This Is It: Atheist Spirituality

Gentle Reader, take a few minutes with this post to set aside the illusion of your past, the gossamer dreams of your future. Take this moment to return to right now, this place: your body, your surroundings.

After all, this is it. The point was whimsically expressed by poet James Broughton:
This is It
and I am It
and You are It
and so is That
and He is It
and She is It
and It is It
and That is That

O it is This
and it is Thus
and it is Them
and it is Us
and it is Now
and Here It is
and Here We are
so This is It
I recently became aware of a phenomenon called atheist spirituality, which may sound like an oxymoron. Here’s how it is explained in a video called, “My Spirituality as an Atheist”
"...I’d have to consider myself a spiritual person. I’m not talking about some ghostly, ethereal soul...inside my body.... I’m talking about the essence of human...: the action or ability to see beauty, to feel wonder, and to be in awe. The Grand Tetons.... A pile of stars...still and perfect.... At times I can be so overwhelmed by the sensation of being alive that I cry or I laugh or I scream or I just breathe deeply. Being humble is simply the feeling of recognizing the reality of one’s small significance to a universe so massive. Being grateful to be alive doesn't require a person to be grateful toward.... I am one with the universe. I am as much the universe as a supernova: made of the same particles, governed by the same forces. I am genes that mutated randomly then were selected naturally based on their success in survival. And I love apple butter on a biscuit. I collapse in awe at the magnificence of this place.... I breathe appreciation for it all. I have to – with all my essence, with all my spirit."

Andy Walters described his Atheist Spirituality on his blog, "The Journey":
"As a spiritual atheist, I mean that I reject the supernatural but affirm the reality and value of what most people usually mean when they say 'the divine.'...[The divine is transcendent love, and] Transcendent love is valuing others’ interests above your own....Practicing respect, humility, compassion, and altruism, for example, is intensely gratifying....It is the divine -- the part of me that “transcends” my ego....Second, by “divine”, people also mean inner peace -- being unafraid of what is, has been, or will be....When I experience it, I am flooded with a sense of “all-right-ness” with myself and my circumstances. Although it is a sense of acceptance, it does not rid me of the desire to better myself and my circumstances....Awe is the final component of what people usually mean when they speak of the divine. Divine awe is a sense of utter astonishment and wonder at the mystery of existence...the degree of awe that can come from observing the mystery of existence....For thousands of years, humans have mapped out the divine and many have explained it in terms of the supernatural. With the advent of modernism, however, that language no longer makes sense. But that doesn’t mean that the divine isn’t real -- it only means we need a different vocabulary to describe the same reality. I call it spiritual atheism." (Walters' whole blog post: see here)
Walters, too, videotaped himself offering his reflections:

Yup. "It is now, and here it is, and here we are, so this is it."

There’s something very pure about each moment, just one chance to experience it: blossoms and sunshine and one morning’s journey together. This is it.

* * *
This is part 1 of 6 of "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Spirituality"
Part 2: "Spirituality and Types"
Part 3: "The Class Atheist"
Part 4: "Self-Transcendence, Huh? What Is It Good For?"
Part 5: "But Do You Have a Spiritual Practice?"
Part 6: "Woooo-Hoooo"

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