Friday, December 21, 2007

Religion vs. Spirituality

It is a common perspective. Certainly, I've viewed the world from this perspective for much of my adult life. If someone were to ask me, "are you a religious person?". I might say, "No, though I consider myself somewhat spiritual." What the heck does that mean, anyway?

And why, do I find myself coming back time and again, to castigating most religions -- or at least their dogmas? I guess it is the anti-consumer in me. I really don't like being "sold" anything. I don't like someone telling me what it is I need. I'd rather just figure it out for myself. Maybe that's what leads one to the contemplative side of the religious world.

I came across this video clip (be forewarned, it is about 15 minutes long), that seems to get at this issue. It blends one of my favorite spiritual thinkers (Ken Wilber) with a more traditional religious contemplative (Father Thomas Keating). Check it out and see what you think.


Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the message of the Perennial Philosophy (which I sent once). One idea he brings up is the idea of development of a suffering false self which results in the basic disease of much of humanity and is the reason we will continue to not have peace on earth. Why oh why, are we humans so ready to develop these suffering false selves? It seems inevitable that humans have this limitation, this defect. It is in our nature. This is the way we are, is it not?

But this is such a negative vision isn't it, so hopeless (for mankind as a whole, though there may be countless island communities of enlightened beings).

This hopeless vision is what in the Christian tradition, they have called it, Original Sin. And Christianity has no answer for us, no way out of OS, for Mankind on its own. Mankind on his own has no way out of OS except by Divine Grace (see Wikipedia for definition).

Some other traditions claim that OS (though they do not call it that) can be overcome with, for example, meditation, and various other disciplines.

Father TK in this video, is saying nothing about DG, but instead is mentioning comtemplative prayer - perhaps as a way to flail against our defect, to flail against OS. Though by Christian doctrine, he is not correct, for comtemplative prayer is not the way out of OS, for that is only DV.

Geez, I am really running on here. Got lots more I could say I guess, I could go on and on, for I contain multitudes (of various kinds of devils that is). But better stop here.

Uh, nice video, makes one think.

Anonymous said...

about the development of a suffering false self that seems to be an inescapable part of the human condition, embedded deeply in our nature somehow, and so hard to get out of...Well, think for a moment how a culture of mass media could amplify this unfortunate defect in humankind...

This video is 15 minutes but interesting for most since most never think this way - we all have Boomeritis. Is it about how the communications we have developed have allowed us to amplify our spiritual development difficulties?

Anyway, I gotta go now.

Anonymous said...

Oh, by the way, here is a Buddhist version of Father Keating. Same message, same insight, different tradition.

"Oneness is an experience, not something you can understand, something you experience and actualize."

Gotta go again.