Spirituality for Skeptics

The word “spirituality” is problematic. Typically it suggests religion, or spookiness, or cult-like belief systems. While some religions can be spiritual, spirituality is NOT: religion, blind faith, belief in magic, mysticism, rules, or woo woo. There is actually something perfectly rational and reasonable here…

Spirituality, in short, is embarking upon the never-ending journey to understand who you are and why you do everything you do.

If this journey seems silly or obvious, this assumption is like seeing a puddle on the street, then sticking your hand in and realizing it’s a thousand feet deep. There is more here than anyone suspects until they actually walk the path.

Be Your Own Teacher

There is only one rule to keep in mind – you don’t need me or anyone to teach you. Your job is to think critically about all the information available in the world, and decide what makes sense for yourself. This is a skill, not just with spirituality but in life. Of course you can read this, read books, listen to podcasts, go on retreats, watch youtube, etc, etc. All of that is great. But the purpose of all of that is to start your own fire of wisdom, and then you take it from there. How do you know when you don’t need spiritual guidance? The best teachers will say, it’s already time. Right now. You just need to recognize this.

How to Start?

It is impossible to distill spirituality in one short article. The goal here simply is:

  • Clarify for you that spirituality this is not hocus pocus. If you find something that makes it seem that way, be careful. You can be an atheist, scientist, extreme critical thinker, and still be quite spiritual.
  • Point you to a few resources to learn from, and eventually you can find and learn from resources on your own.

There are a few paths I highly recommend:

Resource 1: Why Buddhism is True

Don’t be misled by “Buddhism” – the entire point of the book was for a critical thinking, rational, non-Buddhist to explore the fundamental messages within Buddhism, and decide how helpful they were. What he found was pretty amazing – many of his observations were very similar to my own. The link contains my favorite highlights from his book. Spoiler alert, it leads directly to this next resource:

Resource 2: Mindfulness

Another loaded word is “meditation”. Most people think it’s simply sitting in silence to calm down for a few minutes. This is a mistake. It is much much deeper. Exploring mindfulness is like the spark for the spiritual fire. Mindfulness is a separate topic in the wellness stack.

Resource 3: Microdosing

It might seem odd to include this here. What the hell do psychedelics, particularly in small doses, have to do with spirituality? I have done my best to illustrate this in this essay, but more importantly, I point to many scientists, doctors, and psychologists who are legitimizing this field and shaping government and regulatory opinion about it all. In the meantime, there is plenty of public information available to make your own informed decision.

Red Flags

Back to where we started – “spirituality” is a loaded word. There are charlatans and snake oil salesmen out there – taking advantage of how confusing this is. There are stories of teachers who have taken advantage of people just trying to learn and help themselves. Remember, you don’t need anyone specifically – any specific resource, or teacher, or religion, or book. You just need to be curious, put in the effort to read, be honest, and consider many perspectives. After you’ve listened to 10s or 100s or 1000s of people and ideas, see how YOU feel.

The resources provided above are doorways to groups of people with reputations scratching back decades, who link to even more people whose reputations stretch back decades.

Good luck and if you have any questions please post them, I am happy to share my experience.

Where Does Spirituality “End”?

Some thoughts.

Explore Next:

Progress key
Progress deep
Save and Resume Later

Need Help?

If you have any questions please post them on any article – I’ll follow up quickly – usually the same day. Happy to brainstorm and would love to hear about your challenges and journey.

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