HUMANIST CORNER July 2019
“Spirituality is meant to take us beyond our tribal identity into a domain of awareness that is more universal.” Deepak Chopra
“Zen does not enforce spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes”. Alan Watts
“This is my religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
The thoughts that follow on the topic of “spirituality” seem a good fit for the Fourth of July, the day they’re being written. A day we celebrate our great commonalities! They could also serve as a post script to Dr. Chandler’s message to us on “Secular Spirituality” in which he frequently referred to our core value of “humanism.”
The Latin “spiritus” means breath, much of it flowing down to us through Western philosophical and religious tradition as the “breath of life.” Certainly in my own humanistic life stance I’ve been fortunate to draw many such breaths, and sung it with you (Spirit of Life) on many a Sunday.
Dr. Chandler’s summary included meditation which many find increases their spiritual quality of life. Likely that’s especially true for those who found decreasing solice in traditional theologies and dogma. They often self-describe as agnostics, religious humanists or “nones.”
Spirituality is something that moves us deeply, if only for a brief moment, re-energizing our own humanity. It’s prominent in native-American appreciation of life. ALL is spirit. Deists follow a similar path. Places, objects, humans and our fellow creatures – all sacred. Every pebble in the river flowing by. Yet as the ancient Heraclitis reminded us, you cannot step into the same river twice! It has flowed on. You have flowed on.
Spirituality lies even beyond nature’s making, in the creative domain of our own human story. Art and literature allow the human spirit to soar. What atheist could fail to be moved by many ancient buildings and places? Notre Dame, even now being carefully repaired, will still be Notre Dame! Spirituality hovers over such places, like an old friend’s presence, regardless of religious or national context. Their warmth and beauty created by human inspiration and talent rather than heavenly decree.
Consider the sheer spirituality of human transcripts as well, far beyond the scope of many “holy” books. Read our own “Declaration of Independence.” The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” produced in San Francisco by a human family worn down by the destruction and destitution of war. I have to add favorites of my own, the three Humanist Manifestos vital to my own spirituality. All stir up special, spiritual visions within ourselves with little aid from an elusive master or controller “out there.”