Is Nature’s Continuing Creation a “Spiritual” Path?

Photo: The close-up of broccoli florets illustrates the spiral growing pattern seen throughout Nature. Why the spiral? See our Essay, Mathematics and Continuing Creation.”   

Is Nature’s Path of Continuing Creation a “Spiritual” Path?

Note: We Oppose Fundamentalist Religious Creationism. 

We follow Nature’s Continuing Creation, because it arises out of Nature’s processes of physics, chemistry, and biology. 

Is Nature’s Continuing Creation a Spiritual Path? The short answer is “No, Nature’s Continuing Creation is not a Supernatural Spiritual Path, but it is a Nature-and-Science based Spiritual Path.” 

The word “spiritual” has different meanings for different people. Most people feel that the adjective “spiritual” only relates to things that are supernatural and incorporeal. These include phenomena that are part of conventional religions — God, saints, ghosts, angels, religious rituals like the Holy Eucharist, the singing traditions of African Americans, and the faiths of religious people everywhere.

Many of the same people would also apply “spiritual” to less conventional, but still supernatural, things such as — New Age “crystal power,” vortices, and the esoteric occult. That is how the Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines “spiritual,” and how Wikipedia describes it in their article, “Spirituality.”

We Refer to Our Spirituality, as Participants in Nature’s Continuing Creation, as:

> Nature-and-Science-based Spirituality, 
> Nature-and-Science centered Wholism, 
> Nature’s Path to Wholistic Comprehension,
> Finding Purpose and Meaning in Nature, Science, & History (without Myths or Miracle Stories). 

Nature-centered Wholism (i.e., Nature-centered Comprehension)

Your author, J.X. Mason, defines Nature-and-Science centered Wholism as the positive comprehension that all things (all natural processes, forces, matter, energy and living things) are interconnected.  It is a deep cognizance of the Wholeand an appreciation of its pattern, interdependence, creativity, and beauty. This comprehension, this understanding, can come suddenly or slowly, and it can feel transcendent.  It comes from the realization that “The Whole Is Often Greater than the Sum of its Parts.”

“Wholistic Comprehension,” in General, is Hardly New

Two of the World’s oldest and most widely followed traditions, Taoism and Buddhism, did not begin as religions and they worshiped no God. Yet they were and still are Wholistic Comprehensions.  We devote an entire Essay to Each of them. The Essay Evaluating Taoism and Zen and the Essay Evaluating Buddhism have been posted up to our Continuing Creation website.  

How Can Our Spirituality Be “Science-based?” 

It’s easy to understand how spirituality can be Nature-based. But how can it also be Science-based?  First, we simply understand that Nature encompasses Science! Next, let’s say you have a favorite tree, one that you love looking at, one that you find connects you to Nature’s Continuing Creation.  If you also have a knowledge of photosynthesis, and of the tree’s function in its ecosystem, that knowledge of science will greatly increase the feelings of awe and connectedness you experience when you meditatively look at that tree.  

How Do Spiritualities and Wholistic Comprehensions Feel to People?

People experience all the types of Spirituality and Wholistic Comprehensions in the same ways. They all generate feelings of awe, astonishment, amazement, appreciation, interest, energy, curiosity, positivity, purpose, motivation, well-being, fulfillment, inspiration, interrelation, and elation. They can generate emotions of deep connection, belonging, enlightenment, awakening, fundamental understanding, wholistic appreciation, transcendence, joy, and love.  And we must include appreciation of beauty because be inhabit a universe filled with lovely things such flowers, music, trees, the biochemistry of photosynthesis, ocean surf, spiral galaxies, the symmetry between algebra and geometry, and the laughter of children.  Such experiences are enlightening, enriching, and ennobling

“Peak” and “Transcendent” Experiences

Wholistic Comprehension can come to a person in a rush, in apeak experienceor in atranscendent experience.”

Peak Experiences: Here is a direct quote from the Wikipedia article on Peak Experience (downloaded June, 2023):  “A peak experience is an altered state of consciousness characterized by euphoria… The concept was originally developed by Abraham Maslow in 1964, who describes peak experiences as ‘rare, exciting, oceanic, deeply moving, exhilarating, elevating experiences that generate an advanced form of perceiving reality, and are even mystic and magical in their effect upon the experimenter.’ There are several unique characteristics of a peak experience, but each element is perceived together in a holistic manner… Peak experiences can range from simple activities to intense events; however, it is not necessarily about what the activity is, but the ecstatic, blissful feeling that is being experienced during it.”

Transcendent Experiences:  As we discussed in our Essay, Forerunners to Our Path and Practice, people can experience a powerful lift that individuals though direct personal experience of interpersonal love and also of Nature, i.e., direct experience of the great outdoors. The noted Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson (who served as a Unitarian minister for a number of years) wrote this famous passage in his classic essay, Naturepublished in 1836:

“Standing on the bare ground, my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball — I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me — I am part or particle of God. The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental: to be brothers, to be acquaintances-master or servant, is then a trifle, and a disturbance. I am a lover of uncontained and immortal beauty.”            
                  — Ralph Waldo Emerson, Unitarian Minister and Transcendentalist writer. (See our Essay, Forerunners to our Path & Practice).

Successful Continued Creating

Of course, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s experience happened when he was just standing in Nature. Agents of Nature’s Continuing Creation say that their strongest “Peak and Transcending Experiences” happen when one of us (or a team of us) successfully completes an important goal: a useful invention that works, a new book that is well-reviewed, a garden that blooms, a worthy child that is raised to a moral, loving, and productive adulthood. 

We Generally Agree with Chad Moertl, who, writing in “FaceBook Groups,” has said:

“Is it possible to make a definition of “Spirituality” that does not exclude atheists?

“What if spirituality is an emergent property of consciousness, in the same way consciousness is an emergent property of biology? By emergent, I mean a property that arises out of complex interactions at a lower level. For example, chemistry/molecules emerge from physics, but their behavior cannot be intelligibly explained at the atomic level. Biology emerges from chemistry. Consciousness emerges from biology. Does spirituality, in turn, emerge from consciousness?  If so, can every human with a consciousness behold their spiritual nature, regardless of a belief in God?

“So, then, what would this emergent spirituality entail, being ultimately underwritten by Nature? I propose that spirituality is our highest nature and entails connection with other consciousnesses. I do not think spirituality can exist in a vacuum. I think it emerges from the interaction of conscious beings–humans living in community and striving to connect on a deeper level than mere individuality.

“Or, can one experience spirituality alone in communion with nature? In this case, would nature be the other consciousness one is interacting with?

“So, then, spirituality is really about the quality of relationships. We connect to each other. The medium of such a connectivity/spirituality would be unconditional love. Even love of Nature herself.”

 

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Just for Information, What is “Secular-Spirituality?”

Wikipedia also has a lengthy article on Secular Spirituality.  Here is their opening paragraph, and their quotation from the American philosopher Robert C. Solomon:

“Secular spirituality” is the adherence to a spiritual philosophy without adherence to a religionSecular spirituality emphasizes the personal growth and inner peace of the individual, rather than a relationship with the divine. Secular spirituality is made up of the search for meaning outside of a religious institution; it considers one’s relationship with the self, others, nature, and whatever else one considers to be the ultimate. 1 Often, the goal of secular spirituality is living happily and/or helping others. 2

“’Spirituality is not incompatible with or opposed to science or the scientific outlook. Naturalized spirituality is spirituality without any need for the ‘other‐worldly’. Spirituality is one of the goals, perhaps the ultimate goal, of philosophy.’ ” 3

Note: While we don’t agree with all his ideas, the late Reverend Michael Dowd is very good at translating traditional Christian concepts into Earth-centered concepts. His Eco-Credo captures his key positions:

> Reality is My God
> Evidence Is My Scripture
> The Epic of Evolution is My Creation Story
> Ecology Is My Theology
> Integrity Is My Spiritual Path
> Ensuring a Just and Healthy Future for All Earth’s Life Is Our Mission

 

  1.  Elkins, D. N.; Hedstrom, L. J.; Hughes, L. L.; Leaf, J. A. & Saunders, C. (1988). “Toward a humanistic-phenomenological spirituality”. Journal of Humanistic Psychology28 (4):  10. doi:10.1177/0022167888284002S2CID 145708067. 
  2. Tony Wilkinson (2007). The Lost Art of Being Happy: Spirituality for Sceptics. Findhorn Press. ISBN 978-1-84409-116-4
  3. Robert C. Solomon (2003). Spirituality for the Skeptic: The Thoughtful Love of life. Oxford Scholarship Online. ISBN 9780195134674.

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