by day,24 hours at a time! hOWEVERiT MAY BETNG PLAYED ON A DIFFERENT DEMENTION , THAT IS JUST BEYOND OUR CONCINNOUS!
How many outside things affect our performance? Fear,Unbelief> SelfishNESS. hatred to others.WNE DETERMINIATION TO COME OUT SOBER AND CLEAN!
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Old 02-10-2011, 12:17 AM
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Spirit comes from the Latin word, spiritus, meaning "breath". Breathing in life is the opposite of where my alcoholism and addiction took me--drowning in the bottle, drugs, and a sea full of turbulent and unhealthy emotions and thoughts. Alcoholism/addiction goes against man's spirit, which is self-preservation. Healthy people who are breathing in life do not self-destructive like we do.

One of the first things an alcoholic and addict needs to do in order to become more spiritual is learning how not to self-destruct over a chemical. The next step is learning how to be good to yourself, which is a foreign concept to many alcoholics and addicts. How can you be good to yourself when you are in the process of self-destructing and killing yourself?

Spirituality is about living an enriched and healthy life to the extent of your faculties and resources. It is not about being a slave to a chemical, your emotions, thoughts, or being a victim of self-created circumstance. It is about having healthy thoughts, emotions, and actions. It is about enjoying the day and trying to live it to the fullest with sort serenity and happiness.

It is about being grateful for what you have rather than throwing a pity party over what you don't have. It is about doing the next right with honest and healthy motives. It is about helping others or at least not hurting them.

It is about developing a greater comprehensive self. It is about finding your center and being more in tune with yourself, with others, and with your surroundings.

It is about finding beauty, wonder, and mystery in the world around us and marveling at it. Unlike theism, it is not about being God-centered and communicating through the supernatural plane. In fact, it is quite the opposite. It is realizing how insignificant we are. We do not have some privilege position in the universe where we are center stage in a cosmic battle between good and evil. However, for some reason that will probably never fully be answered, we are fortunate enough to inhabit this pale blue dot, which we call home. And our home is nothing, but a mode of dust suspended by a sunbeam in a vast cosmic arena. Our universe is so vast that it is incomprehensible. Realizing this fact is so humbling and awe-inspiring. It allows me to develop a deeper reverence for life because what we have is truly amazing and truly unique. It should not be wasted on enslaving ourselves to a chemical, petty emotions, unhealthy, and a life determined by self created negative consequences.

Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the the presence of great art or music or literature, or of acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr.

The notion that science and spirituality are mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.


--Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:57 AM
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I don't get that one either, i have heard it before...

Secular means non-religious and spirituality by it's very nature is not tied to any religion?!
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Old 02-10-2011, 09:16 AM
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Interesting thread!

I always felt that "spiritual" meant believing in some form of higher power and the existence of the soul. Secular, would mean non-religious. I was always confused by people who described themselves as "spiritual" but not believing in God or an afterlife (ie, the existence of the soul).

If you believe in being a good person, morals, even a higher purpose, but you do not believe in the existence of the soul you can't call yourself spiritual.

Just my take on it. But then I'm a hippie, new age, theist masquerading as a secularist for the purposes of SR...

Speaking of which...where can I get that chakra balancing underwear...lol
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Old 02-10-2011, 09:23 AM
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Hmm in that case secular spirituality would make sense, kind of?!

I´m pretty sure that there is a definition of spirituality as a way of thinking or in contact with higher self? I suppose that person would say i live on spiritual principles and they would come from....where?

I guess someone that really understands buddhism and is following that path would describe themselves as then living on a spiritual path...

It is an interesting thread especially the bit about chakra balancing underwear lol
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Old 02-10-2011, 10:08 AM
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I like to refer to Austin Cline whenever I need help with an understanding of atheist matters.
"Spirituality seems to be one of those words which has as many definitions as it does people trying to define it."

"the question that must be asked is: does it have any emotional resonance with you? Does it "feel" like it conveys some aspect of your emotional life? If so, then it may be a term you can use and it will mean just what you "feel" it conveys."
I feel that being a secular spiritual person has a meaning for me. I may or may not be able to convey that meaning to others. But it doesn't matter to me if others get it or not. I'm on my journey and I always find those liberated enough to walk beside me.
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:57 PM
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One of the (many) definitions of "spirit" is "The part of a human associated with the mind, will, and feelings." For me, spirituality has to do with focusing on these things, particularly in a healing manner. Things like meditation, appreciating the wonder of nature, feeling a connection with other human beings....

OK, yeah, my own sloppy New Age definition that means whatever I want it to mean.
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Old 02-10-2011, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by LaFemme View Post
...where can I get that chakra balancing underwear...)

Gosh I dunno where to get them now. I bought them for the Harmonic Convergence in ‘87. I thought I lost them New Year’s Eve ’99, but they showed up after a couple of days, a little singed but still working. I was going to keep them until the 13th cycle of b’ak‘tun was complete in 2012. (You don’t want have you chakras ‘effed up for the return of Quetzalcoatl lemme tell ya.) Now, that I understand that the end of Mayan calendar actually corresponds to a rendezvous with the planet Nibiru, and everybody knows nobody wears underwear on Nibiru, I could probably lend them to you. PM me and we’ll arrange it.
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Old 02-10-2011, 02:18 PM
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I'm coming back to this one. I guess it seems to me that to say that atheists/agnostics can't be "spiritual" would also seem to lead you to the deduction that atheists/agnostics could never be "inspired" or "spirited" or have "aspirations" or any of the other words related to that latin root Antiderivative shared, if they don't believe in "spirit." It seems to me that the word "spiritual" has loaded connotations for a lot of people, but it would be throwing away a lot of other words to deny yourself anything related to "spirit" as a linguistic concept.

Just some other thoughts on this.
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Old 02-10-2011, 02:45 PM
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Lol...I'm pm'ing you right now recycle

AG....I think it comes down to experience with the word spiritual...I don't define it by its Latin rootsao much as just feel like the word spiritual is tied to the existence of the soul. I think it is one of those word association things...kind of like how a girl named "Barbie" can't be particularly smart...you know?

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Old 02-10-2011, 03:59 PM
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In my spirituality, I don't necessarily believe in a higher power, but rather a higher purpose. My drinking was anti-spiritual because in it I mostly cared about getting high, rather than giving meaning to my life.
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:05 AM
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Here is a good read on spirituality without faith.
Spirituality without Faith

If you scroll down to the Characteristics of Spirituality, it states that spirituality has three main features; an emotional response, cognitive context, and practice.

The emotional responses are intrinsically rewarding feelings that are sought out in their own right. These emotional responses can enhance the celebration of life or help us cope with life's losses. According to Richard Dawkins, we have an "appetite for wonder," an appetite for evoking the positive emotional states that are linked to our deepest existential questions.

The cognitive context allows us to invoke the emotional responses. They are a set of beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. It allows us to give meaning to life and appreciate the wonder, beauty, and deeper significance of life.

The third feature is practice. Sometimes we need ceremonies to elicit these deep experiences. Ceremonies such as song, dance, meditation, rituals, or a walk in nature.

As one of my friends in recovery says, "Spirituality is practicality". Spirituality is acquired through practice and action rather than theory or speculation. It is actually living a healthy and rewarding life rather than just yearning and thinking about one.
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