Spirituality Advice – Are You Making Any of These 3 Deadly Mistakes in Your Search for Truth?


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By John

1 – A closed mind

A closed mind has been defined as one that is stubbornly unreceptive to new ideas and intolerant of the beliefs and opinions of others. A person may incur the handicap of a closed mind because of egoism, due to not having had a liberal education or because of low native intelligence.

In this condition, all incoming knowledge is filtered through a set of rigid beliefs and whatever does not fit is jettisoned. On the other hand, whatever fits in with the habitual belief is swallowed hook, line and sinker – no matter how irrational it may be. This makes the person prone to all kinds of superstition and fears.

It takes a lot of work for a person to become aware of, let alone take off, the blinders of a closed mind. However, reading extensively on many diverse subjects and traveling to experience different cultures and viewpoints would help remedy this mistake so that the person would be better able to apprehend spiritual truth.

2 – Gullibility

This is very similar to the first mistake. It often occurs because of the human tendency to accept as true whatever we would prefer to be true or what we wish were true. Thus, without question, imaginative speculations are accepted as facts and claims that have no historical or other precedence are taken as valid.

A gullible person is a ready victim of personality cults, miracle claims and purported instant cures. Persons that have a confident, insistent manner of speaking or that are prestigious or who boldly repeat their claims over and over again pose a particular threat to gullible folks.

The remedy for gullibility is the cultivation of a healthy skepticism, so that every outrageous claim or postulation is taken with a pinch of salt. Surely, it is better to be called a doubting Thomas than be an easy victim.

3 – Mistaking religion for spirituality

Due to the fact that most of us first get introduced to the idea of spirituality through the medium of one religion or another, we associate the two concepts, sometimes to the point of mistaking one for the other.

Briefly, the difference between the two is that while spirituality refers to the quality or condition of showing great refinement and concern with the higher things in life ( in contrast to material things) religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

Some of the dangers of mistaking religion for spirituality are that you never see anyone who is not an adherent of your religion as spiritual; you never agree to eclectically take advantage of beneficial practices that may originate from other religions than yours; you begin to see the doctrines of your religion as facts of spirituality rather than opinions, albeit enlightened, of the leaders of your faith.

To those who mistake religion for spirituality please consider the wisdom contained in this quote from the late eminent Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Gustav Jung:

‘A belief proves to me only the phenomenon of belief, not the content of the belief. This I must see revealed empirically in order to accept it…’

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/spirituality-articles/spirituality-advice-are-you-making-any-of-these-3-deadly-mistakes-in-your-search-for-truth-6879227.html

About the Author

What is the ultimate approach to excellence? Of what relevance is spirituality in your quest for fulfillment and bliss? John D’Silva’s effective-spirituality.com offers insights that would surprise and refresh you. John is happily devoted to helping You unleash Your Spirit of Excellence. Intelligence directs the universe, not chance…

Since this article’s initial publication articlesbase.com has undergone some changes. Original links have been left intact. 

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7 comments

  1. I think narrow-mindedness can show up in a lot of different ways. One way is to assume that a Jungian approach is the be all and end all with regards to spirituality. I actually did a Ph.D., mostly on Jung’s ideas. And I found that some Jungians were entrenched in their particular belief system. Jung himself apparently said that he was glad he was Jung and not a Jungian. Otherwise, he’d fall into a new kind of dogma.

    On that note, I suggest that some folks can be intensely spiritual while following the dictates of their particular religious vocation. I’m thinking especially of Sister Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun who followed the commands of her superiors, sometimes even silly or harsh ones, and yet still claims (in her now published diary) to have actually seen Jesus on a near daily basis.

    I think it just depends on what God wants for a person. Some find the institutional life suits them. Others can’t stand it. God loves us all.

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  2. Interesting discussion on religion and spirituality Mike! I agree. There is a difference between religion and spirituality. I believe that religion can be a person’s spirituality. I feel it depends on the person’s attitude. In my mind, accepting another person or group’s ideas on blind faith does not constitute spirituality.

    Here is my Sunday message to the readers of Earth Pages:

    It’s important to follow your own path. This is the truth the Creator has placed in your heart. Going against this truth by assuming another person or group’s beliefs will only lead to unhappiness. We adopt false beliefs in order to be accepted. I guarantee you will never experience love if you choose to be phony. You cannot violate your integrity this way. You will become a hypocrite. Some of us become cynical in our perception of humanity. This is a miserable mental state.

    It’s best to find your own truths by conducting an inner self-exploration. Examine your thoughts/feelings to discover your natural gifts and talent. You will come to know you authentic-self and re-claim your personal power. In the process you will mostly likely find your passion and your higher purpose. I know what I am saying is true. I have had this experience.

    Love, light, and blessings, <8

    David

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  3. I think one person’s sense of spirituality also differs from another. After all, we are all different. I’m thinking of some of the Catholic charismatics. They have their own masses and, although I could attend, I would probably feel a bit out of place, for various reasons.

    They seem so visibly happy at those masses. It seems that their spirituality is very social. And I imagine that since many are newcomers to Canada, having a place to meet on Sunday is really valuable to them socially, as well as spiritually.

    When I go to Mass it enhances my contemplative side. I may chat a little bit with the odd person, but on the whole Mass deepens my contemplative “wealth,” I guess I could call it.

    I feel that my approach to spirituality, even within Catholicism, differs from many others’ approach within that tradition. And when you actually talk to people about their beliefs (instead of just protecting your own beliefs onto them), you find all sorts of difference and disagreement among them, and also from what Rome actually teaches.

    So it’s really complicated. One could view all this difference (and outward conformity at the Mass) as hypocrisy. Or one could just say that people realize that there’s good in the tradition, but that the tradition isn’t perfect and still evolving.

    For a long time I’ve been emphasizing my belief that spirituality within religion is possible. But I also believe that it’s possible without formal ties to a given religion. Sometimes I call the latter types of people “wildflowers”. And I tend to look at the former as “hothouse flowers.” 🙂

    As for belief, itself, these days I tend to view everything as belief. People who say they “know” to my mind just haven’t thought long and hard enough to realize that they really hold beliefs. They may have reason to believe. But IMHO everything still boils down to belief.

    And I’m not just talking about religion and spirituality. Even the simplest things in life, our perceptions and expectations arguably boil down to belief. One of the famous philosophers talked about this. He’s one of the so-called “British Empiricists.”

    Here’s an excerpt from earthpages.ca that deals with what David Hume called “customs of thought.”

    http://earthpages.wordpress.com/?s=hume+belief

    Hume’s metaphysics, in particular his critique of the belief in cause and effect, remains an important challenge to our conventional way of seeing. All we can be sure of, says Hume, is that certain events occur one after another in a given region and for a certain duration.

    In billiards, for instance, the white ball appears to cause the motion of other balls when impacting them on the gaming table. But here’s the radical part. Hume says that all we can truly know is that, in the past, the first ball impacted and the other balls moved. We cannot prove that the first ball’s impact will always be followed by movement of the other balls. And for Hume, there is no rational way to demonstrate a causal connection:

    “Reason can never shew us the connexion of one object with another, tho’ aided by experience, and the observation of their constant conjunction in all past instances. When the mind, therefore, passes from the idea or impression of one object to the idea or belief of another, it is not determin’d by reason, but by certain principles, which associate together the ideas of these objects, and unite them in the imagination.¹”

    Put differently, from prior experience we build up a series of expectations and habitual ways of interpreting observations. Hume calls these “ideas.” But ideas they simply are. Although we expect the billiard balls to move, we have no way of proving or knowing that they always will.

    At first, this may seem absurd. But Hume’s critique of causality had a profound effect on one of the most important thinkers in the history of Western philosophy, Immanuel Kant. Mortimer Adler says “…Kant tells us that David Hume awakened him from his dogmatic slumbers.”²

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  4. LIke the three points – right on – yet you seem off in the narrative. A closed mind – never a good idea but you threw out the truth with the bath water – seems you stand for nothing, fall for everything – almost gullible. Weird because your second point is right on too. However, how you explain not to be gullible is off. Being skeptical wears you down, has no purpose, has no value if it has no foundation. I like critical thinking skills being developed. Ask the right questions – seek the right answers – pass them along. Unfortunately in regards to the best of the three points – you either have no idea what religion or worse, spirituality. Your definitions are screwed to your own opinion and the worldview look at both those topics would put you in the 1 percentile. Seriously, stop being gullible and having a closed mind on those two words and what they mean. Share the three points though – they will get everyone else moving in the right direction.

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