The world today has become more critical, more skeptical and more analytical. As a result, even our children have a hard time accepting an age old spirituality based upon simple faith. At first glance that can seem to be unfortunate. However, it is actually a call for a spirituality based upon a sophisticated understanding of life, of existence and of what God actually is. What atheists mean by ‘God’ is a God I do not believe in. Interestingly enough, many religions share that same definition of God. The only difference is that atheists don’t believe in it and the religious do.
Personally, I do not believe in that popular definition that atheists reject and many religions embrace. However, I certainly am committed to a deep understanding of spirituality and of God. It is heartfelt as well as rational. It does not ask me to defy reason; nor does it ask me to deny a personified source of life and existence. It is consistent with all the laws of physics I know. And furthermore, that understanding precludes irrational tangents, convoluted thinking, emotional denials based upon narrow mindedness, refusal to acknowledge new discoveries in any and all fields of science, and loss of dedication to common sense.
It is an understanding that satisfies both the heart and mind. There is no burying ones head in the sand. It does not abuse rationality with a rationalization to behave irrationally. Rather it leads to ever deepening understandings of life and existence. It enables the heart to soar like a kite stabilized by the tail of reason. Without that tail, the kite just spins in irrational indulgences. Spirituality then just becomes a flight of fancy.
A deeper understanding replaces blind faith with knowledge, while at the same time, pointing in the direction of an ever deepening understanding. Throughout history, many great spiritual teachers have offered that deeper knowledge, however it often slips through the fingers of even the religious. The path is a razors edge of discernment. By discernment I mean not just of the mind but also of the heart; in other words common sense and wisdom. In this age of insistence upon instant gratification, few are willing to follow this path of discernment. And of those few, many slip off on tangents somewhere along that razors edge. In those instances, whatever level of understanding is there is simply misused as an excuse, a justification, to go off into a fairy land of escapism.
The deeper understanding we are talking about here is rooted in human evolution—a physiological and psychological development of consciousness, of awareness. It is an evolution, a refinement, a culturing, of the heart and mind. It is far more challenging than, for example, learning to play the violin or getting a Phd. It requires a steady hand on the rudder and a keen eye to avoid personal issues, conditioned responses, distractions, judgments, biases, idealized notions, or temptations of tangential easy ways out along the way. It leads not to a paradigm identity but rather to a refined state of awareness, of physiology. It does not impose narrow minded beliefs but rather frees the inner spirit, the inner wisdom, the inner Divinity, the inner Knowledge that dwells deeply within us all.