CHANGED SPIRITUALITY – I’m finding myself part of the unfolding ancient story of a deeply ‘south west spirituality’ – a region historically characterised by its earthy, wild primal faith; its ‘rebellious and playful’ questioning of the status quo; its historical global connectivity and influence; it’s celtic respect for nature and the ongoing rhythms and seasons of creation and its nurturing of lives fully lived where creativity, friendship and food are valued and celebrated.
- A Paradoxical Spirituality of Activism and Contemplation – loud and quiet, frantic and slow, inner transition as well as outer activism – the paradox of lives that are full of compassionate action, vibrancy and energy and yet know the rhythm of reflection, recharging, receiving and retreating.
- Inter-spiritual – I regularly meet folks who are bringing exciting and useful insight and wisdom from Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Humanist, Pagan, Agnostic and Atheistic backgrounds. New spiritualities that are looking for the best in people, helping to develop bridges of understanding and ‘shalom’.
- By thoroughly rejecting the oppressive, misogynistic and patriarchal overtones of much traditional theology – the new spirituality is seeking to celebrate the female side of God as much as male. As a non-violent and fully-inclusive movement we look to nurture what Martin Luther-King called ‘the beloved community’, where all tribes, tongues, creeds, colours, genders and sexualities can truly be moving and flowing together.
- The effects of Ancient Greek philosophy and modern rationalism on the Western mind, means that many of us have quite literally boxed out the sacred in our lives. Spirituality becomes about Sunday (or Friday or Saturday) or about special religious people and strange rituals. Whereas non-duality* says that everything is important and everything is spiritual. There is no such thing as a more spiritual profession – a brick-layer is as sacred as a priest, a Monday as special as a Sunday, your front room as holy as the grandest cathedral, our mumbling doubts and ramblings as heavenly as the most theologised pre-scripted prayer.
- Experiencing God – dry, cerebral thoughts about God have never been enough to quench the thirst of a genuinely seeking soul. The new spirituality needs to be soaked in and mindful of the presence, power, peace and love of God.
- Although we all do, think and say bad stuff – the new spirituality will also celebrate the innate goodness of every human being. Everybody has got something ‘un-repealable‘ and unique to bring; an original creative passion, a special gift or talent and an unrepeatable calling. The role of a new spirituality is to help unlock and free up these primal creative instincts.
- Some individuals and communities within the new spirituality are finding energy, abundance and inspiration in the life and person of Jesus, a living Christ found beyond the normal confines of organised religions.
- A growing number of South-Westerners self-define as ‘spiritual but not religious’ – they are developing a vibrant and active spirituality outside of hierarchical or doctrinal control – a way of organising that is intrinsically democratic, multi-voiced, localised, non-hierarchical, diverse and participatory. This new spirituality is connected, open and intensely relational – food, drink, nature and parties with friends play a big part.
- The new spirituality needs to be fully alive and empower people into lives abundant in joy, fun, playfulness, mindfulness, purpose, creativity, adventure, nourishing, sensuality, healing, liberation and healthy sexuality.
- A new spirituality must inspire people to develop life-affirming and nourishing spiritual habits – including prayer, mediation, fasting, learning, solitude and silence. Some have called this a ‘new monasticism’ where the habits are the roots above which a healthy spirituality grows and produces shoots and fruits!
- A ‘creation spirituality’ where all of creation – animals (including us), plants, natural resources and the environment – are treated with equal respect and nurture. The traditional anthropocentric** world-views have separated ‘self’ too far from the rest of nature and made it easier for us to exploit and ‘rape’ the planet.
* non-duality = don’t split life into sacred and secular
**anthropocentrism is the view that humankind is the centre of all creation and therefore, by implication, can exploit the animals, plants and the environment