SPIRITUAL HUMANISM THE HUMANIST ALTERNATIVE TO CONVENTIONAL SPIRITUALITY
Moller de la Rouviere
SPIRITUALITY WITHOUT GOD describes a complete path from ordinary dualistic vision to the revelation of the inherent Non-dual nature of human life.
SPIRITUAL HUMANISM THE HUMANIST ALTERNATIVE TO CONVENTIONAL SPIRITUALITY
Spirituality Without God
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Moller de la Rouviere may be contacted at: [email protected]. Moller welcomes communications about this book in the form of queries and other constructive dialogue which may further the investigation Spirituality Without God might engender.
THE FULFILLMENT OF HUMAN LIFE IS THE FULFILLMENT OF SPIRITUAL LIFE. Moller de la Rouviere
FROM THE BACK COVER:
SPIRITUALITY WITHOUT GOD
- A Living Guide for Spiritual seekers, Meditators, Dharma teachers and Therapists
We are already free. Goodness, happiness, compassion and relational integrity are inherent to our BE-ing. To stand in the fullness of our human nature, is to be in the fullness of Spiritual Life. It is all here. There is only This.
¨ DISCOVER a new and radical Humanistic approach to Spiritual life.
¨ LEARN how to live in the light of your own Intelligence, Humaneness and Emotional equanimity.
¨ STAND FREE in that which is already beyond self-limitation, dualistic vision and mere reactivity.
¨ DEVELOP the true art of Self-transcendence through Meditation, Contemplation and Direct Awareness.
¨ ALLOW the unfolding of your deep human potential for compassion and unconditional love.
¨ BE who you are prior to emotional, psychological and mental complexity.
Spirituality Without God is a book about Spiritual Humanism. It is also about self-enquiry, self-knowledge and self-transcendence. It celebrates the Transcendent in humanity. It teaches self-reliance, freedom from traditions, religion and dogma. In essence it points the way to a Wholeness of Life that lies beyond self-contraction, self-absorption, emotional reactivity and mental conditioning. Moller de la Rouvieres first book is completely original, brilliantly argued and stands apart from other books about spirituality in its intelligent, yet compassionate exploration of a truly Humanistic Spirituality.
Those who have developed a sense for the possibility of Non-dual living and sustainable emotional equanimity will find here clear guidelines towards the complete fulfillment of their own human potential. This deeply penetrating enquiry into the human condition, and the inherent freedom, happiness and relational integrity towards which this book points, offer a radical departure from traditional religious and spiritual conventions. Möllers unique concept of Spiritual Humanism brings the spiritual quest back into the human realm.
One of the most original and penetrating aspects of the path of self-discovery and self-transcendence which SPIRITUALITY WITHOUT GOD explores, is Möllers introduction of what he calls Spiritual Psychology. Here the reader is guided through clearly instructed methods of inner emotional and psychological work to free h/herself from deep emotional disturbances.
Spiritual Psychology should be seen as an integral component of the spiritualizing process as no sustainable spiritual life is possible while the practitioner is held hostage by their psychological and emotional shadow material.
SPIRITUALITY WITHOUT GOD affords its reader with a unique exploration into a radically new form of spiritual enquiry that is timeless in its presentation and which provides answers to many of those unasked questions that reside in the depth of the human spirit.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
PART ONE: THE VIEW
1. VISION AND PRACTICE
2. THE THOUGHT/ATTENTION - KNOT
3. COMPONENTS OF THE SEPARATE SELF-SENSE
4. INTELLECTUALISM AND REALITY CONSIDERATION
5. ON SENSE PERCEPTION
6. THE DESTINY OF I-CONSCIOUSNESS
7. THE QUESTION OF ATTACHMENT AND DETACHMENT
8. SELF-ENQUIRY, PSYCHOLOGY AND RIGHT ATTITUDE
9. THE QUESTION OF WILL
10. THREE FUNDAMENTAL STATES
11. SPIRITUALITY, SCIENCE AND ART
PART TWO: THE PRACTICE
12. THE PRACTICE OF PASSIVE AWARENESS
- General Introduction
- The Practice of Passive Awareness
- Minding? and the Thought/Attention-knot
- Attention and Awareness
13. THE PRACTICE OF DIRECT AWARENESS
- Understanding Direct Awareness
- Practicing Direct Awareness
- Full Bodily Awareness
14. WORKING WITH CONTEMPLATION
15. CONTEMPLATION AND REALITY CONSIDERATION
16. WORKING WITH PSYCHOLOGICAL AND EMOTIONAL REACTIVITIES
- General Introduction
- Self-Transcendence and Emotions
- Looking at the Problem
- The Broader Context of Emotional Disturbance
- Primal Contraction
- The Ego-process and Emotional Reactivity
- Discovering the Right Instruments
- Beginning the Process
- Direct Awareness and Emotional Reactivities
17. INTEGRATION - Towards the Wholeness of BE-ing
Spirituality Without God could be seen as a fresh and original attempt to look at the human situation as a Whole and to explain the art of Transcendent living from a truly humanistic perspective.
One of the most important insights which this book explores and communicates is that we need not rely on any specific tradition, philosophy, religion or teacher for the complete fulfillment of our potential. Self-knowledge and the Wholeness of Life are inherent to human existence and only require appropriate ways of allowing for their unfolding and living expression.
Spirituality is a human affair. We need not complicate our enquiry with all the traditional forms of spiritual, metaphysical or religious ideas presented to us as revelatory truths. Rather, if we approach self-enquiry with an open heart and an open mind, we will soon discover that we are naturally endowed with an Intelligence and emotional ability which hold the diversity of Life together. It does this not only in a coherent and practical way, but also as an awakened activity of compassion and charity, which naturally extends itself towards other human beings.
For this humanizing process to unfold and to become our living reality, our starting point would be the acceptance that there is absolutely nothing suspect about our born condition. As humans we lack nothing for the complete fulfillment of our destiny. We are born into a Wholeness of Life that naturally expresses itself through a compassionate heart and unconditional Intelligence, if only we were to allow for its unfolding.
If we could become sensitive to this primary truth, we will discover that our deepest potential has only been obscured by a vast and complex network of thought-projections and emotional reactivities which have prevented our natural state from revealing itself in our everyday living. This has created the appearance of fragmentation and duality whereas we already inhere in an undivided, natural condition of Wholeness.
Spirituality Without God brings clarity and insight to this entire field of presumed fragmentation and allows us to discover through self-enquiry and self-observation how we participate in the inner processes that keep our ignorance alive. For this we need not become more complicated and philosophical. The path of self-enquiry and self-transcendence suggests quite the contrary. Once we become sensitive to our own inner turmoil, disorder and dysfunction, we naturally begin to appreciate that our path is a movement from complexity and confusion, to simplicity and inner order. This is why considerable emphasis is placed on the practice of Direct Experience (see: Part Two:The Practice) to guide us through, and liberate us from, the complexities we bring to our lives.
Through the path of self-observation, meditation and Contemplation we will uncover many hidden aspects of ourselves. In Spirituality Without God we are offered clear guidelines on how to restore our sanity through insightful participation in every aspect of our being. During this investigation it will become clear that to arrive at a complete understanding of ourselves; we need never look for any answer outside the already-existing truth of our living reality. This makes our journey truly humanistic where we never feel the need, or urgency, to look for any assistance from beyond our present human experience.
However, to find our human measure, we will need the courage to look afresh at every aspect of our interaction with our world as a whole. Approaching both ourselves and objective reality in this openhearted way, we will discover that nothing we may encounter during this investigation will have the power to deter us from our quest. In fact, our enquiry will soon reveal that the closer we keep to the truth of what we perceive, intuit and directly experience, the more liberating our path will be.
Another aspect of the path of self-transcendence is that it should help us to discover the right instruments with which to work. It would be of little use to attempt deep investigations into our own being before we have established the appropriate means to facilitate such work. For this we will draw not only on our intellectual and intuitive grasp of things. We will also have to develop other aspects of our potential to participate in our own processes in a direct and courageous way, without any fear or resistance. Much of the formal meditation work suggested in this book serves this purpose.
And as our inquiry deepens, it will become progressively clearer that we have not embarked upon a path where we merely struggle with the technicalities of our practice. Rather, the way of self-enquiry and self-transcendence is a living process, where we realize that we are the path we will have to walk. There is no path other than the complexities and difficulties we bring to our lives. It is up to us to discover the subtle nuances of our own uninspected inner world that obscure the natural functioning of our true human spirit.
This book offers us the opportunity to inspect the manner in which we function, and assists us to transcend every aspect of limitation we bring to the living moment. When our understanding matures, we will progressively rely more on our own clarity of insight and directly felt experience. This will afford us with a quiet confidence, not based on external achievement or mere ego-satisfaction, but rather nourished from, and informed by, the well of our own deeper Intelligence and Wholeness.
The instruments we will develop through the formal meditation and contemplative practices suggested in Part Two: The Practice will prove to be sufficiently effective to deal with every aspect of our mental and emotional complexities in a coherent and practical way. These will allow us to explore many different approaches to our reactivities, inconsistencies, disturbances, emotional dysfunctions and other forms of inner contraction and debilitation.
Perhaps one of the most encouraging elements of the path of self-enquiry is that every new discovery reveals itself as an integral part of a wider liberating process. All we need to do is to find appropriate ways of dealing with our situation. The results will follow by themselves in a natural and quite remarkable way. And as our enquiry unfolds, every aspect of our contracted being will gradually fall away by non-use. When the false, dualistic vision is left behind, only the truth of the Wholeness of Life remains.
Although Spirituality Without God enters into deep and subtle aspects of our entire field of experience, it always endeavors to approach things in a non-technical and non-academic way. Every subject discussed and every form of practice proposed are explored in the broad context of a quest for Wholeness and a truly sane and integrated life. And because this is an enquiry into the totality of our human condition, the reader will not find any speculative metaphysics or empty philosophical propositions merely to stimulate the imagination. Such unnecessary elaborations serve only to detract from the urgency and integrity of our investigation. This is an exploration into human life where we discover many aspects of how we think and feel about things. No area of our inner life is irrelevant to this discovery. And no speculation about it is necessary or appropriate.
We have lived with so many untruths, and have allowed ourselves to become so profoundly conditioned into ways of thinking and feeling which do not reflect our true condition, that we have become insensitive to the point of being completely ignorant of what it means to be fully human. Our lives have become little more than series of resistances against the flow and movement of the ever-changing nature of things. And much of this is the direct result of the religious dogmas and mystical, esoteric and metaphysical speculations presented to us as revelatory truths by the traditions of religiosity.
Instead of freeing us from our confusion, disorder and bewilderment, many of these teachings have served only to complicate our lives by suggesting that we look outside or beyond human life for the ultimate fulfillment of our potential. In this way our spiritual traditions have contributed to our already deeply fragmented, dualistic vision and brought us to a point where we have lost all sense of the Wholeness in which we already inhere. We may have the rare or occasional glimpse of this profoundly undivided Reality but, more often than not, we practice a style of living that keeps us apart and destroys the deep relational integrity of our lives.
Spirituality Without God proposes an original and radically humanistic vision for discovering the Non-dual Truth of Life and the emotional equanimity we all seek. By refusing to accept any of the dogmas proposed by the traditions of confusion we call spirituality, religion or mysticism where we are taught either to merge with something presumably Greater than ourselves or realize our identification with some inner Unitive Principle such as Brahman, Emptiness, Consciousness, Atman, God or the Self the enquiry proposed in this book clearly demonstrates that the path to, and realization of, the Non-dual Truth of Life lies entirely within our human potential, and nowhere else. We need nothing but the integrative measure of our deep humanity for the truth and beauty of our human appearance to be revealed.
Through self-enquiry, self-knowledge and self-transcendence we discover that when every aspect of dualistic presumption within us has been recognized and transcended, we are already free in the Great Simplicity of BE-ing, which is Whole and always nothing other than perfectly human, sane and loving.
~ ~ ~
For the sake of clarity and to simplify our enquiry, Spirituality Without God has been divided into two parts.
In Part One:The View we explore many of the misconceptions we have about life and living. These essays form an integral part of the path of self-enquiry, self-knowledge and self-transcendence. They penetrate deeply into many of the themes we may come across in the traditional mystical and esoteric paths of liberation, and endeavor to explain the limitations and confusion that have developed around these teachings over centuries of mere repetition. At the same time we are presented with new and original ways to look at our own lives, directly available to our understanding, insight and experience.
The purpose of this type of enquiry into the human condition as a whole is to sensitize ourselves to the many misconceptions and uninspected attitudes we bring to our lives. Although our explorations should always be alive with Intelligence and characterized by a genuine spirit of enquiry, we need to guard against merely becoming intellectual or philosophical. Rather, we should always endeavor to remain realistic by never moving away from that which cannot be verified on present, experiential evidence.
In these essays we are further sensitized to the fact that no enquiry is complete without allowing for the full development of our true emotional potential to work in constant resonance with our deeper Intelligence. Everything we explore from the point of view of the heart, as well as from our deeper Intelligence, finally finds its true measure in the direct experience of a deep emotional Intelligence, which could be seen as the functional instrument of the Holistic nature of Life.
In Part One we prepare the ground for such an open-minded and open-hearted way of life. Here we develop a radical spirit of enquiry by taking a critical look at many of the issues which bind and limit our full participation in life. Once this spirit of enquiry has been well established, we will be sufficiently prepared not to offer resistance to the penetrating insights and forms of direct experience which will become an integral part of our process when we engage in the formal meditative work as suggested in Part Two.
In Part Two: The Practice we enter into many different forms of meditative practice that give substance, through direct experience, to the issues we have been contemplating in Part One. Here we discover how to find our measure in formal meditative practice and to integrate the techniques of meditation into our daily living. We learn in detail how to work with our emotional reactivities and psychological disturbances. We explore and develop the functional ways in which the ego sustains itself through comparison and self-proving. We look at how thought and attention form a finely woven network of inner confusion and illusion. We develop the art of meditation through Passive Awareness and Direct Awareness. In the process we learn how to work with Contemplation to free us from conditioning and mental/emotional reactivities.
Every aspect of our self-contracted state is brought into the domain of Intelligent observation. Little has been left out from this enquiry into our own mental and emotional dysfunctioning. And when we have sufficiently recognized the ways through which we distort and fragment our living reality, we enter into the final work of Direct Awareness, non-doing and no-effort. As we shall discover, these subtle forms of practice are only possible in the context of a refined and delicate sense of relaxation, where the tendencies for drawing us back into the complexity of our reactive, destiny-creating ways of doing things, have lost their hold over us.
From here we can allow for the unfolding of a life that has lost its separate and fragmentary appearance. We will notice that we begin to manifest an ongoing Holistic quality of BE-ing, which naturally reveals itself as compassion for all living creatures - including ourselves. This is evidenced by true emotional responsiveness, unconditioned Intelligence and a softness of heart that constantly feels its way into situations in a gentle and sensitive manner.
The final chapter on Integration points us beyond formal practice to a way of life freed from self-limitation and self-imposed suffering where the Wholeness of Life gradually becomes our deeply-felt living reality.
SPIRITUAL HUMANISM: Towards the transcendence of the rational/scientific model for human well-being.
By Moller de la Rouviere
Author of Spirituality Without God
It would seem not unreasonable to suggest that for humankind to arrive at the most realistic comprehension of reality, which of necessity has to include the human condition as such, the full spectrum of human potential will have to be engaged in such an enquiry. No movement towards a truly penetrating and integral understanding of life can take place in the context of a limited, and self-limiting, definition of the human condition. To consider reality in the fullest way possible, the human spirit of enquiry has to be set unconditionally free so that it may engage itself on all levels of investigation, both outwardly and inwardly: outwardly in how we see and experience our world; inwardly in how we view and experience ourselves.
To view manifest existence as a scientifically verifiable series of objects, and humanity most fundamentally as a rational creature, having to make sense of life by using thought as our central instrument for finding our true human measure, we may unwittingly buy into a limited vision of life which may not be capable of arriving at a truly comprehensive view of matters. This could impact negatively on our ability for integral living. Yet, this seems to be the position of many within the Humanistic movement.
Secular Humanism generally advocates a rational, secular view of life, compatible with scientific method in its pursuit of knowledge. It regards reason and rationality as its ultimate measure for all human interaction with the world. It rejects the supernatural and views areas of human expression such as intuition, inspiration, revelation, altered states of consciousness and emotion as potentially useful( if somewhat dubious), sources of information, but ultimately subject to rational evaluation. Although Secular Humanists advocate compassion and tolerance, even these would seem to be tempered and given meaning by objective, rational measurement.
Secular Humanists therefore regard rationality as the final arbiter and embrace a life of free thinking, open-mindedness, democratic values and the discovery of humane relationships with the world as comprehended and sanctioned by the rational mind.
To my understanding Secular Humanism, as a movement towards achieving the best possible living conditions for humanity as a whole, should be cautious to identify itself too intimately with the notions of rationality and science. To explore human potential exclusively from within the scientific-rational model is to define human life as something empirical, objective and purely rational and thereby leaving such an enquiry vulnerable to marginalize those aspects of human experience which cannot be rationally explained or scientifically verified.
Science is the art of fragmentation, and the rational mind its most fundamental source of information, understanding and methodology. However, human life cannot be fully comprehended by fragmenting it into what may appear to scientific enquiry as manageable, observable and verifiable units of objective existence to be observed, investigated and manipulated. On the contrary, human life is a rather fluid affair, and the rational mind, useful and important as it no doubt is, cannot come to a full and complete understanding of the totality of human potential and its unfathomable depth of expression. In fact, it could be reasonably argued that the rational instrument could become a profound obstacle to full human unfolding should it be allowed to operate in areas of human functioning where it serves no useful purpose. Only deep insight into the limitations of the rational instrument as it operates within its own field could verify the self-evident truth of this suggestion.
And this brings us to one of the dilemmas facing Secular Humanism as a movement promoting the exclusive use of rationality as its instrument to deal with human life as a whole. By rejecting altered states of consciousness; viewing with skepticism human qualities such as intuition, insight and inspiration and marginalizing the emotions as an integral aspect of appropriate human functioning, Secular Humanism rejects, and casts doubt on very valuable sources of human potential.
Having rejected all Other-worldly control over humanity, is it possible that the Secular Humanist movement has gone too far to the other extreme by placing its faith entirely in science, rationality - and by implication a materialistic world-view to deliver us from the ills so prevalent in modern society?
I ask this because to my understanding such a limited view of how to control our own destiny may result in an equally limited and fragmented series of answers. One could ask: If rationality and scientific enquiry are the answers to our human ills, what was the question? What are the problems rationality and science could address in a meaningful way? And is it not possible that many of the ills of our world throughout the ages have been the direct consequences of rationality functioning in what might have appeared to be a purely rational manner, devoid of any other input from our more subtle and subjective human sources of information?
No doubt, rational thinking is one of the very valuable instruments available to the human psychophysical being. But rational thinking tends to think from within the borders of its own conditioning. In this it is not truly free to express a purely rational opinion on many aspects of human life. For instance, rational thought, important as it may be for directing many aspects of coherent human functioning, including scientific and technological investigation, is also the instrument which can meticulously plan the destruction of millions by rationalizing the promptings of some nationalistic imperative or the need for territorial expansion, and so on. Further, it is the rational mind, devoid of the value of intuitive emotional information that can create the vast array of destructive weapons we see around the world all only for the purpose of maiming and killing other human beings. In this compassion plays no part at all. We only see a rationality dramatizing itself totally out of context with the human environment within which it finds itself.
The rational mind can compartmentalize itself away from the emotional content of the psychophysical being as whole, and act in many destructive ways contrary to our natural intuition which demands order, humane living and freedom from authority and physical intimidation as prerequisites for human well-being.
Furthermore, we see the vulnerability of rationality to the influence of social and other forms of emotional and mental conditioning. For instance, it is said that one of the greatest rationalists and scientists of the modern era, Albert Einstein, had such a firm belief in a God of ultimate order, that he could not accept the implications of his own investigations into the randomness towards which quantum physics pointed. This indicates how vulnerable the rational process is to influences other than pure rationality. The question could thus be asked: Is there such a condition or ability of pure rationality? Or do we discover behind much of our presumed rational thinking already a bias or condition which directs and influences the rational process?
Clearly the rational mind is most effective in areas such as scientific enquiry, mathematics and technology. Here it functions in a most disciplined and unconditioned manner. But when it comes to its involvement with social, moral, ethical, emotional, relational and psychological issues, it tends to be out of its depth. It simply cannot be trusted to produce a coherent and humane social environment for us to function in. We have seen this failure in the great diversity of forms of social disorganization throughout the ages. This is not the fault of rationality as such: rather it is because as humans we often believe we could utilize this instrument in all areas of human life to create social stability and well-being. In this way rationality becomes destructive and functions contrary to human requirements for survival and emotional order.
We as Humanists should sensitize ourselves to this inherent dilemma presented to humanity by the exclusive use of rational thinking. The rational mind is not the instrument through which emotional order, compassion, charity, true humaneness and a wholeness of living reality could be established. The rational mind can imitate these and make rules and images of what these mean and how these should be effected , but no thinking can produce the purity and living reality of those aspects of our humanity which, given the right inner conditions, manifest quite naturally as these profoundly human and humane qualities.
To be humane is not merely to be human. Many humans, often even the most rational and scientifically orientated amongst us, can display rather disconcerting signs of inhumaneness. Rationalism is as much a belief-system as any other belief which presents itself as a panacea for our human ills. In a way not different to how religions believe their gods and saviors will come to the rescue and install a humane and compassionate society here on earth, the notion that scientific rationalism could serve this purpose is equally based on an uninspected and partial view of the human condition. It is not a complete Humanistic view not if Humanism were to incorporate the total spectrum of human potential.
As long as rationalism and science alone form the basis of our Humanist investigation into inner and outer order, such order will be conditioned, controlled and determined, not by the totality of our human potential, (which to my understanding would reflect a truly Humanistic position) but rather by instruments which were not designed to allow for a holistic approach to humane living. These may serve the psychophysical being in a very appropriate way, each in its own right. But to address the problems facing us in a truly coherent manner, we need to develop and involve all our faculties.
There is sufficient evidence to suggest that the rational mind cannot be trusted to promote a tolerant, responsible and open society. In fact it could be argued that it was exactly the un-emotional and uncompassionate use of rationality that could create such masterpieces of social disorganization, suppression of people, malevolent social systems and destructive devices as we have seen manifested in the South African Apartheid system, the inhumane dictatorships of the Communist world, the Fascist movements in Europe, the development of the atomic bomb and other such products of rationality devoid of emotion and compassion.
The rational mind, devoid of a deep sense of feeling, emotion, compassion and unconditioned intelligence can create and rationalize many profoundly destructive ways of living. Based in fragmentation, specialization and partial insight, rational thought can very easily become an instrument for destruction and fragmentation of human life. Once fragmentation has become the basis by which rational thought orders our lives, human life takes on the form of this fragmentary process. And, as J.Krishnamurti once observed: Fragmentation breeds conflict.
Rational thought, in its association with scientific enquiry, has created much misery in the world. In fact, there is no observable or necessary link between rational thought and science on the one hand, and humane living on the other. A humane world will of necessity be characterized not only by clear-mindedness, but most profoundly by compassion, mutual care and true openness of our hearts and minds towards one another.
Scientific rationalism negates these rather subjective aspects of humankind, and has often portrayed them, rather condescendingly, as mere theatre for our irrational emotions. However, a Humanism that is founded in scientific rationalism alone, devoid of the truly subjective in humanity, can only result in partial, incomplete human realization, devoid of much of its humaneness.
We need to function from as wide a human base as possible to secure both human survival and the fulfillment of a humane living environment. A tolerant, responsible, free and democratic society is indeed the natural consequence of open-mindedness. But open-mindedness is not merely a result of pure reason. True open-mindedness is a natural consequence of self-reflection, introspection and the discovery of ways of human functioning that reflects and utilizes all our human faculties, including reason, emotion, the intelligence of love and compassion, artistic expression and appreciation, insight, the clarity of a quiet mind and the transpersonal, non-dual truth of human life.
The enquiry into these cannot be limited to scientific method. No doubt science does assist the human process in general. But science cannot effectively deal with the subtlety of the human system as a whole. Humane living is not the consequence of a repeatable, scientific experiment - empirically verified in a test tube. To be humane, and to create a humane society, require the expression of our total humanity. It is not merely a result of right thinking: it is as much a result of right feeling, right relationship and right attitude in short, right living as a whole, utilizing the entire spectrum of human potential.
The word humane is nuanced by its emotional content. It presupposes not mere rationality but rather points to a kind of reasonableness where emotion forms an integral part of the decision-making process. To be humane is therefore not only to be rational: it is to allow our rationality to be tempered by the presence and insight of other deeper faculties such as compassion, holistic vision and, ultimately, a thoroughly self-transcendent disposition. For these qualities to manifest require a considerably wider development of our human faculties than just relying on scientific rationalism. Without these fundamental human qualities in clear evidence, humane living is not possible. And in this regard, no reference needs to be made to the supernatural, godly, other-worldly or mystical. Where appropriate, rationality needs to be transcended, to make way for deeper qualities of human potential to play their useful and appropriate part in establishing a truly humane inner and outer order.
To transcend the rational is not to reject it. It is to incorporate it as an important component of human functioning, but not to regard it as the only measure for human interaction with life. Human living is a unfathomably rich tapestry of subtle potential and my concern with the insights into the human condition as explained by many within the Secular Humanist movement is that there appears to be an uninspected urgency towards limiting and controlling human activity through fragmentation and the kind of thinking that finds such an approach agreeable or even necessary.
And it seems to me that only self-knowledge, obtained through self-observation and self-exploration, could facilitate the awakening of our humaneness as a true expression of our total humanness. Such introspection could not be considered to be compatible with scientific method. Working within the human situation as a whole, including our self-transcendent potential, has to be explored rather than attempting to crystallize some refined humanity from a process of rationality and science. This requires a deeper commitment to the ideals of tolerance, responsibility and an open, free and democratic society than the rational process is capable of. It is part of the limitations of the rational mind to believe it is the instrument through which humane living could be established. Only introspection of, and deep reflection on, this belief could penetrate the inaccuracy of this fundamental flaw in the deliberations of the rational instrument.
Until these forms of exploration become central to the Humanist enquiry into humane living, I am afraid, the high ideals towards which the Secular Humanist movement strives, will find great difficulty manifesting as living reality. Humaneness cannot be imposed onto oneself as a concept and then willed into existence. Humaneness, in its most comprehensive expression, is a natural result of quiet introspection, self-reflection, meditation and, perhaps above all, the opening up of the entire psychophysical being to areas of exploration that naturally manifest beyond the borders of pure rationality, self and the scientific-materialistic paradigm.
Spiritual Humanism addresses these questions in a most fundamental and integrated way. It explores every aspect of human life with an open mind and an open heart. It does not start its enquiry from a pre-determined conclusion relative to which instrument is most suitable for investigating life. Neither does it frown upon aspects of human expression which may not comfortably fit into the conditions and categories of rational thought. Rather, here the emphasis is on discovering the widest use of human potential in as intelligent a manner as possible.
Spiritual Humanism remains true to the Humanists demand for free and unconditional enquiry. It therefore allows itself to explore states of human awareness which could indeed be seen to be different to the conditioned, memory-based kinds of thinking and feeling which we generally assume as our natural state. For instance, Spiritual Humanism explores the transpersonal potential within conscious awareness and seeks to establish a life not entirely dominated by the contracted self-sense with its wide-ranging emotional and psychological effects on the psychophysical being as whole. It further allows for the unfolding of a deeper intelligence which transcends memory-based thinking while at the same time displays a remarkable sensitivity towards the things it thinks about. In this way the schism between intelligent thinking and intelligent feeling is bridged. Thinking becomes an expression of true human emotion and vice versa. Emotional life and thinking life get united in a synergistic interaction which serves the psychophysical being from a considerably wider perspective than when we just employ conditioned, memory-based rationality as the functional instrument of our interaction with the world.
Spiritual Humanism explores and allows for the full unfolding of our deeper human qualities which are generally obscured by the frantic attempts of the rational mind to make sense of many challenges for which it is not designed to deal with. By not approaching the total field of experience with any pre-determined instrument, Spiritual Humanism keeps the exploration open and receptive within a resolute spirit of enquiry.
The Humanist movement, if it were to serve humanity in its widest context possible and to fulfill its promise of being a genuine expression of humankind, will have to include in its explorations and deliberations also the view that to be human is to have aspects to its humanness which transcend ordinary rational thought. In fact, what is rejected by Secular Humanism as altered states of consciousness are indeed states of conscious awareness which become evident when the whole psychophysical being, including the thought-stream, becomes quiet and deeply restful. During such states of inner quiet we discover aspects of human life which radically transcend ordinary conditioned ways of relating to circumstances. And it would seem perfectly appropriate to refer to such states of inner quiet, insight and wholeness as altered states of consciousness without the need to regard these as mystical, religious, esoteric or in any way other-than-human.
Spiritual Humanism advocates the total exploration of human potential to allow for the gradual unfolding of a fully integrated human life. My book, Spirituality Without God is an attempt to explain the deep spiritual aspect of humanity from an uncompromisingly Humanistic perspective. It is therefore not only an unambiguous Humanistic statement: it also explores many of these subtle forms of human potential and guides the reader to a fully integrated mental, emotional and spiritual life. The book considers reality in its relation to our total being and offers clear guidelines on how to awaken to our deep human potential and to make every aspect of it functional in ordinary living. As a true alternative to conventional spirituality, without any religious nuances whatsoever, it provides a way of looking at life which could fulfill the deepest quest for meaning, emotional stability, intelligence and humane living.
In conclusion allow me to say that I regard Humanism as the only vision for the future of mankind. Our gurus have failed us. Our religions are mere comfort zones for emotional and psychological bewilderment. Science cannot free itself from its fundamental attachment to materialism. Rationality is flawed with conditioned emotional and factual prejudice. The mystical paths present us with little but thousands of years of mere intellectualizing and uninspected repetition of presumed revelatory truths.
These are all based on an inability to investigate the human situation directly from within the living reality of human life itself . This has left a sensitive schism between the human search for genuineness, integrity and the true meaning of life on the one hand, and the answers to these questions offered to it culturally and traditionally.
The true answer to human life lies in the total human condition alone. This is why I consider it of such critical importance that the Humanistic movement should take great care in how it describes and defines itself. The opposite of folly is not found merely in its rejection, but rather in its transcendence.
Western Humanism, once it has freed itself from all forms of presumed Other-worldly, Emanating, Substance-based or God-destined control over humanity, will need to search for a truly Humanistic inspiration which transcends the purely rational, scientific-materialistic worldview. If such an enquiry leads it deep into the subjective potential of human nature, (which lies at the heart of our humanity) the Humanist movement should be true to their own declared undertaking: to enjoy the open-endedness of a quest and the freedom of discovery that this entails (Frederick Edwords, 1998). These are truly beautiful words. Yet, it is not only the content of discovery which is important; of greater significance are the instruments that are employed with which to arrive at a comprehensive vision of human life.
The Humanists alone can alert humanity to a different way of experiencing reality a way that may lead to a complete development of our human potential based on nothing but a radically free Humanistic disposition. This will no doubt prove to be an arduous undertaking. Yet, if the Humanists of this world want to play a meaningful role in the future of mankind, they would do well to recognize the potential in human life beyond the confines of scientific rationality and allow for the investigation and unfolding of all our subtle, transcendent human qualities as an integral part of the Humanistic movement.
Moller de la Rouviere
Author of: Spirituality Without God
e-mail: [email protected]
Essay on Spiritual Psychology
The following short description of Spiritual Psychology comes from a practical, self-help course on the subject Moller is currently working on:
WHAT IS SPIRITUAL PSYCHOLOGY?
An Essay by Moller de la Rouviere
(Author of Spirituality Without God)
Spiritual Psychology is a way of facilitating the natural unfolding of your own human potential whereby your current distressful emotional disturbances will lose their hold over your life and allow you to breathe freely - deep into the well of your true, happy and natural human state.
The way the word Spirit is used in this Course points to that deep feeling -sense we all have of our own inherent sanity, well-being, equanimity and health. Spiritual Psychology is a methodical and practical approach both to work with, and to resolve, disturbing and debilitating emotional and psychological shadow material from this prior disposition of health and wholeness. The approach to integral living that this Course explores does not assume any inner disturbance, whether physical, mental or emotional, as fundamental to your living reality.
Rather, Spiritual Psychology assumes that you are always, already perfectly healthy, sane and whole, and that this inherent well-being has merely been obscured by unnecessary and uninspected impositions on your inner order and general well-being.
The word Spirit could also be equated with those natural and uniquely human qualities such as compassion, love, joy, companionship, charity, empathy, sympathy, unconditioned emotional response-ability, self-worth, intelligence and insight. These are qualities inherent to our human condition which cannot be created or destroyed. Through the way we live, though, these may either be allowed to reveal themselves as the functional manifestations of our own inherent well-being, or they may remain obscured through uninspected living.
Except in the case of extreme emotional/psychological debilitation, even deeply wounded individuals retain the capacity to give and receive love and human warmth. And as there is no clearer manifestation of sanity and a well-adjusted emotional disposition than the capacity to give and receive love freely and un-self-consciously, this deep urge for the expression of love from within our being points to our inalienable prior state of health and order.
This profoundly humane quality is therefore built into the fabric of our humanness, and although not much of it is generally evident in our daily interactions with one another, it is always there for us to draw on should we open ourselves to its delicate promptings from within. This deep humaneness can only be obscured. It can never be touched or destroyed. It is our birthright and is always ready to shine through the fog of our uninspected responses to life to become our living truth, if only we could find ways of allowing it to manifest.
We are born sane and whole. About this we never need to concern ourselves. Our nature inheres in an unfathomable well of creative Intelligence and emotional purity. And this inherent emotional warmth, charity, mental order and Intelligence are those uniquely human qualities we may refer to as the human spirit.
Spiritual Psychology primarily endeavors to re-establish an open channel of communication between your everyday, functional awareness and this deeper feeling-sense of complete well-being and inherent wholeness. In fact, before you are encouraged to start any work on your psychological and emotional disturbances, you will first be shown how to establish yourself in a disposition of deep quiet and inner Intelligence which exists prior to your emotional shadow material and psychological reactivities. This will safeguard you against the mistake, so prevalent in many psychotherapeutic methods, to approach your inner complexities from the point of view of the dilemma itself. Unless a stable inner environment has been well established, the positive, freeing results of emotional work will not be able to integrate themselves into your life because of the relative superficiality of how they had been approached and resolved. The deeper the inner quiet from which you observe and work with these disturbances, the more thorough, penetrating and sustainable will be the results of your endeavor.
In this Course you will be shown many forms of deep mental relaxation and bodily awareness to serve as preparation for the important emotional work that lies ahead. Only when the right inner environment has been established will you be able to truly look at yourself, learn about yourself and come to new and liberating insights about your present condition. Using this approach, you will always be working from a perfectly safe, yet extremely effective, inner disposition to re-establish yourself in your natural well of sanity and inner order. You will always be encouraged to start any inner work from this disposition of inner quiet.
To follow this kind of enquiry, you will not be asked to believe in anything other than your own clarity, observational ability and natural Intelligence. You will be taken by the hand and shown simple, direct and practical ways of how to feel into your own prior sanity and natural order. This feeling-sense will become your own experience and, once yours, it could serve as a powerful base from where you could investigate all your emotional disturbances. In this way you will allow yourself direct access to disturbing shadow material without becoming disturbed or absorbed in its reactive and often volatile content. Rather, you will be led by the subtlety of your own Intelligence to work through your disturbing material quite naturally and without defense or resistance.
Spiritual Psychology assumes that health is always prior to sickness and that any psychological or emotional disturbance is like being affected with some kind of ailment. Behind the disruption in your normal functioning, your inner health has neither been touched nor disturbed. What you feel as specific physical, emotional or mental symptoms do not detract from the fact that prior to these disturbances your being still inheres in a natural state of health and order which is always ready to heal, and bring to perfect functioning, any aspect of disturbance within itself. If health was not your fundamental condition, no healing could ever take place.
Healing is the function of a healthy, whole organism, despite temporary debilitation or malfunction in any of its parts including your emotional/psychological being.
The health you regain after your sickness is the same health that served the process of healing. At no point did you believe that you were sick in any ultimate sense, and although the sickness might have been uncomfortable or even painful, deep inside you knew that you would get better. At no stage did you become totally identified with the disturbance as though it reflected your entire being.
Exactly the same is true of your painful and disturbing emotional and psychological experiences. These are forms of inner disturbance, and, painful as these may be, there is nothing written that you need to become identified with them as though they truly reflect the totality of your being.
You are already as emotionally healthy and whole as your body is fundamentally healthy and whole even in the midst of any disturbed aspect of it, whether physical, mental or emotional. And your human spirit is as eager and capable of healing aspects of your psychological being, as the life-energy of the body is ready to do its healing work when its holistic functioning has temporarily been interfered with through sickness or trauma.
Sickness, discomfort and disease are secondary to, and generally of a lower and less subtle order of organization, than health. When the healthy, life-positive functioning of the organism has been sufficiently eroded through inappropriate living, thinking and feeling, debilitation and disorder may well become dominant and may finally lead to total disorganization of the psychophysical instrument. This naturally leads to death or a state of living inertia. But should there remain even the slightest possibility of recuperation, the organism will always, as far as possible, move toward the rebalancing of life energy. This again implies that even under dire circumstances, the being as a whole inheres in a state of well-being which could be seen as the fundamental ordering principle and initiator of any movement back into a wider condition of health. And this relationship between health and sickness, where health is always seen to be prior and inherently of a higher order than sickness or dysfunction, forms the basis of all realistic and Intelligent investigations into any disturbance. It is also one of the most pivotal insights that informs every aspect of this Course in Spiritual Psychology.
Another, very important aspect, integral to Spiritual Psychology, is the specific use of the term Spiritual in relation to the psychological work on which this Course centers.
In my book: Spirituality Without God, I continually stress the close working relationship between psychological work and any sustainable freedom which spiritual enquiry might afford us. In this book I describe spirituality as the gradual unfolding of all the more subtle and humane qualities which are already present within our being but that need to be allowed to reveal themselves in our daily living. We are all human by birth, but to become truly humane, we need to allow for the gradual development and unfolding of our true humanity which is our deep potential and, when allowed to manifest, is directly experienced as love, compassion, self-respect, positivity, intelligence, empathy, equanimity and relational integrity. These are aspects of our being which have been obscured from very early in life but, as we have seen in the case of health, are always immediately available to us should we allow for their revelation.
When we consider psychological work, we find ourselves in very much the same position relative to these deeper qualities of being. True sanity and integral living are not possible as long as we firmly believe in the projections which obscure our natural emotional equanimity. In fact, to be a sane and emotionally healthy human being, is to stand no less in the fullness of these spiritual qualities, than we would expect to manifest only after deep spiritual enquiry. Spiritual life is human life fulfilled. And psychological and emotional order form an integral part of such a living reality.
This brings us back to the question about the use of the term Spiritual Psychology.
Spiritual Psychology makes use of all the methods we would apply to free ourselves from our psychological complexities during the self-transcendent work which characterizes the spiritual path. When we thus employ the term Spiritual Psychology, this is because we not only approach our psychological work with the same methods as we do in more formal self-transcendent (spiritual) work, we also arrive at the same freedom from emotional disturbances as we would expect from the spiritualizing process.
This Course addresses only the deep psychological and emotional disturbances we carry with us from day to day, and makes no claims to facilitate the complete process of the free, enlightened condition of Non-dual awakening. (For such a complete investigation into the spiritualizing process as a whole, you could explore the work presented in Spirituality Without God). Spiritual Psychology takes its stand as a method of psychological and emotional enquiry with its sole purpose to free you from binding emotional/psychological shadow material.
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Hand in hand,
MOLLER DE LA ROUVIERE
E-mail: [email protected]
About the Author
Moller sees himself as a student of Life. He has no formal academic qualifications and writes from his own personal experience gained through a lifetime of radical self-enquiry, meditation, insight and observation.
Moller has a passion for going beyond mere description, intellectual understanding and knowledge, directing his enquiry instead to the heart of the human spirit and the possibility of sustainable self-transcendent living. For Moller a single question has to be answered: how to translate ideas into living reality?
It is this question that has prompted Moller to remain resolute in his own self-enquiry and self-transcendent work, the expression of which is shared in his first book: Spirituality Without God.
Moller lives a quiet life with his wife,
Lize, in a rather remote part of