Mystical Experience - The Interconnection of Everything: Spiritual versus Religious

(I have modified the Blog title to focus on the Mystical Experience which I view as being Spiritual)


On October 24, 2013, I posted a poem entitled “Spiritual but not Religious” on CS Poetry Corner:


I also posted it as a blog on December 20. 2013:


In my view, there is a clear distinction “Spiritual” and “Religious” that I wish to express in this blog.

I am aware that some may not agree with my interpretation of the terms which is as follows:

Spiritual

The term “spirit” suggests an active living force or energy which may be termed “life energy”. This energy pervades all living things, whether animal or plant. Some may wish to restrict the use of spirit to human beings only. Yet, what is the justification, if any, for such an anthropocentric view?

Spirituality entails a personal awareness of one's connection with the life energy of all living things, whether plant or animal. This awareness is based on direct experience or insight, independent of any dogma or religious teaching.

Such an experience may occur as a mystical feeling somewhat similar to Jane Goodall's experience as mentioned in her Earth Day 2018 message:

“There was a moment when I was in Gombe National Park and it began to pour rain, and then the rain stopped and I could smell the smell of wet hair on the chimpanzees and I could hear the insects singing loudly, and I just felt absolutely at one and it was a sense of awe and wonder.
Out in the rainforest you learn how everything is interconnected and each little species, even though it may seem insignificant has a role to play in the tapestry of life.”

(courtesy of Google)


Religious

The conventional view of religion is a system of beliefs or dogma pertaining to a supernatural deity or deities, referred to as a god or gods.
God is viewed as an anthropomorphism.

Anthropomorphism -
an interpretation of what is not human or personal in terms of human or personal characteristics.
(Merriam Webster Dictionary)

To be religious is to have an understanding of certain concepts and the relationship between them as espoused by religion. This is the backbone of theology. One may attempt to seek a deeper experience beyond the conceptual level but it must be firmly tied to the relevant belief system or dogma.


The term “religion” may be viewed in a general sense and in a specific sense.

In the general sense, it is viewed as an aspect of culture, regardless of its specific details. I think that it is from such a perspective that some nonanthropomorphic systems like Buddhism, particularly Zen, may be classified as religion.

However, in the specific sense, Zen goes beyond any dogma or belief system which is a characteristic of religion:
“No dependence on words and letters. Directly pointing to one’s heart, Seeing into one’s own true nature and thus attaining Spiritual Awakening.”

Comments (40)

Religion, based on some belief or dogma, is a social artifact or institution.
Institutions provide structure and a sense of meaning in human social existence.
Some other examples of institutions are the educational system and the legal system.

Religion may help to provide psychological security by helping some to deal with the uncertainties of daily life and the event of death – something that awaits each one of us.

Just as a child may feel comforted and secure in the caring provided by its parents or significant others, so too, in later life, many seek a similar relationship with a “supernatural entity” as espoused by religion.

Anthropomorphism is a key factor in the difference between being spiritual versus being religious.
(CS, in recogniton of this difference, caters for it by having a special category:
“spiritual but not religious”)
ashlander
Socrates,with the utmost respect
I will convey how I view creation perceptions by others ..some people can only ponder in relation to their own creation the analogy of which came first the chicken or the egg.
Then they give up.
Other people seek their ancestral roots.
dunno in monkeys.
ashlander
If beliefs are passed,or discovered then with these folks it is simply that they have no obligation to think for oneself or transfer information in this regard.
Maybe it is not a missing piece of the puzzle to them.Just an amusement.
Keepers
Spirituality entails a personal awareness of one's connection with the life energy of all living things, whether plant or animal. This awareness is based on direct experience or insight, independent of any dogma or religious teaching.

Well said Socrates. thumbs up

ash

Thanks for your comments.

How do you view the terms "spiritual" and "religious"?
Here is the poem that I posted, and to which I referred:

Spiritual but not Religious
Author: socrates44

Spiritual but not religious
what does it really mean
This claim is quite prevalent
on today's scene

Is it just a new age fad
or is it contradictory
If in fact it is the latter
then what is the discrepancy

Religion has divided a person
into body, mind and spirit
It claims it seeks the spirit's welfare
and is sincere about it

If religion really deals with the spirit
then why is there such a fuss
that many still continue to claim
they are spiritual but not religious
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Posted: Oct 24, 2013

About this poem:
Many persons today claim to be spiritual but not religious, even at CS.
I am curious to know the views of CS members on this topic and to share them with others.
What do you think? Please comment especially if you are such a person!
keepers

Thank you.

The quote by Deepak Chopra that you posted sums up the difference between "religion" and "spirituality" quite well.
ashlander
I loved your poem.
To me they aren't able to convey International and Cultural Traditions which have intermingled over thousands of years.
I think we may have experienced someday very different thousands of years ago...but not as monkeys,perhaps more evolved back then in our lifestyles and expressions of Faith.dunno Simple Truths.
ashlander
Something,not some day.blushing
viking67
...I used to be spiritual before...but then I sobered up...

cool wine
viking

Thanks for your comment.

I suspect your reference is to "spirituous", and not "spiritual".

Definition of spirituous:

containing or impregnated with alcohol obtained by distillation
(Merriam-Webster dictionary)

Glad you sobered up!

Nice play on words anyway!
Soc, for me spiritual is innate.
It is being fully aware of the world and all its animate and inanimate parts - animals; plants; mountains; rivers, and of course humans, and being fully part of that world. it may include a belief in an other-worldliness, but only as

Religion should be like that, but being manmade come with inbuilt human faults. It is about power and division (my god is better than your god) and the basic premise of getting your rewards in the next life if you do as they say, limits their positive interaction with this world, as the next life is given more importance.
A brief definition of anthropomorphic deism -
God created man in his own image. And man, being a gentleman, returned the favor.

A variation on Jeff Foxworthy's running '...you might be a redneck' joke...
If god hates the same people you hate - you might've created god in your image & likeness.

cowboy
molly

Thanks for your input:

“spiritual is innate”

I concur with your statement.
A person does not need religion to be spiritually aware.

“It is being fully aware of the world and all its animate and inanimate parts - animals; plants; mountains; rivers, and of course humans, and being fully part of that world.”

Very well stated!
“...You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars...”

The above-mentioned quote from the Desiderata reflects our interconnectedness to everything in the universe.
It is a feeling of awe and reverence which may be termed “spiritual” and is independent of any anthropomorphism which is a key factor of religion.
Miclee

“God created man in his own image. And man, being a gentleman, returned the favor.”

Thanks for your input in the quote from George Bernard Shaw illustrating anthropomorphism.
I agree with it fully.
Earlier in the blog, I made reference to Jane Goodall' s experience as spiritual , in which she felt absolutely at one and a sense of awe and wonder with the interconnectedness of everything; such an experience may be termed mystical.

John Blofeld, in his book “Beyond The Gods” says:

There are moments
when a marvellous experience
leaps into mind
as though coming
from another world
The magic that calls it forth
is often so fleeting
as to be forgotten
in the joy of the experience itself -
it may be a skylark bursting into song
the plash of a wave
a flute played by moonlight
or the fateful drumming
or shrieking of a mountain storm
a lovely smile perhaps
or a single gesture
form or hue
of compelling beauty
a familiar scene
transformed by an unusual quality of light
a cluster of rocks
suggestive of beings imbued with life
or the spell may be wrought by
a sudden exaltation
the jerking of the mind
into an unknown dimension
a curtain hitherto unnoticed
is suddenly twitched aside
and for a timeless moment
there stands partially revealed
- a mystery

He goes on to say:

"Of one thing I am sure - a mystical experience, whether vague or intense, is nothing less than a direct intuition of Ultimate Reality".
Blofeld continues:

The path that leads past heaven
and far beyond the highest god-realms
runs straight from the spot
where we happen to be standing
It is mysterious and invisible
to minds befogged by concepts
such as good and evil
light and dark
going and arriving
self and other
is and is not

To perceive it requires
the seeing beyond sight
the hearing beyond sound
The truth is grasped
when the mind in its stillness
reaches the no-place beyond thought
Knowledge is discarded
Wisdom remains
God and no-god are found to be identical

No mental concept is involved
only experience
-a unique perception
joy-bestowing
that leads to imperturbable tranquillity
to recognition of the beauty
inherent in every flower
in every grain of dust
cement or dung
and to unqualified liberation
from the human state
The experience is nameless
being luminously perceptible
but utterly beyond description
This is the way of mysticism

Unfortunately
everything pertaining to mysticism
lies beyond definition and description
Transcending logic
it deals with truth
that is attainable only
by direct intuition
The Taoist Lao-tzu says of it:
He who knows does not speak
He who speaks does not know
I feel certain that there are CS members who have had similar experiences. I wish to invite you to share such experiences with others here if you do not mind.

I have had such experiences of my own which I hope to post in subsequent blogs.
ashlander
Maya "Osho"

ashlander
One interpretation of this depiction.
"Maya is just in between–it almost exists. As far as day-to-day activities are concerned, it can be taken as reality. Only in the ultimate sense, from the peak of your illumination, it becomes unreal, illusory."
Keepers
The mind is maya. wine
ash
keepers

Thanks for your inputs.
Based on what I have read by Osho, Maya is between Reality and Illusion. Through meditation a person can go beyond Maya and experience Ultimate Reality.
Fritjof Capra, author of “The Tao of Physics” states in the Preface:

“Five years ago, I had a beautiful experience which set me on a road that has led to the writing of this book. I was sitting by the ocean one late summer afternoon, watching the waves rolling in and feeling the rhythm of my breathing, when I suddenly became aware of my whole environment as being engaged in a gigantic cosmic dance. Being a physicist, I knew that the sand, rocks, water and air around me were made of vibrating molecules and atoms, and that these consisted of particles which interacted with one another by creating and destroying other particles. I knew also that the Earth’s atmosphere was continually bombarded by showers of ‘cosmic rays’, particles of high energy undergoing multiple collisions as they penetrated the air. All this was familiar to me from my research in high-energy physics, but until that moment I had only experienced it through graphs, diagrams and mathematical theories. As I sat on that beach my former experiences came to life; I ‘saw’ cascades of energy coming down from outer space, in which particles were created and destroyed in rhythmic pulses; I ‘saw’ the atoms of the elements and those of my body participating in this cosmic dance of energy; I felt its rhythm and I ‘heard’ its sound, and at that moment I knew that this was the Dance of Shiva, the Lord of Dancers worshipped by the Hindus."
Tropical Splendour

Tropical sunshine
streaming down
from a clear blue and white sky
with fleecy white clouds
edged with wisps of mist
like giant grains of popcorn
drifting slowly by
way up in the sky

The sunshine
bathing the sugar cane fields below
with golden sunbeams
saturating the texture
of its long grass-like leaves
with its radiance
enlivening them and
transforming the fields into
an emerald sea
of brilliant green

Tropical breeze
swaying the sugar cane leaves
gently caressing them
making them dance in unison
like the waves of the ocean

The dancing leaves
vibrating in harmony
with each other
create a murmuring sound
that builds in intensity
and reaches a crescendo
like the roar
of the waves of the ocean
setting the leaves
in a wild dance of ecstasy
and then gently subsiding
to the soothing sound
of a gentle breeze
inducing a state
of peacefulness
and tranquillity

At such moments
alone with nature
one can feel a strange unity
with everything around
Unity that is so strong
and overpowering
that one loses consciousness
of one's individual self
one has no consciousness
of time and space
but only of that moment
- the infinite eternal NOW

One's consciousness seems to merge
with a deeper consciousness
of the unity of all things
in nature and the cosmos
One experiences an awareness
of a deeper reality
that is impossible
to describe in words

One makes contact
with one's cosmic roots
in a dimension where
time and space
are irrelevant
It is the synchronisation
of one's consciousness
with the absolute
and ultimate reality
of the cosmos




As a young boy, around nine or ten, I used to love to be in the sugar-cane fields in my native tropical island, Trinidad. I got a natural high, being dazzled by the brilliant sunshine and listening to the sighing of the sugar cane leaves as they swayed in the breeze like the waves of the ocean. I felt that Nature was speaking to me, transporting me to another world where I connected with my cosmic roots, becoming part of the unity of all things.
ashlander
I could read that over and over again,its so beautiful.purple heart
Keepers
Based on what I have read by Osho, Maya is between Reality and Illusion. Through meditation a person can go beyond Maya and experience Ultimate Reality.

Actually Soc Maya it the illusion which gets in the way of reality, it's lead astray by the ego. Maybe that should be my blog today, mmmm, busy loading photos right now. wine
Very nicely said Socrates.

Like Ash says...you could almost feel what you described here. smitten

That's my description of being spiritual..to be at one with nature and be aware of all our surroundings.

Unfortunately..many seem to have forgotten how to connect as they take so many things for granted.
Swami
Dear Socrate ...

What you wrote here is the product of your mind. Is based on what you read, saw, experimented. Is based on your memory, on your past. Is commng from your mind.
You try to explain words. The semantics teach us that words are alive. Those change their meaning in time, between cultures and languages.
Italian say "Traduttore traditore". That means "the translater is a traitor"
Between your mind and us there are many translating devices. All those are traitors. Your message arrive to us distorted or confusing.

I will say that people cannot be teached. They learn complete allone. This learning process includes a lot of stages. First stage is the childhood when they put questions all day long. A discovery phase. According to the answers they receive and how they absorbe this answers the people may continue to the next stages in different ways.
.
After a while the mind is full with information stored in the memory. Next people start to consider that all the information stored are valid an true and they start to use those as those are. This is the belief. Stage two .

When acting like this they start to discover that the assumptions are not always true. And they progress to stage 3. Questioning the information they accumulated in time (may be conciouns or not).

Stage 4 means deprogramming. Some people have the chance to be fully deprogrammed before their death. But most of those not.

What I said refers to individuals. Each person has his beliefs according to his/her past life.

The problem at society level is that the society created one (more) belief systems which do not alloud people to be deprogrammed. This are dogma and ideologies.

What is spirituality? Be careful do not sustain your own belief as being the reality.
Of course, what Swami says here makes a lot of sense. thumbs up

Maybe I´ve also reached the stage 4? dunno
Bspoken4
(Religion) We dance round a ring and suppose, (Spirituality) But the secret sits in the middle and knows.... Robert Frost and I...innocent laugh

Respect to the OP.... wave
Soc it to 'em..! thumbs up
Hi BS, long time no see! applause

"Dance around a ring"? that sounds familiar... ummm... I also like to dance around a bonfire, with the sound of drums....smitten
Ash

Thanks for your lovely comment
Keepers

Thanks for your comment.
Daniela

Thanks for your input.
Swami

"What you wrote here is the product of your mind. Is based on what you read, saw, experimented. Is based on your memory, on your past. Is commng from your mind".

I assume that your reference to memory relates to conceptual knowledge acquired through what a person has “read, saw, experimented” (as you put it).

Mystical experience to which this blog refers is a direct immediate insight into Ultimate Reality linked with the realization of the unity of all things.
Direct immediate insight or direct intuition is not based on conceptual knowledge. In fact, it is at a deeper level than conceptual knowledge.

I agree that through the process of meditation, one may come to a level of consciousness that is deeper than conceptual knowledge.
However, I do not think that such a process of meditation is a necessary requirement to experience the stated level of consciousness that is deeper than conceptual knowledge.

Such a level of consciousness can also be experienced directly as a “mystical experience” of which John Blofeld states:

No mental concept is involved
only experience
-a unique perception
joy-bestowing
that leads to imperturbable tranquillity
to recognition of the beauty
inherent in every flower
in every grain of dust
cement or dung
and to unqualified liberation
from the human state
The experience is nameless
being luminously perceptible
but utterly beyond description
This is the way of mysticism

Unfortunately
everything pertaining to mysticism
lies beyond definition and description
Transcending logic
it deals with truth
that is attainable only
by direct intuition
The Taoist Lao-tzu says of it:
He who knows does not speak
He who speaks does not know

Jane Goodall's experience, which I have mentioned, in which she “ became tuned in” to the interconnectedness of the different species in the rainforest and experienced a sense of awe and wonder provides an example of this.
Bspoken4

I think your comment reflects a very apt distinction between religion and spirituality.

Thanks.
ashlander
Do you ever wonder if islands are inherently mystical in and of themselves.
ash

I do not think islands have any unique claim to being inherently mystical.
Swami

“I will say that people cannot be teached.”

Were'nt you “teached” at school and university?

“After a while the mind is full with information stored in the memory. Next people start to consider that all the information stored are valid an true and they start to use those as those are. This is the belief.”

I do not think a person has to wait until his/her mind is full with information stored in his/her memory before he/she believes the information that is valid and true.
Besides, how does a person when his/her mind is full with information?


So Swami, you tell me!

What is Spirituality?

Would YOU like to post a blog on Connecting Singles?

Would YOU like to post a blog on Connecting Singles? Have you written blogs that you'd like to share with other members? Posting your blogs shows your skill and creativity and helps members get to know you better. Your blog will appear on the Connecting Singles Blogs page and also in a link on your profile page. Click here to post a blog »

 
We use cookies to ensure that you have the best experience possible on our website. Read Our Privacy Policy Here