Excerpt About Spirituality

The Imbalance in Most Realms of Religion and Spirituality

We see, then, that just as psychology has adopted a self with no soul, spirituality has adopted a soul with no self. From the perspective of many spiritual approaches, the spiritual aspect of the human being is seen as quite separate from or even incompatible with the self, which is defined as that which leads the primarily bodily life, concerned with enhancing the self and material well-being. Thus most realms of religion and spirituality have developed an imbalance, in which there is a dichotomy between the spiritual and the material, and the material is rejected in favor of the spiritual. This tends to alienate the “man of the world,” the worldly people who constitute the majority of humankind and who live from the perspective that ordinary, everyday life is important and potentially fulfilling. (We have discussed this matter extensively in the book The Pearl Beyond Price, which explores how an integration between the worldly and spiritual can be effected without compromising either.) The perspective of soul with no self, the sense that the spiritual is distinct and divorced from the psychological, also characterizes some areas of Eastern thought. In Eastern or Western spiritual work, this imbalance manifests as working on spiritual development without taking care of one’s psychological conflicts and aberrations. So one may develop with deep spiritual experience and insight, but retain some neurotic and emotionally conflicted manifestations.

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