“Splitting aspects off in our lives and calling them spiritual is evasive.”[1]

BNaWwfjCAAAReYi.jpg largeI am having a hard time with the term spirituality.  If Ggod is a metaphor for all that  is beyond intellectual,[2] then how can I do anything or act in a way that is spiritual if I cant understand what that is? “Do you see the complete harmony between central dictatorship, fascism, political callousness, and the self-centeredness of the spiritual point of view?”[3] When people say in AA meetings that they are growing spiritually, I think what does that  mean?  Where is that growth manifested?  In their mediation capabilities?  Their ability to be empathetic?

2650418_1What I see happening is people healing and becoming more mature and equating emotional health with some sort of spiritual growth.  I am glad that they are healing and maturing.  I hope to do the same.

But the minute I think I have some corner on “spirituality,”  I think what I am really saying is that I have some line on or ability that others might not have on emotional maturity!

What a joke.  Just put an authority figure in front of me, or an angry father type and you will get to see my emotional maturity go right out the window if I am n0t centered EMOTIONALLY.

buddha-ray-phungThese deep seated emotional conflicts that persist below the level of my consciousness, [4] dont go away and probably will not.  What I am getting by working through them as best I can is the lessening of the emotional charge around them.

Elizabeth Oldfield was saying that we should give the term spirituality a rest. What I interpreted that to mean was that we should not use it as some sort of shorthand, some sort of subliminal signal to others of my psychological and spiritual growth or maturity.  I agree and here is why.  Saying it as some sort of symbolic word manifesting a certain amount of development of the individual, creates the duality of the opposite of it.  So if I dont act spiritually in the same way you do, then I am going to be seen as “less spiritual.”

standing babyI am working real hard in not using the words that have duality connected to them.  I see my friends struggle because they live with those dualistic criteria for how they should live their lives.  The problems with those terms is two fold.  If you live up to them, righteousness can set in.  If you cant, shadow behavior, i.e, shame based behavior takes over.

123 RV

[1]Elizabeth Oldfield[2] Joseph Campbell [3] James Hillman [4] AA “12 steps and 12 traditions”



5 thoughts on ““Splitting aspects off in our lives and calling them spiritual is evasive.”[1]

  1. I use the term “spirituality” frequently, but you make an excellent point that it means different things to different people. I may have to rethink the term, but what word should I use? Hmmm

  2. I have never really understood what that word meant. I don’t believe people are spiritual beings anyway. Thanks for exploring this. It always bothered me when therapists say “you need to cultivate your spirituality”.

  3. So true. Same is true of the word “faith”. Who knows what it looks like on any one unique individual. Oops, I guess I answered that with the last two words, “unique” and “individual”. True about “spirituality” as well, a most ambiguous word. Excellent post.

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