(Read Part 1!)
When last we left our intrepid adventurer (that would be me), we were discussing the recent realization that I just can’t take it any more, that yes, fine, I admit it, I’m not an athiest. I’m also not one of the “vaguely spiritual”. I am, in fact, something else entirely.
What exactly is that? That’s harder to pin down. Maybe we’ll discuss that in a bit here, but first, I feel the urge (yea, unto, a need) to complete the tale that I began (if a 1600-word diatribe can be called a beginning) last week.
Let’s set the Wayback Machine to waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back to three weeks ago. That was about the time that this “I’ve had it and can’t take this lying down any more” idea first began to make itself known to my semi-conscious mind.
Let me be straight with you: I was, and have been, struggling with this shit. Now, those who know me may roll their eyes a titch at this, because I struggle with, you know, breakfast. Or, like, casual conversation. My existence seems to be largely defined as a chain of struggles, regardless of whether or not I’m actually being confronted with a challenge. Irrelevant! Worst case, I can struggle over my lack of something to struggle over.
But that’s not what I mean. I mean, like, soul-cramping struggle.
I may have mentioned to some of you in the past (and, you know, the entire Internet) that I am not without girth. That my girth-itude has, in fact, been increasing, and rather dramatically. Have I, however, mentioned that I am beginning to think that I may be in a great deal of trouble in this regard? Perhaps not. It’s… not an easy subject to broach. One very quickly starts to sound like a simpering weenie, and it’s not long before the “Well, why don’t you try eating less?” commentary kicks in. Also, it’s really fucking scary to consider the idea that I may… not… actually be able to do this without some help. The word addiction is beginning to appear in conversation, and more often than I’d like.
Unrelated to the leading topic? Not when desperation kicks in, my friends. No, I think not.
Here’s the thing: were I a born-and-bred athiest, I figure that when rock-bottom began to come into view, I would turn to… I dunno, the government? Friends? Couldn’t tell you, see, because I ain’t. Nossir. Around these here parts, when we spot rock-bottom-sign (which is how the Fremen refer to it), we go looking for help from the Muad’dib of the spirit.
Which was a bit startling, honestly. I mean, I was beginning to think that my fascination with all this spiritual shit had faded away into obscurity. When it’s been seven fucking years since you’ve dusted off the old altar and shaken the chicken bones at the sky, you kinda start to believe that maybe it was a passing fad.
(I’m kidding about the shaking the chicken bones at the sky thing. You shake the chicken bones to the north.)
But no. In truth, it’s starting to look like I was simply content for all those years.
Who’da thought? Seems that a contented darklord doesn’t go looking so much for conversations with spiritual archetypes. “Nope, everything’s fine, thanks! Keep up the good work!” was pretty much the vibe I was giving off, it appears.
Well, friends, let me tell you. It’s been brought to my attention (mainly by the fact that I’m having trouble seeing my feet these days) that something may be slightly out of whack, here in paradise. And so, after the fear made its way through my wittle brain (which took about three weeks), you get what you got with my last post.
Make sense? Fear of death == spiritual reawakening. Funny, that.
Okay, so now, as of that last sentence there, you and I are all caught up. We’re running in real-time now. Shut down the Wayback Machine, ’cause we ain’t gonna need it again in this post, baby.
Which means that I can FINALLY approach the original fucking point that I was setting out to make when I started writing my last post, which was Friday, for cripes’ sake. We’re at 2300 words so far, filling in the background.
In retrospect, the point that I want to make is probably no longer the point of these posts, and is in fact far less interesting in hindsight than it has been to try to explain all this bullshit to you all.
But it’s still a cool point. Here we go.
The point that I want to make has to do with what I deem to be a fascinating insight that I received from a friend of mine last week about the relationship between spirituality, your relationships, and how you treat yourself.
I know, I know. Sounds like Teen Vogue psychobabble. Brace yourself; it only gets worse from here on in. But, dig this.
You are, perhaps, familiar with the concept of psychological projection. It’s basically the idea that your relationship with other people is largely a reflection of your relationship with yourself. If you’re carrying around a lot of self-loathing, you’re going to project that onto other people, and will interpret everything they do and say as an expression of their loathing of you, when this may or may not have anything to do with how they actually feel about you.
Capiche? Well-established psychological territory so far.
It is, perhaps, not inobvious or really a stretch to point out that the same is true about your relationship with yourself. If a person is carrying around a bunch of self-loathing, it would not be surprising to see that person carrying on in one self-destructive behavior or another.
In fact, you could say that these two things (external and internal relationships) are both one thing: you will have relationships (with yourself or others) that are what you feel you deserve. That is perhaps an oversimplification, but it will serve for the point I’m making.
Here’s the new bit. And, this is the paragraph that I couldn’t really write without explaining myself some.
Spirituality, of the sort that we would generally recognize as an actual practice (as opposed to the touchy-feely “sure, stuff is maybe possible, I dunno” approach) is defined generally as including (or, perhaps, being entirely defined by) a relationship with an external entity/power/archetype/universal intelligence/elder god of the deep.
The key word there being relationship.
So, get this: spirituality is a form of psychological projection. More specifically, spirituality is an exercise in which a human pretends to be having a relationship (ideally with someone who is really nice), and practices (if you’ll forgive the double entendre) having that relationship.
It’s a way… wait for it… to become a better person.
And, that is true regardless of your relationship with religion. All that is required is for the practicer to act as if they are having a relationship with a real thing. I’m not 100% sure that you even have to really believe it, to be honest. Couldn’t tell ya, though. See previous post.
…well, that’s about it.
I’ve come a very long way in this post, much longer than I expected when I sat down to write about this topic, and I’m glad you made it all the way to the end, Fearless Reader. I honestly never thought we’d be having this conversation, but here we are. I, for one, am very interested to see what else is waiting around the corner.