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Zen style


31. Not Spirituality

Spirituality has always been a sincere quest for me. I really wanted to know the answers to my questions.

Spirituality as a lifestyle

It was never a superficial show-off to appear spiritual. It was never about burning incense, having Buddha statues in my garden and spiritual magazines on the coffee table. Although of course there is nothing wrong in itself with burning incense, Buddha statues and so on. But in my mind, those things don't have much to do with what I understand by spirituality.

(By the way: notice in the picture above again this need to unify and have symmetry. This you won't find in real Zen, which is never completely "perfect".)

Spirituality as religion

I was raised agnostic, thank God! I have never been able to see any truth in the stories and rituals of any religion, which does not mean that there aren't any people, who identify with some religion, who would experience spirituality as I mean it.

Spirituality as I once believed it

So my own spiritual story grew out of my need for guidance to be able to answer certain questions, such as why do I feel the way I do (lost and lonely), what would be the solution and what is this life anyway? I absorbed everything that presented itself as "knowledge", without really checking the validity of what I was reading or hearing. If it presented itself with a certain authority and it did not conform to the boring, conventional religiosity I saw around me, I accepted it as true.

When I was at the top (or bottom) of my so-called spiritual journey:

Less important beliefs for me were the belief in hidden "energy" systems in the body and hidden "dimensions" in the universe. These dimensions could contain "entities" that could communicate with us through a medium. I believed in astrology and divination. And I once believed in the existence of "special" numbers, such as the number 7.

Note that my whole "spirituality" was based on nothing but belief, never real knowing. It was all second-hand, from books and videos, the words of others.

On top of my "spiritual beliefs" I also believed the following:

I have had some remarkable experiences. But there is experience and then there is the interpretation of it. And the interpretation is always from memory, from words I've read or heard somewhere.

Not spirituality: everything we have learned and believe or think we know about what this life ultimately is. Because everything that has been learned, all those words and concepts, especially the things that we have been taught and accepted as being "spiritual", obstruct the view of this life as it is, as it presents itself here and now.