Spiritual Naturalism?

Today’s article by guest writer Bill Waters…

Photo (cc) Brooke Hoyer.

What are we really interested in when we actually explore or take on some philosophical, religious or spiritual view?

It is interesting that we humans actually are most often imbued with, or somehow acquire a tendency to “interpret” our experience of the phenomenal world in a way that can be expressed “linguistically” or perhaps in some other symbolic form, soon after we are able to speak, even though it may be completely naive. There is a potential for explanation or interpretation that begins to manifest early in our lives and then matures in ways that are dependent on the demands of survival and those of our respective cultures.

The emergence of these abilities have obviously served our best interests in terms of survival and have provided the basis (time and mental resources) for us to consider the nature of our world and our place in it, but there is a “messiness” to this process that I wish to point out.

We all know that there have been many creatures that have ultimately failed in their adaptive process to become a “viable” species. Even some isolated human cultures have self-destructed due to a lack of flexibility in their otherwise successful adaptations, and thus became extinct… We cannot be completely sure what being “viable” may really mean in the cosmic scheme of things, and in addition our habit of becoming bound to particular interpretations of phenomena, may leave us blindsided to the realities of our existence… Soooo, it seems important to not take the existence of human creatures as a “given” and that our being such “special” children of the cosmos, as we may seem, somehow insures our continuity… It only takes a cursory view of the various news media to see that we are approaching, or already involved in an “existential” crisis that may be fatal.

But, at the same time there are signs of a developing sanity among us, and an appreciation of the wisdom and compassion that is our potential, This development has become evident with the flourishing of “spiritual naturalism”, and similar initiatives, that may subdue the rampant “spiritual materialism” and “spiritual indifference” that has become so prevalent among us. Take a look at Spiritual Naturalism. Its not new; help make a new and fresh expression of it.


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Bill Waters says it is much easier to live up to one’s reputation if you have none… And, that having moved from place to place and having earned a living as a “computer jock” made that an easy project. The main influence of his writing has been a long and fruitful appreciation of the various flavors of Buddhism. Not a Buddhist himself, he still feels that its emphasis on “Wisdom and Compassion” provides the best chemistry or catalyst for self realization…. He was a student of Chogyam Trungpa for a few years and has taught beginning Buddhist meditation in that context. Born in 1936, he is now retired and lives in Colorado.

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