“Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement…to be spiritual is to be amazed.” -Abraham Joshua Heschel
What does it mean to be spiritual?
What does it mean to you?
To me, to be spiritual is to be deeply, richly emotionally engaged in one’s subjective experience. This is what it feels like to be human, and I love it! Contemplating the very prospect of our own existence provides sufficient arousal of my emotions for me to consider such a task to be “spiritual”.
Most of the human body is composed of elements that formed in the cores of Supergiant stars, which then collapsed and exploded outward in supernova explosions (as pictured below).
The oldest ancestor of us primates (and all other life on Earth) emerged from the remnants of these Supernovas some 4 billion years ago, and developed certain patterns of information processing which eventually proved sufficient to give rise to consciousness and all of its contents. This consciousness you experience can be attributed to the explosion of Supergiant stars billions of years ago.
That gives me every reason to look up at the night sky in tremendous awe. If spirituality is defined by a certain transcendence and connectedness, I don’t know of anything more spiritual than this. You are LITERALLY stardust. You are LITERALLY the universe observing itself.
I am not spiritual in the sense that I subscribe to religious dogma, or follow “new age” spiritual thinking, I am spiritual in the sense that I embrace my own feelings and emotional states within my human experience. I acknowledge that all of my feelings, even those which one could deem the “most real” or “most profound”, are only within my subjective experience. Subjectivity describes our experience as conscious beings.
Setting aside their flaws and occasional rotten fruits, organized religions (at least those most common religions) provide and cultivate incredible benefits including:
- Providing an orderly doctrine which may serve as a philosophical guide to living one’s life.
- Encouraging a deep sense of spirituality and appreciation of the contents of conscious existence.
I contend that the feelings experienced by those partaking in religious rituals, for example, are not contingent on subscription to that religion, or on the belief that the religion offers epistemological truth, but that these feelings are innately human.
So go be spiritual:
- Slow down and appreciate the taste of food.
- The smell of the forest and of the soil.
- The smell and sound of rain.
- Immerse yourself in the vibrant richness of music.
- Live musically. Let your spirit vibe like the harmonies of a beautiful song.
- Dare to dance. Sing out loud. Learn to play an instrument. Read more poetry.
- Gaze upon the night sky, the sunrise, and beautiful landscapes.
- Feel the cold water of the ocean and forest creeks, the sun on your skin, the wind through your hair.
- Embark on a journey.
- Climb mountains.
- Jump out of an airplane (with a parachute, please).
- Contemplate the 100 billion stars of the Milky Way galaxy, and the 100 billion galaxies of the observable universe.
- Marvel at the wonder of human existence.
- Smile often. Cry when it urges you. Laugh at mistakes.
- Travel the world. Value your relationships. Love more deeply. Speak sincerely.
- Listen to others’ stories. Be generous. Demonstrate kindness. Give back if it is within your means.
Awaken your physical senses, and your emotions. Use them as tools to optimize your subjective reality, and live a life that is worth living. This is what it feels like to be human.
Here are some tunes and videos to help you get your spirituality on:
- Custom Playlist #1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NhXElzlrvk&list=PL_IPHavt1pDawQmSOaedS2kjUdOAZz9Aw
- Custom Playlist #2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKFed9LCong&list=PLcLTH-jXklCpsB5-bEehSJJAGDoXRmXjj
- Custom Playlist #3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XB_25uutxF4&list=PLcLTH-jXklCpgUudeHBcCRiFEctiDlPWO
- Spiritual Ascension Music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EukxHmAAYt4
- Surfing the Clouds, by SonicAid https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhOuopJRtfQ
- Follow the Sun, by Xavier Rudd https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E1bNmyPWww
- Spirit Bird, by Xavier Rudd https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmxSxKxBbQE
- Glory, Glory Hallelujah https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COPKiVmEim8
- Hallelujah, by Casting Crowns https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fORhnYILTSo
- Who Am I, by Casting Crowns https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBcqria2wmg
- Until the Whole World Hears, by Casting Crowns https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7qi2KlUffs
- Touch the Sky, Disney’s Brave https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvR9YOpDG4A
- I Am Moana, Disney’s Moana https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9qw2vN-bgk
- The Circle of Life, Disney’s The Lion King https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GibiNy4d4gc
- The Most Astounding Fact, question to Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D05ej8u-gU
- Pale Blue Dot, excerpt from book by Carl Sagan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wupToqz1e2g
- Pellucidity, by Yaima https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hsjx4dA3Z0
- I Hope You Dance, by Lee Ann Womack https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kku5xejGduo
- Philosopher Jason Silva on “Awe” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QyVZrV3d3o
- Adiemus, by Karl Jenkins https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL8kZ-iVk90
- Benedictus, by Karl Jenkins set to a cosmic voyage video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibwxzxER_pY
- One Love, by Bob Marley https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdB-8eLEW8g