We’re re-starting a series we left probably six months ago titled: The Four Insatiable Urges of Humanity.
Admittedly, I took the hiatus from completing this series because I myself couldn’t articulate coherently the aspects of spirituality. Sure, I could do it theologically, and I could even go on about my experience, but I felt there was something missing from my explanation that would be necessary.
Much more has been written on spirituality than what’s included in this article, but even now sometimes ‘spirituality’ exceeds definition. And that’s just the thing with spirituality: you know there’s something there but you can’t quite put your finger on it.
That’s what religion is about. But hopefully religion is more than empty rituals and rules that manufacture experience. Hopefully we can create movements, memories, and experiences that transcend our .
There’s a nagging voice in our heads and maybe our ‘hearts’ that makes us ask a question like, “is there more to it than this?” The ‘this’ is the ‘thing’ or the ‘stuff’ that’s in our lives, it can be anything really; relationships, purpose, jobs, desires, would be some of the ‘this’.
Put simply, spirituality is everything that is within us that longs for what is beyond us.
Canada has been mired in a fashionable secular clay that has attempted to squelch any expression of the spiritual. Materialism has pushed aside the quest to reach beyond who we are. Fashions are, however, changing as we see people in our daily walks, perhaps even us, becoming more interested in a quest to discover more about who we are and what we long for.
You know the stuff: more yoga, more books on helping the self and the social condition, more about ‘mind, body, spirit’, more quiet spaces to reflect, more alternative medicine, more desire for community.
These all search for something in common–to right some kind of perceived incongruity in our lives by reaching beyond it.
But have you checked out the so-called answers to these searches? They’re innumerable! Why so many?
Perhaps it’s because when we try to answer the ‘why‘ we’re reaching ‘beyond’ we get answers that end with, “whatever is true for you is good, but that may not be true for anybody else.”
Book dealers make bundles of cash because people still haven’t found the right size that’s perfect for us.
We keep searching because we know the answer lies beyond ourselves, but when we reach out we grasp at all the wrong things.
Maybe instead of trying to quench our thirst for what’s beyond with temporary do-it-yourself fixes we need to be rescued not by ourselves alone but by somebody else.
If spirituality is everything that is within us that longs for what is beyond us, then for a moment let’s use God as that person you’re reaching out for. Even if you don’t believe in God it seems reasonable to assume that if he did exist that in some was he would be beyond you and me.
Part of making sense of ‘why God’ is to look back on where our quest for spirituality has taken us–generally to dead ends. On one hand we grasp at countless books and fads (the Secret anyone?) to fill the spiritual void yet we can’t find a permanent solution. On the other hand the Christian story is one where the beyond becomes imminent and attainable.
Jesus Christ enters into the history of humanity (incarnates) and reconnects humanity to what is beyond. This is a big deal because Christ is regarded as God yet intercedes to sympathize with the entirety of what it means to be human. This is a crucial component because the entire time we’re reaching beyond ourselves for something more, God is reaching towards us to reconnect.
Transcendence (what is beyond normal human experience) becomes imminent through incarnation. Or put another way:
spirituality is imminent when we reach towards God who has already extended towards us.
If we consider this, then spirituality becomes less about what we can do for ourselves, but what can be done within relationship. Between you and God, and perhaps even between you and your friends/family/loved ones.
What was beyond now becomes intimate.
Perhaps our quest for spirituality is tied to another yearning–a desire for relationship. I think it is, but that’s next week’s post.