Sunday, May 5, 2013

Spiritual addiction


    As most of you know, I've spent the last couple years on this blog talking about various topics regarding spirituality and chronicling my own journey. While I don't feel I have as much to talk about as I once did, I still see the overall activity of blogging as very important for my personal reflection in addition to maybe giving someone else out there in the internet world something to relate to.

    However, one thing I've tried to become more mindful about is just how much time and thought I devote to spirituality. The reason being because I know just how addicting the whole thing can become. I've seen it take over people's lives in scary ways and I would say I've had those scary moments myself.  Scary ways for me mainly has been in terms with debating people and trying to get people to consider my point of view. I have thrown myself into that game more times than I care to count and while I think I typically have a gentle approach to it these days, I still often find myself having to bite my tongue from saying something that I know I'll regret. I still have to check myself to make sure I'm not perceiving myself as a valiant, knight of truth and reason out to slay wayward and ridiculous ideas wreaking havoc upon the interwebs. There is just a dark room of delusion one can get caught up in when one feels they have some sort of grapple on life's mysteries.

    I've also always been a fan of reading all sorts of books but the majority of what I read anymore are books pertaining to spiritual philosophy. I'm not really sure why I find them so entertaining but I suppose it keeps my mind stimulated and my ideas progressing. It also eases my need to discuss such topics with people since it is kind of taboo talk for the majority of folks, so in those ways it is very beneficial. But it can be a scary thing when I get so lost in these books as to neglect other hobbies or attend to my social needs. Even when I'm not reading, my mind has a habit of wandering off during work or daily interactions and I end up down a rabbit hole of questions to the point that I sometimes totally forget what it is I'm actually supposed to be doing.

    Another way that spirituality can be a detrimental addiction is in terms of power. The obvious examples would be certain clergymen that famously abuse their positions of authority and either physically or emotionally injure those around them. In a more relatable way, spiritual views appear to make great pedestals by which all others can be judged and thought of as intellectually or morally inferior. Honestly, I think that is a more common thing than is often realized because it's often something subconscious. The most well-meaning and kind people can commit this. For example, as much as I don't believe I am better or smarter or more enlightened than anyone else, the feeling of "one-up-ness" can creep up on me when someone seems unable to answer my questions or their responses seem illogical in some way. A small part of me silently celebrates and thinks "the truth has triumphed!" because I can't help but feel I have constructed the most sensible spiritual perception even though I know that is a completely relative thought.

    Lastly, spiritual ideas have the potential to create an internal war within our being. I'm particularly thinking of the concept of "sin" which can easily get people distraught about not meeting a perceived ideal and beating themselves up over things they plain just can't help. This internal war between right and wrong has been a source of my own struggle in genuinely loving and accepting myself and it's painful to see so many others endure the same.

    In conclusion, I obviously think spirituality can be a very positive thing but there are several things I've realized that I have to be mindful of. Not making time for it is perhaps just as bad as making too much time for it, but as with all things, moderation is key. Moderation is what I think will keep me from being burned out and frustrated by the spiritual quest. 

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