An article by the author of the book 'Spirituality - Gathered Inspirational Thoughts'.
|Background to Writing the Book 'Spirituality - Gathered Inspirational Thoughts'
Reasons for Writing the Book
From a very young age I felt that there must be more meaning to life than the hum-drum, but crazy, panicked and rushed lifestyle that everyone seems to be trapped in, or that life must surely have a more meaningful, yet simple purpose. In my quest to find the truth behind life and the existence of God, life as purportedly lived by my forbears and their ancestors in their realm of reality, the whole concept did not make sense to me if considered in the basic structure of: God - Universe - Earth - Nature - Elements - Mankind - Religion - the Bible - a Holy Spirit; all being separate entities - or forms of life - within some kind of sequential or organizational structure. I was in a quandary as to whether I, a human being, with a body, embody a soul or a spirit. As a result of this state of affairs in my mind I read many books and meditated for many hours in search of the answer. Works including those written by; Zecharia Sitchin, Carl Sagan, Gregg Braden, Graham Hancock, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawkins, David Icke, Michael Drosnin, Deepak Chopra, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, Herman Wouk, Oswald Chambers, David Yale, The Bible, The Koran, and many bible commentaries and critics. And dare I say, the more I learned, the less I felt I knew.
Inspiration and research leading up to compiling the book
'Spirituality - Gathered Inspirational Thoughts' reveals the thoughts of many authors in their responses and counter responses, and further responses by me, to the question, "What is spirituality". An excerpt from the book, part of the original question I posed, explains it better: "...Many people are confused about the meaning of the word or term, spirituality. Some believe that it merely describes a state of mind, others believe it is a state of being, yet others see it as a lifestyle, and others as something religious. Some believe it pertains only to Eastern Mysticism and esoteric beliefs. Whilst many believe that “being spiritual” puts one in a certain state of holiness, a closeness to God - with a purity of heart."
When I was faced with the question, 'What is spirituality and how does one become spiritual', it sent my mind into a tail-spin, as it would most people. In attempting to answer the question, one is faced with a complex type of conundrum, or a logical complexity of thoughts, that first require untangling before one can begin to produce a meaningful and constructive answer. An excerpt from the book follows.
Here are some empty and meaningless statements one hears every day:
• One should be spiritual
• Become more spiritual
• He or she is very spiritual
• I feel very spiritual
• He is spiritually empty
These are meaningless statements because we are so trapped in living our lives in the physical realm on Earth that we forget that we are spirit beings from eternity and to eternity, who each possesses a physical body and a mind/soul. Most of us believe that we are simply “people” in the animal or creature sense, each one with a personality and a soul; the soul to be saved in order to achieve eternal life. This whilst living trapped worldly lives, controlled by the World System, which includes religion, we become totally attached to materiality. Many firmly believe that this is the true and only sense of life........"
What does one make of thoughts like, 'Am I a body or a mind, or a spirit; and if I am all or some of these, then how should I be spiritual?'. This prompts the question of embodiment in terms of whether one's human body contains one's mind and soul, or spirit, or whether these are separate fields of existence, or even energies. I had thought along these lines for what feels like most of my life before I did the survey and wrote the book. The comments and beliefs range from outright atheist to agnostic, to deeply spiritual in many forms.
During my research and my writings I spotted a banner which startled me and I included it in the question I posed to the group of authors, as described in the book.
"...We are not human beings enjoying a spiritual experience - We are spiritual beings having a human experience"
This script is based on a quote from the book 'The Phenomenon Of Man' - by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1955) which reads, "I am not a human being enjoying a spiritual life, I am a spiritual being enjoying a human life." I was blown away at the thought that this tiny quote says it all, and it answers my eternal question, "Who am I?", which prompted me to write this little poem in 2010:
Who Am I and Who Are You?
We Are ONE
By Vaughan Jones
I speak of my body
So I am not the body.
I speak of my mind, changing my mind,
So I am not the mind.
The mind and body belong to me.
So then; Who am I?
If I am not the body or the mind,
Who else can I be -
But a spirit being,
Here on Earth for a while,
To think, say and do; as led
And one day to return to Heaven
The Pure Spirit Realm -
Zero Point Energy Field.
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A snippet from the research and the discussion thread
Excerpts from the book which are among the first comments from participants of the survey and the related conversation thread.
Joy Bee May 31, 2012, 11:00am EDT
Interesting, Vaughn. I read through the Scriptures that we are made in God's image(Genesis 1:26) Then, I found that God is a spirit(John 4:24), and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit, and in Truth. There definitely seems to be a correlation between the things you have written, and the things that are already recorded. I like that plaque.
I don't think the question is clear. What is the survey? Are we supposed to tell you what we think the word "spirituality" means?
Vaughan Jones Sep 1, 2012, 12:08am EDT
Hi Joy. Thanks for responding. It is not about what the word itself means as such, as in the dictionary definition, but rather the concept of spirituality, Example: spiritual life means holiness or spirituality is a form of Eastern Mysticism, or a state of mind, or a religious condition, and so on.
Richard Lynn Livesay Sep 1, 2012, 3:32pm EDT
Are we not all spiritual beings in a body? maybe created in the spiritual image of a Creator which is spirit and that all living things are made from this spirit but have different looking "shells" and when the shells are shed, our spirit is the same makeup that it always has been.
James Stemmle Sep 1, 2012, 7:29am EDT:-
Vaughn: One wonders why the need to define spiritual and spirituality. It's a semantic quest. Once you arrive at a consensus, what then? We need a way to talk about one of our human dimensions. We are wired to think of God and to wonder about the purpose of our lives. Are these spiritual activities? This kind of spirituality is the subject I find intriguing. It is a quest for God and purpose. And maybe holiness. But the other side of the word is more fanciful. We start imagining spirits. Beings that exist with no bodies. Beings somehow not in the physical world. Or in the physical world but not part of it. Something invisible. And maybe we ourselves are part body and part spirit. And maybe these parts are separable. We hear talk about out-of-body experiences. Which could be just exercises in imagination.
And scripture treats of overcoming carnality. As if body and spirit were at war.
My take is that there is no separation. We do have higher dimensions. Ability to imagine, for instance. And propensity to strive for truth and beauty and nobility and love. But we have to own our carnality. As if God created it. And it is good. Lust good? What a thought! If it is true, then scripture routinely gets it wrong.
Vaughan Jones Sep 1, 2012, 9:04am EDT
Jim, thank you very much for your valuable contribution. This is not intended to be a semantic puzzle, nor the search for the best definition, but a search for what spirituality means in general use, as it is widely used loosely by different people, even those within the same culture. And this is not a trick question either, I am simply intrigued by the responses I've had and will still get. "Once you arrive at a consensus, what then?..." I'm also not aiming at achieving general consensus as I expect a vast array of answers, I will provide a summary result of the answers received.
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From the many comments and counter comments made in the thread there is no summary opinion or set of majority opinions except that the topic is vast and the range of opinions stretched across a wide gorge. However it can be said that the book depicts the honest thoughts of the participants and the gorge is safely bridged.
I sincerely hope that this article and the book under discussion will promote a lot of thought and much further discussion.
Here's the link to the book:https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00IDEQJ3C
'Spirituality - Gatherd Inspirational Thoughts' - by Vaughan Jones (2014)
'The Phenomenon Of Man' - by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1955)