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Academic views, controversies, liberal views, eclectic discussions and so forth. Also, extended debates may be moved here. May contain discussion on views that a devotee may find objectionable.

Spirituality As Distinct And Free From 'Religion' -

Elpis - Fri, 28 May 2004 03:06:53 +0530
In another thread, Jagadananda wrote (link here):
Spirituality apart from religion. This is an interesting question. Robert (no longer Hari, I see) wants to amputate religion from his experience of spirituality. Maybe we should split this topic.

Robert Campagnola (ex-Harikesa Swami) mentions this idea in his lecture topics here.

Did this discussion ever take off? It is indeed an interesting question.
adiyen - Fri, 28 May 2004 16:12:30 +0530
I have some comments on this which are entirely general, in the spirit of the topic, and do not proselytise for any particular sect or dogma:-

Robert is getting into this stuff now after years in the religious camp. I went the other way. I spent 4 years practising self-actualising meditation, not much different from what he describes, before I came to feel I needed religion. The crunch for me was how the meditation became a kind of narcissism, which I could see turning into neurosis. Meeting my old meditator friends years later I did indeed find that they had become neurotic, obsessed with every slight change in their bodies and surroundings.

I feel that acknowledgement of a higher outside spiritual power which is not just a reflection or elevation of our own inner selves is the way out of this narcissism. The crude example is the alcoholic. In a sense he is fully self-actualised, yet in a self-destructive way. As AA says, he needs to surrender to a higher power to survive.

This type of view expresed on Robert's page is probably quite common (it is also clearly a reaction to his own circumstances):
"The freedom of the soul and the soul's inherent right to have a direct and deep loving relationship with the supreme without a need of dis-empowering itself to any form of intermediate 'representative' of God."

But if this existed as he says, then surely we would already have it. He would not need to tell us.

For me, some sort of Shamanism (there I go preaching for a dogma!) is the epitome of the healthy spirituality which solves the problems above, because it means opening up to a higher power outside the self.