Spirituality is religion lite – religion sans guilt – which is why spirituality is scalable to small groups and individuals who are seeking external validation that they are good, without the guilt and rules and baggage of formal religion. Spirituality is customized to whatever the person already believes and this allows them to be a good person in their eyes.
We judge ourselves by our motives and others by their actions – and outcome of said actions – so, even when we hurt someone, we insist that we didn’t mean it and that we’re good people. It’s how we excuse and ignore that we can be and sometimes do bad things.
Why we expect forgiveness, even as we hold grudges.
Spirituality is the place in between religion (external validation) and positive self esteem (internal validation) – but spirituality is still a kinder, gentler external validation – that feeling that good things are meant for us as a reason to be a good person – like religion, spirituality depends on the universe being a willing or safe or good place for you to be good or else suffer the consequences.
So why can’t you just be self validating in an impersonal universe where both good and bad things occur and you trust yourself to know the difference? Because people who seek external validation in religion or spirituality don’t trust themselves.
How many people do we encounter each day, living in fear of being exposed as a fraud? Feeling unqualified for their jobs, undeserving of family and friends, living in fear of being exposed to be a black sheep in white sheep clothing?
In many ways, we are all hurt children – the wounds of childhood loom large in our minds and they haunt our every adult step – because childhood development is where we learn our value, our worth, our importance, our place – and when people are poorly taught – often by walking wounded adults who, seeing little worth of their own, have none to impart to their children.
We are required to interact as if everyone is a mature and rational actor in life – but very few people actually are – and it’s this unspoken expectation of being a rational actor and not being interacted with who you really are – wounded, overcompensating or naïve and idealistic – that continues to drive wedges between people, within ourselves, that lengthen the shadows and increase the fear of exposure.
If instead, we could be treated as we really are – with authoritative compassion – we could emerge from the shadows as rational and mature actors, because our experience of the world would correct the wrong perceptions of our self, the world and our place in it that we learned in childhood and maladapted to as children.
But rather than working together, we allow artificial divisions to ensure more division – we don’t trust ourselves, so how do we trust other people? We don’t self validate, so why believe that others do – aren’t we all lost lamb-children in need of a sheppard, parent, savior?
No, we’re not. We can heal ourselves and each other – and we’re going to have to, because there isn’t a skydaddy coming to fix everything – and that’s okay.
One of the important childhood messages is that the one who smelt it, dealt it – and that means, we have to deal with it too. We have to clean up our own acts, backyard and our planet.
We can help each other be better, we just have to be 1. Willing to help and 2. Willing to trust those who are willing to help.
Humanism is a good thing, because, being human is what we are, and we need to be very good at it, if we are going to work and play well with each other.