Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Monday, February 20, 2017

Can the spiritual and practical coexist ?

 In light of recent events in the country and indeed the world I find myself struggling with this question. Can the spiritual and practical co-exist ? I think we must begin that analysis by defining just what the spiritual is. It does mean somethin different to each of us. For some it is just the feeling of a presence, vague and undefined, guiding what we call our spirit. For those on the other end of the spectrum it is a strict adherence to whatever sacred document delineates the actions necessary for compliance. I do believe that is the final goal of any spiritual person, to be in compliance with whatever law rules the universe. The reward for doing so may certainly be different to those individuals as well. Whatever ones notion of Heaven may be, so to speak.
 Among the many spiritual philosophies the Judeo-Christian one currently is in the majority, followed closely by Islam. Many predict that will change within the next decade or so. It is interesting to note that Islam was taken from the Judeo-Christian  tradition and added to by Mohamed. Mohamed claims to have been instructed by Gabriel as the messenger of God. So, I think it fair to say both religions share the same roots in spirituality. That is the difference though, the way the religion is practiced, in the adherence to a text rather an adherence to the spiritual nature of the people as individuals. In other words, following the instructions of a leader. And I'm thinking that is were the wheel sometimes falls off the whole thing. When those leaders begin to interject their own agendas. Certainly there is evidence enough of that throughout history. An outward display of adherence to the religious doctrine of the times has motivated many a war and continues to do so. I don't believe that will ever change. The church has always been a hotbed of political activity either directly or indirectly.
 That brings me to the main topic. Can spirituality and practicality co-exist ? It is my belief that they can. Religion and spirituality however are different thing altogether. Remember religion is the " official " practice of your spirituality. Religion is how you do it ! Spirituality is what you feel. It all begins with the basics. We are all born with the instinctive nature to know those basics. The founding fathers of America knew it and best expressed that with those unalienable rights. The golden rule tells us the same thing. Every major religion in the world preaches that simple truth. From that instinctive knowledge man began to add in stuff. Whether it was done with the genuine belief of divine intervention or by some nefarious design is open to debate. And it is there that faith enters the door. The spirit has little to do with the decisions that follow.
 We often hear that phrase, moved by the spirit, but what does it mean ? Is it God or whatever force rules the universe ? That is what we are taught. Does this entity interact with us on a personal basis ? Many believe so and I wouldn't disagree, although at times I believe it to be highly presumptuous of us. Surely a being of such magnitude and importance can't be bothered with me, with over 7.5 billion mes'. On the other hand he/she or whatever may just as easily be capable of such a thing, after all God rules the universe. So, what does being moved by the spirit really indicate ? I would say it is nothing more than making up our mind about a course of action. This spirit moving me to do whatever. But is it really the spirit ? Yes, although that spirit has been heavily influenced by the society in which we live. I don't believe that could be denied. Our " spirit " is directed by whom ? If it where truly directed solely by our God we would all be infallible, sadly we are not. Ah, but that is what free will and choice is all about you say. Yes, it is. From the moment we learn to understand language and the world around us we move away from the spirit. It is a necessity. We don't have that choice, not really. It is solely a practical thing to survive in that society. Non conformance will have unwanted results, we learn that quickly enough. So we adapt. The truth is we adapt to the benefit or ourselves, not those around us. Then we begin to insist that those around us follow those rules. Isn't that how a religious practice is formed ? We institute rituals and procedures to obtain the reward we desire. And what is that reward ? Life after death is the prevailing prize. It is what everyone wants, to go on living. Me too.
 The problem inherit in all of this is in actual practice. Looks good on paper doesn't it ? It does right up until it affects you on a personal level anyway. It is quite easy to tell others how they should act. Self help books abound, religious instruction has been institutionalized, entire nations have based their government on religious ideology. Those nations have been in conflict with governments that do not subscribe to that policy since the very beginning. It doesn't have much effect on commerce between the two however, a practicality. And there is the rub currently. Nothing new really it has been going on for centuries. Commerce is being affected in a negative way and so the tensions have risen once again. This time however it has gotten on a more personal level. When it is nations much can be ignored, when it is next door though, well that's a different scenario altogether.
 This time it involves the spirituality of the people not necessarily the religion they practice. This time it is a choice of doing what is spiritually correct or maintaining the society as we know it. It is quite the dilemma. An old dilemma for sure and one not likely to be resolved without great unrest. It is the dilemma revolutions and wars begin with. Which is the greater concern ? Personal wealth and safety or being truly spiritual ? It is a choice that must be made, no matter the discomfort it may cause. One can either move forward on faith alone or make reasoned judgements. I can be of a spiritual nature while making reasonable judgements. The spirit is instinctive with judgements are learned responses to a situation. Few have the spirit to stand in the face of imminent death or severe discomfort and not react in some fashion. It is easy to tell others what to do, citing a religious text or doctrine, but eventually practicality will dictate the course of action. Personally I seldom find the two in conflict. I'll do what needs to be done. I can do so because I believe I was granted free will. That free will is not dictated by society or text books but by my own judgement. I also believe in the end I will face his judgement, and that is how it is supposed to be.