For those of you who want spirituality without religion, I encourage you to meet Sam Harris. He wrote a wonderful guide to meditation as a rational practice, informed by neuroscience and psychology. It’s called Waking Up: A Guide To Spirituality Without Religion.
Most of us suspect that important truths can be found in the experiences of the Buddha and figures like Jesus, Lao Tzu, Rumi, and the other saints and sages of history. Sam says that there is more to understanding reality than science and secular culture generally allow,but it’s how we pay attention to the present moment which largely determines the quality of our lives.
Waking Up is part memoir and part exploration of the scientific underpinnings of spirituality. I encourage you to check it out.
Personally, even though I was a Buddhist monk for 2+ years, I’ve never considered myself Buddhist. I consider myself a little bit of everything and nothing at the same time.
My Buddhist monk name was “Dhammiko”, which means ‘one whose faith lies solely in the Dhamma’ (the way things actually are). This has always rang true for me, especially when I read an interview that had a profound impact on me.
S.N. Goenka, a revolutionary teacher of vipassana meditation, once said,
“I don’t teach Buddhism. I am not a Buddhist…
In the entire words of Buddha and in the commentaries, the word boddh —the equivalent of “Buddhist”— is missing. Buddha taught only dhamma. Dhamma means the law of nature, truth. Those who follow that are called dhammiko. If Buddha never made anybody a Buddhist, who am I to make someone a Buddhist? If Buddha didn’t teach Buddhism, who am I to teach Buddhism?
Buddha taught dhamma; I am teaching dhamma. Buddha made people dhammiko; I am making people dhammiko.”
Regardless of your spirituality, may we all follow our own north star rooted in kindness and respect.
Wishing you well,
Founder, Mindfulness Exercises
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