We are all giants, raised by pygmies; taught to walk with a perpetual mental stoop. —Robert Anton Wilson What is spirituality? Is it an identity? A new way of seeing the world? A soothing retreat from materialist culture, a call to kindness? I want to suggest that these ideas are a passive and timid reflection of what spirituality should be. Authentic spirituality is a celebration of the depth and mystery of who you are and a reminder not to take yourself for anything less.
The Buddha was not one to mince his words. One of his most powerful quotes is recorded in the Udana—the “Inspired Utterances”: There is that sphere of being where there is no earth, no water, no fire, nor wind; no experience of infinity…; here there is neither this world nor another world, neither moon nor sun; this sphere of being I call neither a coming nor a going nor a staying still, neither a dying nor a reappearance; it has no basis, no evolution, and no support: it is the end of dukkha.
For those concerned or confused by my use of terms like spirituality, mysticism & awakening, I’d like to make something clear up front. I am not a “spiritual person”. I work as an engineering manager in Tech. I love writing code and leading teams. I get excited about typography and blockchains. I don’t speak slowly, or with an uncomfortable level of eye contact. My jeans fit well, I never smell of incense and my political views are moderate.
It seems plain and self-evident, yet it needs to be said: the isolated knowledge obtained by a group of specialists in a narrow field has in itself no value whatsoever, but only in its synthesis with all the rest of knowledge and only inasmuch as it really contributes in this synthesis toward answering the demand, “Who are we?” — Erwin Schrödinger I have always been obsessed with the Big Picture.