Sunday, 1 January 2012

a touch of the woo hoo


Rabbit things
The life of a wild rabbit involves being born, eating, sleeping, reproducing, being safe and secure in his burrow, running like hell away from any danger, and if he’s a lucky little rabbit, dying peacefully in his sleep without being eaten, shot, run over, or contracting mixie (or similar).  Sounds like a great life.  Or not.

People things
The life of a person involves nearly all of the rabbit stuff (minus contracting mixie but includes multiple other horrible disease-like stuff).

What does a person have that a rabbit doesn’t?
I mean, apart from the obvious biological differences, what’s the stuff that separates homo sapiens from the rest of the animal kingdom?  I mean, if one day Joe Bloggs wakes up with fur all over him, long ears and a fluffy tail with an insatiable desire to munch on carrots and reproduce, what’s Joe Bloggs got that makes him of a sort of ‘higher order’ than poor ole Bugs? 

Salvatore Vuono
A touch of the woo hoo
Occasionally I will meet a person who describes themselves as “spiritual but not religious”.  What’s ‘spiritual’ really mean?  Is this the difference between man and beast?  Or does it mean the spiritual person is vague and mysterious?   Spirituality seems to be a fuzzy term which means different things to different people, and has a touch of the woo hoo about it.  So I wonder what the definition of spirituality is?  Any ideas?

What my feeble unscientific brain thinks
In my understanding, what makes people different to rabbits is:
  • ·         Joe has the capacity to reason, analyse, choose and discipline himself
  • ·         He has a range of emotions and the ability to be self-aware, along the capacity to, at times, identify others’ emotions and respond appropriately to achieve a desired outcome
  • ·        He can learn, add skills to himself, build things, create stuff, design bridges (for example)
  • ·        Initiate and build relationships with others, maintain them, and strengthen or weaken them, fall in love, and trust (or mistrust) someone else

So, is this what it means to be ‘spiritual’?

What Stephanie said
I asked StephanieDowrick (author, public speaker, spiritual and social commentator, retreat leader and Interfaith minister) this exact question:  what was her definition of ‘spirituality’?  Here’s her response:

Official Stephanie Dowrick Hi Cynthia: I mean it in terms of "spirit": the force that connects us to one another, to the familiar material as well as eternal life and, for some, connects us also to God. We feel it physically when our spirits rise or our spirit is at peace - and we can feel this even if our physical "self" is weakened by age or illness. You will find much more in Seeking the Sacred. Thanks for your interest and HNY to you too!

So.  Sounds like a slippery little sucker.  Maybe a bit like ‘the force’ from Star Wars?  What do you think?

Comments invited
Is this the first sign of my ears growing longer, my nose twitching and I am finding carrots more and more irresistible?  Don’t answer that!  But what’s your definition of spirituality? Do you agree with Stephanie Dowrick?  What do you think spirituality is?  Is it the relationship stuff that’s intangible that exists between people?  Something more?  Or less? 

Please share your thoughts – anonymously if you like.  Come on and wax lyrical!

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