This is the pilot episode, so Mr. Wunderlich talks about this podcast and its pleasantly short subtitle: “Suggestions for a Plain Spirituality”. Which leads to definition number 28 of the problematic word “spirituality”. In the end, it’s about life itself.
Hello and welcome to “It’s life itself!”. My name is Mr. Wunderlich and this is the pilot episode. So I want to talk about “It’s Life Itself” itself.
The subtitle of this podcast is “Suggestions for a Modern Spirituality”.
That sounds nice, I think. And it is much shorter than “My personal thoughts, stories, meditations and sometimes painful experiences with a lifelong and rather inconclusive search for answers that have almost nothing in common with most of the products labelled “spirituality” you can buy in a shop or online.”
“Suggestions for a Modern Spirituality” is shorter. That much is true.
But there’s a difficult word in it. The word “spirituality”. It is quite problematic.
That begins with Jerome, who translated the bible into Latin. These complications are mainly his fault, he is to blame, he was quite a problematic character himself. Jerome translated the greek word “pneuma” with spirit. That is at least debatable. And then he did the same to the hebrew word “ruach”, which is even more debatable.
Nowadays the word spirituality has 27 compeletely different meanings. That’s not my estimation, that’s the result of a scientific study by Pam McCarroll.
So. Let me put definition number 28 on that list.
I think that spirituality is a basic human desire.
Everyone is spiritual, just because of the way we are built.
On the one side we are equipped with a mind that can understand the world in a rational manner. We can analyze our live logically. That’s a very useful tool. That’s what makes science work. So, thank you, logic!
On the other side we are not logical most of the time. We have feelings, emotions, desires, needs, fears and suffer.
If we listen to our thoughts, then we have to admit: 90% – at least – is not logical at all. Most of our thoughts are just wildly jumping from one association to the next. While the rest of our consciousness secretly does it’s work, mostly by instinct or out of habit.
Sometimes those both sides have a very different opinion. Ask any addict, and most of us have addictions.
There is a gap between logical reasoning and the other side, no matter how we call it: The subconsciousness or the psyche or the soul. They are two sides of one coin.
It’s this gap inside ourselves where spirituality takes it’s root. We are an open question to ourselves. We do not understand ourselves. That’s the place in us where magical thinking stems from. And religion. And superstition.
That’s the start of spirituality, too. But there’s one more important component to spirituality. A special kind of non-rational experiences – experiences that seem to indicate something bigger than our individual selfs.
It’s very common. I’m sure everyone has had experiences like that, many people just prefer to dispel them.
The most intense of these experiences do even have names. Unio mystica, oceanic feeling, satori, kensho, enlightenment, realization, god experience and many, many more.
Every civilisation, every culture and every religion knows about this specific state of mind. It’s not even religious, it’s biological. You don’t need to believe in it, it can be measured. Neuroscans do illustrate it.
In theology the technical term for this would be “mystical”. In scientific terms it maybe “that specific excitation pattern of the anterior flaps” – something like that, I forgot.
Thank you for your patience so far. Now for the definition:
Spirituality is the collective term for methods that help us to integrate different parts of our consciousness into our personality. The non-rational and the rational, but especially the mystical and the logical part in us. Two sides of one coin.
Spirituality is about the coin, not about one side of it!
There’s no need to abandon any part of ourselves, we need both sides.
That’d my definition. Definition Number 28 and certainly not what you will find when you search Google or YouTube. What you will find there are mostly shopping malls!
Spirituality is a commodity now. The internet is full of blissfully grinning life coaches and self-declared masters who try to sell spirituality to you. For self-improvement, productivity, creativity, self-help, relaxation, health, even for supernatural powers and for smelling good. Nothing I just said is made up by me. You can meditate to smell better – that’s good to know, isn’t it?
It’s a terrible sight. It’s a sell out of one of the last things that capitalism didn’t transform to something consumable. It’s just wrong. Most of it is fake.
If there’s a price tag on wisdom, it cannot be wisdom anymore!
If you can sell it, then it cannot be spiritual!
And there is another problem, too. Many products in this multi-billion-dollar-market are not only fake, they are even dangerous!
Spirituality has its dangers. It’s not an easy way. It’s not made by Walt Disney.
It is dissappointing and boring and frightening and depressing. It is. Sometimes.
Spirituality is more like a living, fire-breathing dragon and not like a low-calorie chocolate bar.
I would like to say: Yes, it’s full of pitfalls, but in the end, it’s always worth the effort!
But I don’t sell anything here. So I can tell you the truth: In the end, it could have been a complete waste of your time. That happens a lot!
So. Let’s stop here, that was my teaser so far. These will be my topics.
That’s not enough, you think? You want at least some suggestions for a modern spirituality? Something positive? Some real statements?
Okay, because it’s the first episode.
Some suggestions for a modern spirituality:
A modern spirituality has to come without a price tag. If it’s a very profitable system, then it’s fake.
It can’t be exclusive and secret. It must be … let’s call it: open source. If the teachers talk about secret knowledge all the time, then it’s fake.
It shouldn’t contradict science, because logical thinking is a damn good thing. If you have to believe in mystical superpowers, then it’s fake.
And, let’s not forget an important ingredient: It’s best served with a pinch of humor! If it’s always gravely and no one ever laughs, it’s probably fake.
Okay – then let’s start. I hope you will enjoy what we will build here together!
Stay tuned … even if I have no idea whereto our journey will lead!
Have a wonderful live and all the best to you!
Bye bye, your Mr. Wunderlich