Wednesday, December 16, 2009

6 Ways to be Spiritual


This is a post for those of you who want the benefits of spiritual practice without the traditional method turning to God or church.

#1 Stop trying to be spiritual

The moment you start trying to be spiritual is the moment you are not being spiritual. Trying too hard just creates the illusion of spirituality. Even worse are the self-righteous image conscious people who want to look spiritual. Get your head out of the clouds!

#2 Parkour

Also known as ‘free-running’, this practice of urban gymnastics can let you experience your body in a way that is truly unique, while getting exercise while you’re at it.

Atkinson (2009) describes his experience of free-running as the following:

“We took turns shepherding one another through the city, practicing speed and stealth in our movement at times as we made our way across the rolling and varied architectural terrain. The movement, and our underlying orientation in the session, encouraged me to let go of all conscious thought and simply be present with my breath, movement, and the physical environment. Lines separating roads, buildings, cultures, selves, and bodies disappeared. I had never experienced the city, or running for that matter, in this way. And even though I felt exhausted at the end of the session, a strange peace descended upon me.”

#3 Meditation

Visit my meditation post for various practical techniques:

Practical Meditation

#4 Contemplation

Albert Eisenstein said it best:

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery — even if mixed with fear — that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds: it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity. In this sense, and only this sense, I am a deeply religious man.”

The ‘religion’ referred to is a pantheistic metaphor for contemplative exploration into the nature of the universe

#5 Pilgrimage

This does not require a special trip to across the world; rather, it can be practiced anywhere using any method you choose.  A pilgrimage is defined as a journey to a sacred place. The delusion exists in the view  that the destination is the purpose. Just as in life, the true meaning lies is in the journey. A pilgrimage can consist of a hike, a road trip, or even a motorcycle ride across the country as seen in the American Run for the Wall motorcycle event.

#6 Being in Awe of Nature

As Richard Dawkins says:

“After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with color, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked—as I am surprisingly often—why I bother to get up in the mornings.”

Taking awe in life, existence, and the complexities of consciousness  that allow us to experience beauty, may be one of most spiritual endeavors. 



Atkinson, m. (2009). Parkour, Anarcho-Environmentalism, and Poiesis. Journal of   Sport  and  Social Issues. Volume, 33. Number, 2. 169 – 194

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