The Essential Nature of Spiritual Secularism

This is a guest post from our Summit brother, Coreman, (@Coreman2200 on Twitter). This is a piece that I asked the brother to write for Asylum…of course, him being Summit, I don’t expect we’ll need any disclaimers…*smiles*.


sec·u·lar·ism?[sek-yuh-luh-riz-uhm] noun
1. secular spirit or tendency, especially a system of political or social philosophy that rejects all forms of religious faith and worship.
2. the view that public education and other matters of civil policy should be conducted without the introduction of a religious element.


spir·it·u·al·i·ty?[spir-i-choo-al-i-tee] noun, plural -ties.
1. the state or quality of being dedicated to God, religion, or spiritual things or values, esp as contrasted with material or temporal ones.
2. incorporeal or immaterial nature.


The contrast between these two concepts will be either harmonizing or schismatic. The binding of these two concepts, as “Spiritual Secularism,” could then prove to be quite the hilarious pairing, what with their contrasting and conflicting notions. The suggestion that two such words (just words) with largely opposite interpretations of “the” world view, being brought together into a singular construct is perhaps laughable. I have come to believe, however, that such a harmonizing of contrasts is important…essential. That for either extreme without the light of the other breaks the whole. That if either is deficient in the expression of the other, neither effectively tell the entire Truth.


Such is my thinking.


All things, from interpretation to realization, reflect all things. That which is of the earth and the ground and the calculated reflect that which is of the unseen and the questionable and that which dwells within One, felt and seldom accurately expressed by that One. The spiritual or religious mind with no connection to the earthly and the man and the physical nature around him is as devastating (and in many a case, proven more so) as the idea that no such connection to the divine and the ethereal and the mystical breeds no notion of a true Love and wholeness/Oneness.


To tend to the (worldly) ego/form and ignore the (universal) Self/God is as foolhardy as it is to look to a belief system that denies what happens before our very physical eyes. No God will save us from ourselves, if we (as gods, ourselves) affect no such salvation. There is no hope (ignore the flowery interpretations of that word, and See it in as worldly a sense as you can imagine) for us as a species if there is no connection to something more absolute and abundant than the concrete. If we cannot see a connection between us, we will continue to divide, devolve, and then fall. I consider this a reflection of our Oneness denying an Absolute Truth for the delusion of perceived falsehoods. See, “The System”, or “Nationalism”, or “Racial Division”.


For the spiritualist to acknowledge that One’s name and Presence is written in the stars/celestial bodies ~ that one’s “destiny” can be read on a chart that reflects the moment and position of one’s birth ~ and not think, “well, maybe this is so because of the gravitational or otherwise physical influence of such heavy masses upon one’s physical form..” just seems like a huge oversight and disconnect, to me. For a man of intellectual prestige to know the nature of our chemical make up, and our molecular make up, and the atoms therein and in all things/beings, and the sparks of energy that which compose those atoms, and thence, All things, and not realize that there is a Oneness, if only on the the subatomic level of All Creation ~ just seems to me to be a willful division and denial of a fuller Truth he claims to seek.


A good friend once explained to me, a long time ago, “the thing about Life is, should the conditions permit, it will happen.” The magic of carbon. But what does the extremely spiritual/religious do? Externalize the brilliance and divinity that is the molecular and evolutionary and otherwise wonderfully worldly/physical process, and praise a God or a Creator or a Source. I suppose the inclination to praise a Source for how the molecules react is not a terrible thing – but if you are denying the very physical and scientifically appreciable aspects to this All, then are we not in some sense missing the full point? The denier of spiritual sensibilities will, too, seek to deny the fullest bounty of that which has become – cheapen it as an event that is simply of formula. And in the same breath, deny the blessing that is Oxygen.


These things are synchronous and ever reflective. They are as the same. As are All things ~ it seems to be a fool’s game to separate such Truth per perspectives and interest in what One wants to see, show, and prove.


Quantum physics has suggested that it may, in fact, be possible to connect with and relate to energies/particles at any distance, at any instance – a Being half way across 25 billion universes may feel the resonance of my being, the shift of my charged particles. We have seen many a politician utilize the power and energy of the people to further their own worldly ambitions. Most have felt their intuition tell them not to do something, did it anyway, and realized the negative ramifications (now the kicker here, gods, is this: did he realize/Create those negative reactions with his decision/Action, or his Mind? Did he intuitively Know or Create his future? Are these things, divided by logic and label, ever really separate?). Who, then, could tell me that my third eye and my outlandish connection to All is impossible? Who could tell me that my influence isn’t infinite? And who could tell me that some day these unfathomable natures won’t be explained to futuristic children in the form of math equations?


I think I have wandered. Simply, my point is, that the spiritual (‘religion’ *shudders*, or whatever connection to the divine) must be paired with the pragmatic nature of the secular so that the harmony and balance to build further/Higher can exist. Both aspects of the same Oneness must be explored and furthered for us to fully explore and further ourselves.


You Are Divine and You Are Here. Such Is Truth, not to be made separate or distinct.

God, Spirituality, #NShit…

The more I write and interact with you all here in the Asylum, the more I realize the purpose of good interactive design. As a writer, you are allowed to put certain working concepts that you are still building to the side, with blogging you have to present your present thinking in real time on a pretty consistent basis. What that means for me, being sort of a polymath, and having various interests, is that I need to expand my navigation and build many categories. Also explain in some sort of visual manner that each post is building on the last post of that topic. It is like writing a book in public. I was taught that the wise artist never shows their work until complete…that’s not going to do much for my self-evaluation later tonight…any who…In my defense, even when I know I can’t give you the quantity that you may desire, I endure to give you quality.


Much like my thinking on categorizing and building on topics, my spiritual beliefs and knowledge tend to work the same. I realize that most people reading this might believe that “GOD” or their “Higher Power” has an ego, or a personality, yet, I don’t. I believe that all is ALL. Yeah, I know that statement is about as vague as the initial proposition of a prostitute, yet I have this need to develop all my public explanations of my beliefs in simple terms. Possibly why I was drawn to Twitter in the manner that I was. In a more specific statement, my belief is that everything in existence, the complete set of all that is, even beyond what the senses of the best hearing or seeing or smelling sentient beings can know, is what I refer to as “God”. Some say the “universal mind”, yet I tend to think most people will conceptualize towards the anthropomorphic. That is, they will think of how their mind works, and ascribe the same characteristics of their inner world to that of what we are calling “Universal Mind” or “God”. Which is all the same quite possible, just not something my logic allows me to adhere to at the moment.


If I say that my conceptualization of God, which is for the most part all we can ever discuss, is a mathematical formula, then I’ll lose most of my audience’s understanding. If I say that you are a mathematical formula within the whole of a fractal based on a similar formula, then I might lose you even more. Mainly, I believe that is because most of us like to base our understanding of the human on emotive responses. We tend to think solely about the emotional aspects of the person, and not the consistent patterns that we all share – the more structured and easily enumerated elements. And yet, many of us in certain religious and philosophical communities enjoy saying things like, “Life is math, and math is life.” Of course, the minute I describe sexual and intimate scenarios with mathematical nomenclature, I get treated like the nerd in gym class. Ironically, there are mathematical formulas for the labile, or reactionary in chemistry. In fact, I’d say a precise mind, with enough of a grasp on the abstract, such as in calculus, would be able to formulate a function for pretty much all that exist.


For me, there is no separation between the spiritual and all else. It is simply a body. My particular body is a composite of billions of ‘separate’ entities, and yet all serving one singular purpose, at the moment, to get me to figure out how to explain all this complex shit in a simple and even humorous manner. That means I believe that my politics are spiritual. My economics are spiritual. This shouldn’t be too difficult to grasp for those of us in the United States since our religions are embedded into both our politics and our economics regardless of conventional belief. We say that there is a separation between church and state, and yet “In God We Trust” is visibly printed on all of our bank notes and coins. Our political representatives and even our political pundits have made it a habit to say, “God Bless America”, or “God Bless the United States of America”. In my thinking, religion was actually institutionalized for such purposes. Any statements that suggests differently are nominal at best.


As I’ve hinted at earlier, all of our knowledge, even most of our beliefs are what we call a “build”. They are concepts, hypothesis, and theories, accepted theories (also referred to as facts) that have been dialectically argued, or forcibly agreed upon over the course of human existence and handed to us like a cognitive baton. Often, what we do with these ideas depends on the experiences, critical thinking skills, and ability to forge an identity or even find gain in the beliefs or theories that we have been handed. Integrity be damned, it makes all the sense in the world to me when I see people that I know are actually atheist to publicly promote Christianity in a country that wars under the banner of Christianity for political or economic gain. In the same vein, it makes all the sense in the world to me for a professed anarchist to justify why they stand up at ball games with their hands on their heart during the national anthem. As stated, I don’t separate spirituality from politics or economics, and part of spirituality is an understanding of the more reactive elements that are influenced by forces outside themselves.( I’m a complicated son of a wonderful woman, aren’t I?)


From socialization we are given our template of acceptable behaviors and in many ways our ideologies with regard to race, class, and sex. That template becomes a normalizing influence in our lives. As a person that has a record for rule-breaking and dissenting from social norms, I must admit, it is because I know and recognize the norms that cause me to be successful in rule breaking, or more importantly, effective. The same with the spiritual. There is a governing body of laws that allow the material existence that we must recognize as “the material existence”–or for those that accept the possibility of multiple dimensions, “OUR material existence”–to have order.


Although much of our existence is governed by randomness, the decisions of sentient beings with “will power” or “instincts”, or “natural selection”, there is another area of our existence that is much less protean, and even the labile can be controlled, or at least predictions of their behavior can be accurately surmised. My experiences have shown me that the same way a scientist that understands the rules or the patterns of radical elements can control for the various outcomes of that element’s reactions to other elements, so can one who understands the patterns, or most importantly, the guiding principles, of a labile personality control the behaviors, or at least create conditions that will promote the most desired outcome from such a personality.


Within that understanding comes a need for people to believe in not only a “God” that is nothing more than an all-powerful personage, but also an all caring one. Terms such as “Father” are used in many cultures to embody this idea of a power guide that only hurts as a form of “tough love”. Concomitant with that is this idea of a morally and ethically superior creature that is always right. Justifications for the reasons why good people die abound throughout cultural literature, as means to alleviate the cognitive dissonance that one might experience when considering why such an omnipotent and beneficent being would “allow” such activities to occur. As a standard of practice, those that are members of communities that profess such beliefs collectively, force upon one another absolute codes of morally dictated behaviors. Even those that simply possess the knowledge of said sorts of groups are held to often intolerable levels of human discipline. In the black community, many have mistaken simple awareness, or “consciousness”, as an invite to harshly persecute and judge. Often this is done without considering what a person’s actual ethical responsibilities and priorities lie. Ethical considerations often being relative, I have witnessed this become a very bloody sport, in deed. I am sure that someone reading the title of this post asked themselves,”How he gone say ‘God’ and ‘shit’ in the same sentence…?” Sacrilege….indeed.


Much of the conflicts we observe in our day to day lives either through close proximity, with familiars, or via mass communication have their origins in a quest for control, or influence over a person or group of people. The very concept of property is simply an influential belief that one or many have a right to a piece of land. That is a very simple handling of that concept, but I hope it gives you a brief moment of reflection. We as people in a society are influenced by our socialization, our templates, to accept economic systems of behavior, often without questioning why such patterns even exist, or how they came to be. Many of my colleagues can debate ad infinitum on the ideas of Big Bang theories, and can’t explain why there are more blacks in impoverished communities percentage wise compared to their white counterparts. In analogy, I tend to wonder why people lack the curiosity or critical comprehension to question why they believe what they believe. And as I have stated more than once already, I don’t separate my politics from my spirituality. I completely understand why a person that holds opposing beliefs than those espoused by their religious body would not act out of that belief. Possibly that person has a position among those that share that belief system, and voicing a contradictory opinion, no matter how well-reasoned, might cause them financial suffering, or political defeat.


I hold this sympathetic view even more when assessing those in religious organizations in the black community, where our religious organizations hold the most sway, or influence, over the rest of the American black populace. Social considerations are also a part of my spiritual understanding, and social reactions and responses must be considered. Those that conflict with the more established organizations of belief tend to already have planned for escape, regroup, and revolution. Or least they should.


As I close, or at least break from this particular post, I am reminded of the career of Jim Jones the leader of the People’s Temple. In his younger years, he was an outcast due to class bias and he sought understanding and acceptance from the black community. We have photographs handed down to us from his early years, with his black adopted children. He would go on to form a church and with that church he would develop such an austere reputation for helping in the black community that there are also images of him being guarded by the Nation of Islam’s FOI(The militarily trained men of the Nation of Islam) while giving a lecture to the presiding congregation of “Black Muslims”. It is pretty telling of the influence that Jones had at that time, to be a white man able to speak in front of a group of people that professed a belief in the white man being the devil. Jim Jones’ reputation would become smeared as his activities in the People’s Temple became more wide spread.


His congregation’s devotion to his form of leadership allowed Jim to amass enough money to secure land in Guyana, where he and his congregation built Jonestown. Well, his congregation built it, he simply broadcasted through loud speakers how the rest of the world despised black people while the blacks were diligently working in the fields. Soon, growing weary and beginning to question their place in Jonestown, a number of members formed dissenting opinions about Jonestown. Those members would be labeled as people who begin to think for themselves within these sorts of movements are historically labeled by the “prophets” and leaders of such movements: “fearful”, “unfaithful”, and the dreaded, “hypocrite”. The families of many of the members also became suspicious and I’m sure, quite concerned about their missing relatives and a congressional delegation was subsequently formed and sent to Guyana. Reporters would be passed slips of notes from members of the People’s Temple asking for help. That help would never arrive, nor would some of that delegation make it back home.


An ambush of the delegation left five dead at the airstrip. Jones would commence to order the largest mass suicide of US citizens to date. He ordered black mothers to have their black babies and children drink cyanide-laced grape Flavor Aid. Over 900 people died that day. Close to three hundred of them were children. Jones called it a “revolutionary suicide”. A political act under the auspices of a religious order, with social ramifications that have become cultural indices.


Influence, force and power, is the spirit that guides us all and it can take many forms.
Please be careful with your portion of God…it can get ugly in here…