What Is Spirituality? - A No-Bullshit Intro To Spirituality

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1. What Is Spirituality? Actualized

1.1. Spirituality = Metaphysics = Philosophy

1.2. Spirituality is:

1.2.1. developing a deep metaphysical connection to reality. It is a connection to the wonders of nature.

1.2.2. Some definition from multiple angles of spirituality is:

1.2.2.1. -Developing a metaphysical connection with reality

1.2.2.2. Answering questions about the nature of existence

1.2.2.3. -Seeking of Truth

1.2.2.4. -Having a personal union with the Truth

1.2.2.4.1. This is like making love with reality, have sex with the absolute Truth, you get penetrated in the mind, everything else gets ridiculous compare to this.

1.2.2.4.2. Sex is a good comparison as there is nothing rational for people to pursue having sex, it’s just like all the rest of your life, it is governed by your emotions and feelings, and a rationalist just puts a little sprinkling of pretense of rationality on top of that. He is not aware of the fact that he is irrational.

1.2.2.4.3. Trying to convince a so-called rational minded person to spirituality is like trying to convince someone who never had an orgasm to go and have one, and he dismisses you by saying: “it’s just feelings and emotions”. It’s just absurd and stupid. Everything you know is grounded in experience. The difference between having sex and spirituality is that the spiritual experiences take work to attain a good feeling.

1.2.3. Some benefits from spiritual work:

1.2.3.1. -The raising of consciousness, experiencing reality from a radical different way

1.2.3.2. -The realization that reality is a mind and not a physical system,

1.2.3.2.1. -The realization that reality is a mind and not a physical system, that reality is a mental construction, this is the essence of idealism. It requires radical open-mindedness and then you can experience non physical things, things that people think are crazy.

1.2.3.3. The realization that reality is fundamentally mystical.

1.2.3.3.1. The job of most scientist is to demystify reality. But a scientist doesn’t see that his knowledge cannot lead him to the nature of existence using the finite mind as that being is prior to knowing. So you can’t know the nature of reality but you can become it by eliminating the separation between you and reality, separation is an idea of the materialist paradigm, that you can deconstruct. At this point you are going to realize that explaining the universe through a chain of events related by cause and effect will never get you to the absolute. You can’t explain the infinite by using a finite method, you will always get a partial solution, not the whole solution. So you can be reality in its entirety, accessing it directly through consciousness, as consciousness is all there is. You are consciousness and therefore the entire thing, not the thing that you thought you were, that was a fantasy that you had.

1.2.3.4. -Escaping the matrix, it is waking up, it feels like you are breaking physical reality, deconstructing it until you are completely free of it.

1.2.3.5. -Alining your life with the Truth and consciousness, embodying the truth, changing all your habits and addictions, deconstruct all your nasty programing that you got from your culture, all your false beliefs. Spiritual purifications needs to happen, your ego need to be broken down, break all resistance to the Truth

1.2.3.6. -Dissolving of the ego, the separate sense of self, it’s a conquering of your inner-demons and your shadows.

1.2.3.6.1. This entity that you think you are, this is an idea, not the truth. Science has never proven that you are a physical biological organism or that you are your body, because science cannot prove identity, it cannot prove what you are. Science can’t prove that you are not that table you’re looking at. It is the obvious stuff that people overlook. It has never proven that there is a separate Self, as there is no objective truth to it, it’s conceptual creation like Santa Klaus. Science can’t prove to you that Santa Klaus is real or not. Science can’t prove that you are separate from your coffee table. Try to think of what scientific experiment it would take to prove that you are not a coffee table.

1.2.3.7. -Expanding of your circle of concern, you defend less the the thing you think you are, you keep on expanding it until it becomes universal, your passion and your love extends.

1.2.3.8. -It’s a profound state of connectedness to everything in the universe. It’s not an idea, it’s a physical fact just by removing the idea of separation.

1.2.3.9. -Attaining and exploring altered states of consciousness

1.2.3.10. It’s non symbolic science. Science is the pursuit of understanding reality, using quantitative measures and formulas, quantifying reality. In that sense spirituality is not science. But science is an elastic notion

1.2.3.10.1. What was considered science 300 years ago is not considered science anymore today, we have realized our own mistakes. Science will discover at some point that they are non symbolic ways to do science. Spirituality is the investigation of reality with a non symbolic fashion, without using thought and your mind. This is the most pure form of science which doesn’t even have room for introducing symbols, maps or equations because they introduce falsehood, distortions and illusions into your understand of reality.

1.2.3.10.2. You won’t understand spirituality unless you have a mystical experience for yourself, in the same way that you won’t understand what sex is unless you try it for yourself.

1.2.4. Spirituality is not:

1.2.4.1. -Dogma, religion, an ideology or a belief system.

1.2.4.1.1. Religion is when you come into contact with direct consciousness and you convert it into a belief system, a lot of bad stuff happens. Religion is the opposite of spirituality. it mimics spirituality but it tends to make people believe instead of experiencing for themselves. It’s like believing you have sex or having an orgasm without actually ever having sex

1.2.4.2. -Blind faith: You are being asked to do practices, to actually experience the things that are being talked about. Such as I wouldn’t want you to believe in sex but to actually try it.

1.2.4.3. -Worshiping of gurus, icons, people, images, holy books, preachers, priests nor God

1.2.4.4. -Obedience to authority or following rules, religious costums or ceremonies like going to church

1.2.4.5. -Acting morally. Being a nice person doesn’t develop a spiritual connection, morality becomes an obstacle.

1.2.4.6. -Irrational, illogical or unscientific thinking, it is trans-rational, trans-logical, trans-scientific. A spiritual person’s understanding of science and use of logic and reason will be enhanced. It builds on top of science and rationality.

1.2.4.6.1. Do you realize that the only reason that you think that you exist is because you are directly conscious of your existence? Do you realize that science is a chemical state, there is no scientific evidence for your existence. So spirituality being only “feelings and emotions that are just hallucinations and chemicals in the brain”, so called facts are just hallucinations in the brain a chemical state.

1.2.4.7. -Wishful thinking in fear of death, inventing a story so life goes on after death.

1.2.4.7.1. Spirituality is actually the facing of your own death. Actually it is the rationalist, the atheist and the scientific person who is avoiding his own death. But not physical death, the conceptual self. Because you think you are a physical thing, instead of what you really are, a mental construction. You actually can come to the conclusion by questioning long enough you own existence, that you never existed in the first place and that your existence in the human body was just a mental construction, a belief, a wishful thinking. You avoiding those questions wasn’t an accident, it was by design. When you do physical inquiry you come closer to your own death. Death is a concept, you are a concept. Your death will be conceptual but it will feel extremely real to you because you believe you are real. Until you realized you are not real, you won’t feel comfortable with metaphysical questions.

1.2.4.8. Praying for material things

1.2.4.9. Crusading against other people’s beliefs

1.2.4.10. Joining a cult

1.2.4.11. Politics, transforming the world into a better place, to save the wales and the polar bears and to save the world from racism and evil. First do spirituality then do save what you want once you know what the world is.

1.2.4.12. Preparing for the afterlife, existence is right now

1.2.4.13. It is not proving things, it’s a trap. Truth cannot be proven, all proof is indirect. Truth is a vaster domain than proof, study “Gödel’s Completeness Theorem” saying that you cannot prove the entire Truth

1.2.4.14. Constructing elaborate theories

1.2.4.15. A subjective romantic experience

1.2.4.16. -Spirituality is not “just” a chemical brain state

1.2.4.16.1. When your probing of existence reaches such a deep level, you start to question what a chemical is, what a brain is, a state or science is, you will come to a point that all those things including chemical brain states and the idea that reality is happening inside of the brain is a conceptual construction. It’s one thing to understanding those words, it’s another thing to actually grasp that none of the reality you perceive is actually happening inside of a brain, that thoughts are not happening inside of a brain, to understand that even a brain is a mental construction, just a thought that you are thinking. And. It’s a complete turning inside out of what you think reality is, it feels like you are loosing your mind as you are loosing you grip and grounding on reality. It might sound bad and not objective truth anymore, but the truth is that there is no difference between fantasy and truth, reality and thought. That what it means to say that you are inside a giant mind. What you think is, is what gets created in a sense.

1.2.5. There are different kinds of spirituality:

1.2.5.1. Nature mysticism, shamanism, voodoo, orthodox religions (but very problematic method), meditative state and yoga, visualization, psychedelics, non-duality and enlightenment. Spirituality is different depending at what level of development you are at and where your culture is at. Spirituality in spiral dynamics can be found at all color levels. At stage yellow you have some visionary scientist like the father’s of quantum mechanics, Niels Bohr, Einstein, Schröedinger, Max Born, Eddington…. are actually metaphysicians, not just academics, they were all idealists and mystics and all believed reality was a mind, not a physical system. But perhaps by putting everything into forms and numbers and by rationalizing everything, they couldn’t reach the deepest spiritual insight. -Turquoise: Buddha, Jesus, Yogis, Sages

1.2.6. How is spirituality practice?

1.2.6.1. Meditation, concentration, self-inquiry, contemplations, yoga, meditative yoga, breathing techniques, holotropic breathwork, psychedelics, chanting, mantras, astral projection, visualization, dark room retreats, auditory driving (found in most shamanism), vision quest, sweat lodges, fasting, lucid dreaming, solo retreats, Vipassana retreats and meditation, reading spiritual texts, tantra, shadow work, journaling, workshops, apprenticeship programs, suffering…

1.2.7. Why is there an absolute truth and people interpret it differently? Why is there so much confusion about it?

1.2.8. Why is spirituality important and how is it useful beyond the feelings that you are getting?

2. What is Spirituality — A Guide To Spiritual Paths and Practices

2.1. Spirituality Definition

2.1.1. spirituality is a worldview and a way of life based on the belief that there is more to life than what meets the senses, more to the universe than just purposeless mechanics, more to consciousness than electrical impulses in the brain, and more to our existence than the body and its needs.

2.1.2. Spirituality usually involves the belief in a higher form of inteligence or Consciousness running the universe, as well as life after death. It exists to satisfy the deeper human thirst for meaning, peace, mystery, and truth.

2.2. Spiritual Traditions

2.2.1. These traditions share many common practices, principles, and goals – and yet there are profound differences in approaches, beliefs, and worldviews.

2.3. Why Is Spirituality Important

2.3.1. PURPOSE / DIRECTION.

2.3.1.1. Whether you are on the top of the wheel of material life or on the bottom, there is an underlying sense of dissatisfaction, limitation, and emptiness. There is some form of existential anxiety. Some people are sensitive to this, others aren’t, or they try to fill this up by chasing external goals endlessly. Spirituality is a search for meaning, for purpose and direction in life. It fulfils our need to have a foundation for living, a path or way of life in the light of a larger context. It speaks to the need to be “aligned” with something bigger than our ego and individual life.

2.3.2. ONENESS / LOVE / CONNECTION

2.3.2.1. This speaks to our sense of separation and incompleteness. Because it is painful, we seek connection and love – either in a community, or in being one with the universe, or connecting with the Divine (whatever shape this may take). To feel complete, we crave to receive and give unconditional love, which brings a sense of total acceptance and of happiness in being alive. This search can also manifest as returning to the source, to God, or to a sense of sacredness.

2.3.3. GROWTH

2.3.3.1. There is an innate drive in many of us to evolve, to improve, to push the boundaries, reach our full potential. The drive to continuously grow and learn, live a life authentic to our truth, develop our mind, cultivate virtues, and expand our consciousness.

2.3.4. ANSWERS / TRUTH

2.3.4.1. Questions like “Who am I?”, “Why are we here?”, and “What else is there?” together with a drive to understand how life works and to learn about ourselves. For some this takes the form of understanding, absorbing, and becoming one with the absolute Truth.

2.3.5. HAPPINESS / PEACE / OVERCOME SUFFERING

2.3.5.1. Suffering is the initial door of spirituality for many people (usually in the form of anxiety, grief, or fear). When our mind depends on external things for happiness, its experience of happiness will be unreliable, impermanent—just like external causes are. It has been rightly coined as “stock market happiness”. Since suffering is a mental phenomenon, and spiritual practices are a means to transform one’s mind, it is a wise way of seeking a better life. Hence, there is a drive to seek happiness and peace internally. Or to at least to diminish the suffering that we are experiencing. Spirituality helps us gain balance, independence from external cases, and a greater appreciation of life.

2.3.6. TRANSCENDENCE / ENLIGHTENMENT

2.3.6.1. Different traditions describe enlightenment differently. But the common theme is that it is a state of transcendence from the human condition, beyond all possibility of further suffering. There is a radical and permanent shift in our perception and experience of the world, and a moving beyond the sense of being an individual, or a person. It’s the urge to experience ultimate peace or freedom, to find the ultimate reality of who we are, transcend the ego, or “merge with God”.

2.3.7. EXPLORATION / MYSTERY

2.3.7.1. Diving into one’s own consciousness and exploring other aspects of reality is something that speaks to our thirst for knowledge, experience, and adventure. Learning the mysteries of life and nature, exploring the sacred, and living with a sense of wonder.

2.3.8. SERVING. The urge to serve people in a deeper level, making a big difference in their life, and helping the upliftment of humanity.

2.4. Different Types of Spirituality

2.4.1. Buddhism: achieve the cessation of suffering (enlightenment, nirvana); see reality for what it is; uproot the mental defilements.

2.4.2. Yoga: purify the mind so to achieve liberation (moksha); uniting the individual soul with the universal Soul; becoming one with the Absolute Consciousness; be the true Self.

2.4.3. Vedanta: realise the true Self; dissolve the knot of the ego, which limits pure Consciousness to a body-mind.

2.4.4. Sufism: experience divine revelation; surrender to God; serve God

2.4.5. Christian Mysticism: experience union with God; the kingdom of heaven; feel the love of the creator.

2.4.6. Daoism/Taoism: live in harmony with the Dao; cultivate body, mind, and spirit; cultivating and sublimating energy.

2.4.7. Kabbalah: learn the ultimate laws of the universe; know the creator and oneself, and live accordingly.

2.4.8. Jainism: liberation; salvation; karmic purification; become a perfected-being (Siddha).

2.4.9. Shamanism: live in harmony and connection with Nature; develop knowledge and power to work with invisible forces; serve the spiritual welfare of the community; heal the soul.

2.4.10. pragmatic spirituality

2.5. Spiritual Practices

2.5.1. pragmatic spirituality

2.5.1.1. Every spiritual practice should serve a definite purpose, according to what drives us to spirituality, and the goal we are seeking. I call this approach pragmatic spirituality. It’s not about continuing a tradition, or doing something because “we feel we should”, but to actively explore our inner world, driven by a specific question, thirst, or goal.

2.5.2. Here is an overview of the different types of spiritual practice, across multiple traditions. They seem to fall into three categories:

2.5.2.1. (a) practices of personal cultivation, sublimation, and exploration.

2.5.2.2. (b) practices of learning, understanding, absorbing.

2.5.2.3. (c) practices of external action.

2.5.3. CULTIVATION & SUBLIMATION

2.5.3.1. Meditation.

2.5.3.1.1. It’s an exercise of controlling your attention. The three main general types of meditation are: focused attention (concentrating your mind on a single point); open monitoring (being aware of whatever is in your experience in the present moment); pure awareness (resting the attention on consciousness, undistracted and unengaged). Meditation is specially emphasized in the spiritual traditions that originated from India (Buddhism, Vedanta, Yoga, Tantra, Jainism, etc.). To learn more check out my getting started page.

2.5.3.2. Prayer.

2.5.3.2.1. Present in all theistic paths, prayer is an exercise of directing our mind to the Divine, with devotion and surrender. It may be scripted or spontaneous; spoken out loud, silently in the mind, or without words (pure communion).

2.5.3.3. Breath & Energy Work.

2.5.3.3.1. These are specific ways of breathing and moving our attention through the body. They are often accompanied by visualization or repetition of sacred sounds (mantras). It can be done for the purpose of healing, energizing, purifying, calming, contemplating, etc. Examples are the pranayama from Yoga and the qigong from Daoism. It is also advised as a preparation exercise for meditation, which is more subtle and internal.

2.5.3.4. Somatic Techniques.

2.5.3.4.1. n conjunction to breath-work, some traditions use body postures and movements for developing health, freeing energy flow, and other purposes. Here we have the asanas of Yoga, Buddhist mudras, and several exercises from the Daoist tradition and Tantric schools.

2.5.3.5. Qualities of Mind/Heart.

2.5.3.5.1. All traditions speak of the development of certain qualities of mind and heart. Common virtues that are valued are: tranquility, equanimity, humility, detachment, loving-kindness, compassion, trust, devotion, discipline, courage, mindfulness, concentration, truthfulness, morality, discernment, and energy. These are developed through reflection, study, specific meditation and breathing techniques, and mainly by being mindful of them in our moment-after-moment choices (these tools can help!). To learn more check out my guide on the master virtues.

2.5.3.5.2. tranquility, equanimity, humility, detachment, loving-kindness, compassion, trust, devotion, discipline, courage, mindfulness, concentration, truthfulness, morality, discernment, and energy.

2.5.3.6. Chanting.

2.5.3.6.1. Chanting is used in some paths as a means of prayer, study, and focusing of the mind in preparation for meditation. In devotional paths it is used for developing feelings of surrender and devotion; in other traditions, key texts are sometimes chanted instead of being read, as a help for memorization and contemplation.

2.5.3.7. Asceticism-tu khổ hạnh

2.5.3.7.1. Periods of intense self-discipline, simplicity, and no self-indulgence. These include fasting, intensive retreats, vows of silence, abstinence, long hours of meditation, etc. It’s like a “mind detox” or “spiritual cleansing”, and it’s a great way to burn negative patterns and quickly advance in the practice. It develops will power, self-control, and a sense of peace and contentment that depends on nothing else. In Yoga traditions they call this tapas.

2.5.4. LEARNING & ABSORBING

2.5.4.1. Study & Contemplation

2.5.4.1.1. Listening to talks or reading spiritual texts of a tradition, and thinking deeply about the meaning and implications of those teachings.

2.5.4.1.2. This can be both the foundational texts and commentary literature. We find this in basically all traditions. In Christianity it is called lectio divina; in Raja Yoga they call it swadhyaya. Some seek to actually memorize the whole texts.

2.5.4.1.3. The purpose of study is gaining understanding, insight, and wisdom

2.5.4.1.4. The contemplation aspect is to think how those teachings apply to my life, what it means to me, and how knowing these will change the way I see the world and act.

2.5.4.2. Community & Teacher Relationship.

2.5.4.2.1. The relationship with the teacher, and spending time in a community of practitioners, is a valuable way to not only learn the tradition, but absorb the gist of it. A community offers: support in overcoming difficulties on the way; motivation; insight on the finer aspects of practice; answers; and like-minded people with whom to relate.

2.5.4.2.2. In some traditions the texts are considered of secondary importance, while a personal relationship with the teacher or guru is seen as essential for the growth of the student/disciple. Some of them emphasise a “heart to heart” transmission that happens through initiation, and spending time with the teacher (satsang).

2.5.4.3. Belief.

2.5.4.3.1. In some spiritual traditions, having faith on certain basic tenets is the entry door to the practice. Other paths, like Buddhism and Yoga, are more experiential by nature, and tend to require little or no belief. In any case, it is natural that as you start deepening in a path, and experiencing real progress, you gain more confidence in the wisdom behind the teachings – even the ones you don’t understand yet.

2.5.5. EXTERNAL ACTION

2.5.5.1. Ethics.

2.5.5.1.1. Following a set of principles or specific rules of behavior. In Buddhism, for instance, the five basic precepts are: (1) do not cause harm; (2) do not say what is untrue; (3) do not take what is not given; (4) do not engage in sexual misbehavior; (5) do not use intoxicants. Most traditions have similar instructions. They are deeper than what they appear on the surface, and they exist so that our actions in body, speech and mind support and reflect the truth we are seeking.

2.5.5.2. Ritual

2.5.5.2.1. ome traditions are more ritualistic, but basically all of them involve some type of ritual. A ritual is basically any set of actions that are done in the same way, for a specific purpose. Usually a feeling of reverence, seriousness, or intensity is associated with them. The ultimate purpose of rituals is to develop certain feelings or states of mind – and not to put up a show.

2.5.5.3. Service.

2.5.5.3.1. Serving the community – be it other spiritual practitioners, or society at large – can be an expression of one’s spiritual commitment. Feeding the poor, social reform, translation of scriptures, supporting online communities, etc. What makes it “spiritual” is not so much the type of work done, but the attitude, heart, and intention behind it.

2.6. Spiritual Paths

2.6.1. Although there are countless paths, teachings, traditions, lineages, schools and masters, ultimately we can say there are 5 types of paths. Here is a brief introduction.

2.6.2. Path of KNOWLEDGE.

2.6.2.1. The core practices are study, contemplation, and meditation. Liberation happens through wisdom and insight, by clearly seeing who we are, and understanding reality as it is. Some traditions that fall into this approach are: Jnana Yoga, Vedanta, Buddhism, Kabbalah, Samkhya.

2.6.3. Path of DEVOTION

2.6.3.1. The core practices are prayer, chanting, mantras, belief, ritual, and teacher relationship. Liberation happens by surrender of our ego into the higher Power Source/God/Consciousness. Examples are: Bhakti Yoga, Christianity, and Sufism.

2.6.4. Path of MEDITATION.

2.6.4.1. The core practices are meditation, breath work, asceticism, and teacher relationship. Liberation happens by stillness and meditative absorption, which burns through the impurities of the mind and heart. Examples are: Raja Yoga, Nada Yoga, Buddhism, Samaya Tantra, Jainism, Kashmir Shaivism.

2.6.5. Path of SERVICE.

2.6.5.1. The core practices are prayer, community, ethics and service. Liberation happens by active selflessness, the burning away of impurities that happen by the constant service without wanting anything back, not even recognition. This path is often coupled with that of devotion. Example are: Karma Yoga, Christianity, and the approach of some Buddhist lineages.

2.6.6. Path of ENERGY.

2.6.6.1. . The core practices are meditation, breath work, somatic techniques, asceticism, teacher relationship, ritual. Liberation happens by sublimation and purification of our body, mind, and psyche. There is a great variety of paths here; some of them are more ritualistic; some emphasize the development of psychic powers or communication with invisible beings; others are strongly focused on physical health and longevity. Examples of traditions are: Tantra Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Laya Yoga, Vajrayana Buddhism, Daoism, Shamanism.

2.6.7. There are lots of overlaps, but we can say that Knowledge, Surrender, Meditation, Service and Energy are the core elements of all spiritual practice

2.6.7.1. There are lots of overlaps, but we can say that Knowledge, Surrender, Meditation, Service and Energy are the core elements of all spiritual practice

2.6.7.2. There are lots of overlaps, but we can say that Knowledge, Surrender, Meditation, Service and Energy are the core elements of all spiritual practice

2.6.7.2.1. Path of knowledge —> removes anxiety by giving you the realization of your true Self (or non-self), which is incapable of anxiety.

2.6.7.2.2. Path of devotion —> anxiety is surrendered wholeheartedly to That principle/entity that you are devoted to. You then live carefree.

2.6.7.2.3. Path of meditation —> you learn how to master the mind, and pacify anxiety through breathing and by choosing where to focus your attention

2.6.7.2.4. Path of service —> by dedicating your whole being to a larger cause, the anxiety of living is overcome

2.6.7.2.5. Path of energy —> you learn how to transform the energy of anxiety by working with it in your body and through your breathing.

2.7. What Is Spirituality to You?

3. Spirituality vs Religion: An Essay on The Future of Meaning

3.1. The fire for spirituality—for deeper meaning, direction and truth—is inherent in all people.

3.1.1. . For some of us, it is drowned by cynicism, skepticism, and scientific materialism; for others, it is expressed in limiting ways through a blind religious faith.

3.2. Spirituality vs Religion

3.2.1. They have a common subject-matter, but their approaches are very different.

3.2.1.1. Both religion and spirituality teach that there is more to the universe than what meets the eye, and more to our life than the physical body.

3.2.1.2. Both agree that there are non-physical elements to the universe, and to our existence, and that unless we consciously connect with them, we will never be truly fulfilled in life.

3.2.2. The core difference between religion and spirituality

3.2.2.1. religion presents you a set of beliefs, dogmas and “holy men” as intermediaries between you

3.2.2.1.1. tôn giáo cho bạn niềm tin,

3.2.2.2. spirituality promotes your individual autonomy in defining and connecting to Spirit as it fits your heart and mind.

3.2.3. some quotes on the difference between spiritual and religious:

3.2.3.1. Religion asks you to believe. Spirituality asks you to look.

3.2.3.2. Religion has dogmas. Spirituality has wisdom teachings.

3.2.3.3. Religion wants obedience. Spirituality wants experimentation.

3.2.3.4. Religion speaks of sin and hell. Spirituality speaks of karma.

3.2.3.5. Religion wants to comfort you. Spirituality wants to liberate you.

3.2.3.6. Religion is external. Spirituality is internal.

3.2.3.7. Religion is the form. Spirituality is the essence.

3.2.3.8. Religion wants to convert you. Spirituality wants to inspire you.

3.2.3.9. Religion is an institution. Spirituality is a journey.

3.2.3.10. Religions says they are the only path. Spirituality says every person has a unique path.

3.2.4. Sự khác nhau

3.2.4.1. Religion promotes shame and guilt. Spirituality promotes self-honesty and awareness.

3.2.4.2. Religion asks you to sacrifice your present attachments for a promised future. Spirituality asks you to let go of your present attachments for a better present.

3.2.4.3. Spirituality is the true essence, and the true origin, of every religious movement. So how is it that eventually spirituality gets the back seat, and what we are mostly left with are dogmas and empty rituals?

3.2.4.4. Buddha was not Buddhist; Jesus was not Christian

3.2.4.4.1. They were highly realized spiritual men; they were spiritual but not religious!

3.2.4.4.2. They had a group of disciples who were also, in great part, moved by a spiritual search. But as centuries pass, as the groups start increasing and social acceptance grows, people who are not really burning with that spiritual drive start joining in and redefining the movement.

3.2.4.4.3. They join because it feels noble to do so, or because their parents expect, or because they were born poor and at least in the church/monastery there are meals every day. Or maybe they just needed the consolation and comfort that religion can give, to find shelter from the suffering of life, and a respectable position in society.

3.2.4.4.4. This is not a criticism nor a judgment of character, but just a description of how, by becoming more popular and accepted by society, the spiritual element of each religious movement gets watered down or distorted, and what is left is a social institution. Teachings become dogmas, principles become moral rules, spiritual practice becomes ritual, experiences become stories—in short, spirituality becomes religion. What was once private and intimate becomes a social institution.

3.2.4.4.5. Teachings become dogmas, principles become moral rules, spiritual practice becomes ritual, experiences become stories—in short, spirituality becomes religion. What was once private and intimate becomes a social institution.

3.2.5. The difference between religion and spirituality is not so much about what you believe—but about how you live, and what is your attitude.

3.2.5.1. In any of the spiritual/religious traditions on Earth, you will find a majority of people who follow it as a religion, and a minority who follows it as a spiritual path.

3.3. Why Spirituality Is Important

3.3.1. “age of reason”

3.3.1.1. Since the time of the European Enlightenment in the 17th century, the role and dominion of religion seem to be steadily diminishing (at least in the Western world).

3.3.1.2. Since we entered the so-called “age of reason”, with the ability of science to explain and transform reality around us constantly increasing, and the general level of education also rising for everyone, people feel less drawn to seek organized religion as a tool for explaining the world and creating well-being.

3.3.1.3. And yet we humans have this inherent thirst for meaning in life, for a higher purpose, and for strong principles to lead our living—whether individually or socially. Only that can truly quench our existential anxiety.

3.3.2. the role of spirituality in the third millennium.

3.3.2.1. We live in an age of overindulgence, of instant gratification. We have more physical comforts, entertainment and knowledge than ever before in history.

3.3.2.2. But why then…

3.3.2.2.1. are mental health problems on the rise as never before?

3.3.2.2.2. do many of us feel an emptiness inside, a lack of real fulfillment and contentment, even if we have financial security, stable income, a good family, plenty of comfort and an established career?

3.3.2.2.3. no matter how much we acquire in our material life, and how much we understand about the physical universe around us, there is still a deeper itch that is never scratched?

3.3.2.3. . Spirituality fills the gaps left behind both by organized religion and by scientific materialism.

3.3.2.3.1. Nowadays we cannot believe the dogmas of religion anymore—not like before. But when living life from the point of view that science is the only valid way of determining truth, we find ourselves in a cold, mechanistic, and indifferent universe. This leads to nihilism, cynicism, and lack of meaning in life.

3.3.2.3.2. Religion says that truth is what the scriptures-thánh kinh- say, and you must believe it.

3.3.2.3.3. Science says that truth is only the facts that can be experimentally proven through measuring devices, equations, and reason.

3.3.2.3.4. Spirituality says that reason is not the only means of knowing, but that this doesn’t mean one needs to have blind faith in religious doctrines either. We accept how little we know about the universe and about ourselves, and explore a deeper meaning in life through tools such as meditation, contemplation, self-exploration—and also reason, scriptures, altered states of consciousness, and anything we can get hold of.

3.3.2.4. spirituality—in its myriad expressions—is the best means to give meaning to human life

3.3.2.4.1. It is also the strongest basis for human goodness and ethical conduct in society. Without spirituality, often all the morality we are left with is the law, and there is really no reason why one should not “do anything one can get away with.”

3.3.2.4.2. Professor Jordan Petersen eloquently defends the point of view that religious values are what keeps our morality and social order together

3.3.2.4.3. Also, historians Will Durant and Ariel Durant, analyzing the patterns throughout 10,000 years of human history, conclude that no real morality is possible without the “supernatural basis of spirituality”.]

3.3.2.5. Therefore, the final difference between religion and spirituality is that spirituality can dialogue with science, while religion can’t.

3.3.2.5.1. . Indeed, the whole meditation and mindfulness movement in the past couple of decades is a result of this dialogue—science investigating spiritual practices.

3.3.2.5.2. This is just the beginning of a new era, when science and spirituality work together.

3.3.2.5.3. Science and spirituality each have their own domains of knowledge, their own unique methods and purposes. They both are good at different things, and they both need each other.

3.4. The Age of Spirituality Without Religion

3.4.1. This seems to be the direction we are moving towards: a spirituality informed by science, and a science informed by spirituality

3.4.2. Science will clean up spirituality of superstitions; and spirituality will elevate science, making it review some of its materialistic assumptions

3.4.2.1. . The eastern concepts of meditation, karma, reincarnation, and enlightenment will play an important role in this development—a trend that we have seen since the early days of the New Age movement.

4. Spiritual Enlightenment – Truths & Paths

4.1. Spiritual Enlightenment – Traditional and Modern Definitions

4.1.1. Original Definitions

4.1.1.1. Some of the synonymous for enlightenment, given by different schools of thought, are:

4.1.1.1.1. Buddhism — Nirvana, Liberation, Awakening, Cessation

4.1.1.1.2. Yoga — Liberation (moksha, mukti), Realization, Release, Aloneness (kaivalya), Union (yoga), Perfection (poorna)

4.1.1.1.3. Vedanta — Self-realization, Self-knowledge, Jnana

4.1.1.2. at their root they all seem to agree on at least three points:

4.1.1.2.1. It is permanent (cannot be lost once attained)

4.1.1.2.2. It involves transcending the ego

4.1.1.2.3. It is the end of all forms of mental and emotional suffering

4.1.2. Modern Conceptions

4.1.2.1. For 99% of those people, one of the following is true:

4.1.2.1.1. (a) They believe to be more advanced on the path than they actually are.

4.1.2.1.2. (b) They postulate different levels of enlightenment, calling the traditional definition “full enlightenment”, and place themselves somewhere lower in that scale.

4.1.2.1.3. (c) They consider the traditional definition of enlightenment to be mythical, exaggerated, or impossible. Unable to fathom even how to reach it, they redefine liberation according to their level of experience.

4.2. Path to Enlightenment: Gradual and Sudden

4.3. A Direction, Not a Goal

4.3.1. Two Attitudes

4.3.2. Putting Things in Perspective

4.3.3. Enjoying the Path of Enlightenment and Growing Organically