Spirituality is dead.
The only form of spirituality that exists is a cheap imitation of quick fixes, equivocal movements, and occultish eccentrics. The corpse of spirituality is spinning in its grave over these shoddy simulacrums. What can be done to resurrect spirituality so that it is no longer some well meaning but mysterious practice of the past?
A revivification of spirituality can be achieved by a return to the body. On the surface, this seems to be a contradiction, a paradox incarnate. Spirituality has been warped and pigeon-holed by the modern world to the degree that it is suppose to be something different than this material world. We have set up a false dichotomy between mundane reality and transcendental reality. But if we look back to the archaic traditions, what we discover is an intuitive and tacit understanding that the doorway to the spiritual lies through the body.
These cultures may have had a mythology/philosophy with the pretense of a dualistic reality but in fact they were consciously aware that the road between the two was seamless. These cultures had concrete and practical techniques for achieving spiritual ecstasy around which a mythology was built. But our modern world has lost the techniques while maintaining the mythology, misinterpreting the symbolic myths as the reality in and of itself. Because of our ignorance of these techniques and experiences we have mistaken the finger for the moon. In order to breath life into the cold corpse of spirituality, we need to rediscover the archaic techniques which gave birth to experiences which inspired the subsequent mythology. The techniques available to us are as varied, nuanced, and sophisticated as any chemists laboratory. The gamut runs from meditation and rhythmic drumming to prayer and fasting, from breathing exercises and physical ordeals to mantras and psychedelic substances. Notice that each and everyone of these techniques is a unique and effective way of perturbing the body's normal equilibrium and balance. Even meditation, considered by many to be the purest form of inducing spiritual experience, involves the systematic reorientation of brain chemistry as demonstrated by brain scans.
Thus, in order to revitalize the notion spiritual dimension we need a realigning of our fundamental metaphysical position; we need to feel at home and comfortable with our own bodies rather than alienated or imprisoned by them. It is no denigration of the sacredness of spirituality to say that it has its roots in the material world, specifically in our body. In fact, the opposite may be true: it may amplify its sacredness. If the the spiritual dimension truly were one unique and separate from our here-and-now existence, then what importance would it have for us? Much like two fish bowls side by side, the life of one does not impact the life of the other.Why and how could it mean anything to us when we are embedded in the physical world of the here-and-now?
But if spirituality were to be a dimension present in matter, then it would be of infinitely more value. And this is what I speculate is the case--as above, so below: meaning there is only a unity and a continuity between the spiritual and the earthly. So if we want to rediscover meaning and purpose, we have to re-establish a respect and deference towards the body and its placement on earth. We have been misled by the enterprise of science into believing that matter is dead and inert stuff, that nature is mute, and that meaning is an abstract illusion imposed by us. But if we alter our understanding of matter to make it magical, meaningful, and communicative through the direct experience of spiritual techniques, then we will realize that all of those qualities--eternity, meaning, and unity--which we searched for in the immaterial heavens, can be found around us if we but readjust the lens through which we are perceiving.
As human beings, we are one part angelic, one part primate. The modern world has grown sick by favoring one and neglecting the other--scientists tell us we're sophisticated monkeys but still just monkeys and priests tell us we're quintessentially divine. Spirituality is not the exception to matter, it is the rule-- we just have a tough time of seeing it that way. Spirituality in the here-and-now requires a reintegration of these two aspects through the rediscovery of ecstatic techniques which elicit spiritual experiences that can successfully unite mind and body, spirit and matter, and the divine and the earthly.