For Part I of the series, check out the original blog post On Spirituality at 20-years-old… For Part II of the series, check out One Spirituality at 20-years-old… part II. This will be the conclusion of this series, which focused on my early spiritual development. To recap, at age 16 I declared myself an atheist as an opposition to the religion I had been raised in being the only one I really knew. The fundamentalist/literalist and very much intolerant brand of Christianity was not for me and I thought my rejection of it meant that I was an atheist. A few years later, I took a World Religions course that opened my eyes and changed my perspective on my own struggle with spirituality. This is the beginning of my evolution in spiritual understanding.
When I wrote this journal, my young and inexperienced mind thought that I was profound in my ideas. I thought I was developing a new spiritual mindset, a new philosophy of life. This journal reflects those ambitious intentions in an introduction that I wrote for it.
September 11, 1997 12:51am
Introduction to Free-Thinking
I call it thinking freely; but to any given individual that concept could be unrelated and meaningless. Thinking freely is a basic understanding of thought; a logical process; a pattern of philosophy for which creation is set by. I would consider it a philosophy for life rather than a religion, for it has no mythology concept; no god incognates [sometimes I made up my own words]. Although I would consider it a philosophy, I still would follow it with a positive spirituality. Therefore, it could be considered a religious philosophy.
In 1500 B.C.E. (before common era), the first noted religion began in what is known as India [I was new to Religious Studies and research in general, so I may have been a little loose with my facts]. Although the mythology of the Dharma (Hindu) religion has a strong basis, the center of the religion is my main focus of interest. Being such a well-established and aged religion, I believe using ideas belonging to it are backed and many true and logical. This is why I feel necessary to name and use certain aspects of the Dharma religion in my own philosophy. Ideas produced from this religion, such as samsara, karma, moksha, Atman, etc… will therefore be ideas set forth in my free-thinking philosophy.
I would also like to include that I am an agnostic and a pluralist, meaning I am endlessly searching for the god figure, but I believe all religions are true. My personal feeling towards spirituality is: that with a positive spirituality, health can be expanded. Everyone must have a positive spirituality in one form or the other. If the philosophy I follow and believe is appealing, feel free to expand on it. If they are hot words in the wind, don’t listen.
September 14, 1997 12:45am
“It’s an energy-field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us and binds the galaxy together.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars)
I call the force, as described above, Atman, a Hindu word meaning soul.
October 2, 1997 4:11pm
So why do I call my philosophy free-thinking if it is set with certain principles?
I call it free-thinking because it is free from the doctrines, principles, ideology, and mythology of certain religions and beliefs, yet can still be involved and be a part of certain religions and beliefs. It is thinking freely from the restrains that have been placed on Advanced thought for thousands of years.
I believe in Evolution, Reincarnation, and One Supreme Power, but I am not a Darwinist, Buddhist, or Christian. I search for truth within principles that I find within myself, coming to my own conclusions… Is that sacrilege? I believe not, for it is not sacrilegious to my beliefs, but to someone else’s. This is the peace we must find within ourselves to become who and true individuals.
October 28, 1997 3:53am
Heaven or Nirvana, whatever it is called, seems to be in other religions a resting place for the soul. In life, the soul or Ajiva is an individual; it lives and grows on its own without the help of Atman, but with the help and cooperation of other Ajiva that it encounters in its life.
The return to Atman, or the death of whatever body has the Ajiva, is the state of heaven, nirvana, awakened consciousness. The time when Ajiva returns to Atman is like everything becomes one. All the thoughts, all the experiences, etc. are shared and thus we return to our loved ones, to our state of perfection, we become one with everything (i.e., something that we are unable to accomplish as Ajiva.)
When we become one with Atman, that is an awakening like everything that ever is, ever was, is shared, and everything is one. Then, when creation is required for a life to being again, a new Ajiva is taken from the Atman and put into whatever body it is given the form of, and it will live again, separated from Atman. The only goal is to further itself in life, so it can achieve inner truth and to one day rejoin Atman, and be recycled. This is my thought of heave, life, death, and reincarnation.
For there to be a true individual, he must be healthy in all aspects of life: spiritually, socially, emotionally, physically, intellectually, and environmentally. All these parts of life must have positive and constructive reinforcement. I find that the spiritual aspect in many cases can be negative or even not a part of someone’s life. I have come to the conclusion that there are two truths to spirituality:
- there is something greater beyond life and death
- to live healthily and comfortably, there must be a cooperative coexistence between all parts of creation
These two truths are two main ideas in all religions. They are the fundamental truths of a healthy spirituality.
And so ends the beginning of my spiritual quest. I’m not sure why I stopped writing in the notebook, but I’m sure it had to do with the realization that some of my use of Hindu words was wrong. For example, I conflated Brahman and Atman together. Atman would have been more accurately used to describe the Ajiva in my definition. Regardless, I was young and inexperienced, and over time became more and more knowledgable. My spirituality evolved significantly, but some of those important ideas that I had during this genesis of my spiritual evolution are the same as they are today.
As I read these musings, I can see the Panentheistic thought developing, as well as my tolerance and acceptance for all people’s beliefs and ways of life. It is through my spiritual development of looking inward to find the truth that I discovered who I am today. How do you seek truth?