Today’s Top Tweet gave me pause for reflection. In the past I’ve seen some charismatic Evangelicals as not too different from, say, Superbowl or Wresting fans.
The Indian guru Sri Aurobindo talked about different levels of consciousness. I’ve rejected a lot of what Aurobindo says but I recall that he’d probably see some charismatics as operating on what he called the “vitalistic” plane—that is, vital instead of higher spiritual energy. For Aurobindo, there wasn’t a single spirituality but, instead, several different mind levels.
All very interesting. Sometimes I think a bit like this when comparing different people and different religions (or even differences within one person). To say all religions and spiritual states of mind are the same is, to me, like saying all cities of the world are the same.
Cities may exhibit some common features but obviously they differ in important ways.
Because religion is such a personal, sensitive issue for many, we run the risk in this politically correct world of getting into real trouble if we even dare suggest that religions and spiritual states might differ. And this is oppressive to free thought and, perhaps, to genuine development—in both theory and practice.
To focus a little more precisely on just one religion – Christianity – I think it’s also relevant to suggest that there could be real differences among individuals and their Christian beliefs and practices.
At the same time, we can’t know for certain what another person inwardly experiences. We may think we do. Through subtle transpersonal connections we may get glimmers. But we can’t fully know what it’s like to be them.
Only God can have the final say. Although sometimes, I admit, I have wondered if God really knows what it’s like to NOT be omniscient. This opens the door for all kinds of theological reflection that I don’t have time to explore here.
Another point to consider: How do we define spirituality?
For some, spirituality is an intense nature trip. Others say watching sci-fi or fantasy shows are spiritual activities. Again, only God can say who is “spiritual” and who is not. And even if there are fundamental differences, who’s to say we should all be the same?
If the world were mostly contemplative mystics, I think we’d run into trouble pretty fast. By the same token, if the world were mostly movers and shakers, I think we’d have similar difficulties.
Respect the mix.
Muslim converts breathe new life into Europe’s struggling Christian churches – Why Islam may surpass Christianity as world’s largest faith – Christianity in Iraq is finished, says Canon Andrew White, ‘vicar of Baghdad’ (foxnews.com)
Gorsuch’s Selective View of ‘Religious Freedom’ (theatlantic.com)
Reza Aslan: “I Want To Be The Interpreter Of Religion For People” (fastcompany.com)
The What, How, and Why of Meditating on Scripture (christianitymatters.com)
Spirituality Science – the Concept of Al-aleem – the Knower of All Things (bhavanajagat.com)
3 Spiritual Elements That Make Your Company More Cohesive (business2community.com)