J.X. Mason’s Blog of 7-6-2020.  To sign up for Our Weekly Blogs, go to Subscribe

Our Book of Continuing Creation describes a “Spiritual Path Based on Nature, Reason, & Science.”

But what is “Spirituality?

Spirituality is the human experience of deep and positive connection with Nature and all of Creation. This experience often encompasses feelings of awe, delight, love, well-being, inner peace, fulfilment, understanding, joy, and transcendence.

Many things can engender the spiritual experience.  It can be sight or sound of any one of Nature’s creations: a magnificent tree, a beautiful garden, a powerful waterfall, a new baby daughter or son, an old and trusted friend, a Beethoven symphony, the geometry of a spider’s web.

The connection we speak of can feel like a connection with God, the Growing > Organizing> Direction> of the Cosmos, the Whole of All Wholes, the Ultimate Being, The Tao, and many other appellations for the Creative Force of the Universe.

The American Unitarian Minister Ralph Waldo Emerson experienced a now famous moment of [Spiritual] Transcendence while he was walking in the New England woods.  He described it in his classic 1836 essay, Nature.

“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.”

Spiritual experience can also take place when a person acquires knowledge of science, history, literature, and daily life that is deep enough to reveal the myriad interconnections between aspects of Nature, and reveal the processes by which Nature (including human beings) function and create. These processes include emergence, evolution, natural selection, discovery, exploration, invention, adaptation, diversification, and many others.  (For more on this topic, see our full-length Essay, The Processes of Evolution and Their Spiritual Meaning.)

Paraphrasing the American philosopher Robert C. Solomon, spirituality is coextensive with religion, but is also compatible with science and the scientific outlook.[1]

A Note on “Secular” Spirituality

Peter van der Veer argues that an important aspect of “secular” spirituality is its promotion of community, creating solidarity through shared universal truth. This ‘universal truth’ can be experienced through a secular or non-religious world view, without the need for a concept of ‘higher power’ or a ‘supernatural being’.[2]

We don’t disagree with Dr. van der Veer, but most followers of Continuing Creation affirm that our “Growing> Organizing> Direction> of the Cosmos,” like the ancient Tao of Taoism, is a favorable reconception of the largely anthropomorphic superbeing that traditional Jews, Hindus, Christians, and Muslims think of as “God.”   The key difference is that “God” stands outside  and before Creation, whereas “G>O>D>” is part of and grows with Creation.   We regard our spirituality not as “secular,” but rather as natural spirituality.

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[1] Robert C. Solomon (2003). Spirituality for the Skeptic: The Thoughtful Love of life. Oxford Scholarship Online. ISBN 9780195134674.

[2] Peter van der Veer, (2011-03-01). “Spirit”. Material Religion7(1): 124–130. doi:10.2752/175183411X12968355482330ISSN 1743-2200.