So who am I, and what is this blog, Hard Core Spirituality, about?

I'm a mystic of uncertain doctrinal parentage :-) , which puts me in the pollsters category of "spiritual but not religious".

That category is really a non-category. It includes those who mix and match their spirituality, taking care to seek out universal principles, and those who mix and match taking care to leave out anything that resembles discipline and responsibility. It joins those who follow an  inspiration with those who eagerly accept as true anything and everything that claims to be inspired, however preposterous it may be.

It wouldn't matter which it was, I suppose, if it were not that spiritual matters are real things. An entire for-profit industry has arisen to sell manufactured "spirituality" to the vulnerable, and like frauds in the rest of the real world, they cause real harm, in ways that their victims probably did not imagine they could be harmed. And because I understand that the Golden Rule is a universal, unavoidable, obligation,  I've tried to help the injured when I've met them.

If I had to summarize the points of this blog, they are:

  • You don't need a religion, and you don't need a teacher, but that does not mean you don't need the kind of discipline religions worldwide have spoken of for millennia. Spiritual discipline is a natural law, like gravity. Try to ignore it, and you will fall and hit something.

  • You can't play at mysticism. It's serious business. Embark on it only if you are willing to lose everything, even your life, because everything is what will be asked of you. Go read stories of the world's great mystics if you don't know what I mean, and pay attention to the accounts of struggle and loss. Then make your decision: jump in prepared to sacrifice, or choose to keep an ordinary life and ordinary spirituality.

  • Spirituality does not void the need for reason. In fact, it makes reason that much more important. If your mechanic told you that in order to fix the radiator s/he'd have to replace the gas tank, you wouldn't fall for it. Don't fall for the for-profit gurus who want to sell you equally preposterous nonsense. Remember, a spiritual wound is as real as a wound to your wallet (and, by the way, paying for spiritual instruction makes as much sense as paying your mechanic for the air s/he put into the air filter).

  • That Golden Rule thing? It's real. Your obligation to act with compassion towards all beings is not fulfilled by turning karma on its head and blaming the unfortunate for their own misfortune. Compassion is not properly expressed as tolerance for perpetrators and agitated criticism towards the unfortunate. It's expressed through caring for those who have been harmed (even those who suffer, arguably, as a consequence of their own folly, because who among us isn't a fool?) and a forceful rebuke for those who do harm. 

  • Sympathy for perpetrators and blame for their victims is rationalized evasion of responsibility at best, and identification with perpetrators and intent to follow in their footsteps at worst. It can never be tolerated as harmless. It lies as near as anything can to the very heart of darkness.
When I am not writing blog entries, I'm making prayer beads of the world (shameless plug: go buy some), maintaining a few nonprofit websites, and serving a beautiful rescue parrot named Peri.

No comments:

Post a Comment