Escaping Spirituality
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28-05-2017, 11:58 AM
Sad Escaping Spirituality
All my life I've been drawn to things of a spiritual nature, and all my life I've been depressed and lonely. This is not a coincidence. My sense of spirituality has held me back in many ways.......sexually, socially, even physically. It has produced anxiety, depression, and fear within me. I had what I thought was a spiritual awakening when I was 19 years old (several years ago) and since then my life has been a living Hell, even more so than before I was 19. I do not want to live this way anymore. I was wondering if you guys had any suggestions for reading material and the like, that would help deprogram me out of spirituality. Please help wake me up from this nightmare. Sad
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28-05-2017, 12:25 PM
RE: Escaping Spirituality
Hug

An internet shoulder is all I can offer.

But it's here for you.

Heart
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28-05-2017, 12:33 PM
RE: Escaping Spirituality
(28-05-2017 11:58 AM)Angra Mainyu Wrote:  All my life I've been drawn to things of a spiritual nature, and all my life I've been depressed and lonely. This is not a coincidence. My sense of spirituality has held me back in many ways.......sexually, socially, even physically. It has produced anxiety, depression, and fear within me. I had what I thought was a spiritual awakening when I was 19 years old (several years ago) and since then my life has been a living Hell, even more so than before I was 19. I do not want to live this way anymore. I was wondering if you guys had any suggestions for reading material and the like, that would help deprogram me out of spirituality. Please help wake me up from this nightmare. Sad

Don't look for things to fill you. Not even atheists are immune from depression, that is more of a biological thing and not about labels. You can change your diet and exorcise and see a mental health professional about that.

But if you want to understand why people have those beliefs you can read

1.The God Delusion
2. God The Failed Hypothesis Victor Stenger
3. The New Atheism Victor Stenger
4. God Is Not Great, Christopher Hitchens.

Even atheists can have mental health issues and it is nothing to blame on a label. I have anxiety and suffer from depression sometimes myself and I have been an atheist since the mid 90s and I know that that type of thing runs in my biological family.

Poetry by Brian37(poems by an atheist) Also on Facebook as BrianJames Rational Poet and Twitter Brianrrs37
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28-05-2017, 01:02 PM
RE: Escaping Spirituality
(28-05-2017 11:58 AM)Angra Mainyu Wrote:  All my life I've been drawn to things of a spiritual nature, and all my life I've been depressed and lonely. This is not a coincidence. My sense of spirituality has held me back in many ways.......sexually, socially, even physically. It has produced anxiety, depression, and fear within me. I had what I thought was a spiritual awakening when I was 19 years old (several years ago) and since then my life has been a living Hell, even more so than before I was 19. I do not want to live this way anymore. I was wondering if you guys had any suggestions for reading material and the like, that would help deprogram me out of spirituality. Please help wake me up from this nightmare. Sad
It might be helpful if you were a little more specific concerning exactly in what way you identify your pain points with your spiritual practice.

Speaking only to my personal experience, I found that the theism that I came out of many years ago served as a sort of amplifier or megaphone for my own illusions and misperceptions, rather than being a root cause, as such. In other words it was no help, and often a hindrance, but I am still personally responsible for my own faulty thinking. Beyond that, the misbeliefs I am vulnerable to, still remained after I left theism.

For example I am (or more accurately, was) by nature an idealist. No wonder I was attracted to evangelicalism. It promised to fulfill my ideals by making the world a friendly, safe, comprehensible place and providing a "good foundation" for good outcomes, endorsed and supported by the creator of the universe Himself. Imagine, then, the disappointment and confusion when life just continued on as if god were absent, indifferent or non-existent, and when various cherished ideals fell by the wayside, one by one.

It would have been a mistake to blame that all on my religion or spiritual practice. It was no help, of course; but the REASON I was snookered into believing, without substantiation, the floridly absurd claims of Christianity, was that I WANTED and NEEDED those things to be true, so they would reinforce and enable my own sense of entitlement and my own delusional view of how my life was "supposed to" go. God, as I understood him, merely served to rubber-stamp and validate MY notions of how life was supposed to "work" (for me). All gods are ultimately of our own invention or adoption.

So do not imagine that being "deprogrammed" from your faith is 100% of what you need to feel better about yourself and your life. Otherwise you will spend a lot of time and effort prying religious ideas out of your brain with a crowbar, only to have similar ones take root from some other source. A lot of finding peace isn't about exorcizing incorrect thinking so much as it's figuring out what I call your "true scope" -- your relative unimportance and non-centrality to everyone and everything else, dealing with the fact of your own mortality, things like that. Get rid of your ego inflations and immortality projects and you will suddenly be impervious to ideologies and narratives that make you (and, perhaps, those around you) miserable.

Religion and an awful lot of mental illness is just about not having a sane estimation of your own significance and an understanding of how to make meaning for yourself, have healthy personal boundaries, and how to assertively correct for your own tendency to misperceive things.
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28-05-2017, 01:07 PM
RE: Escaping Spirituality
I consider myself to be a spiritual atheist--without the woo mind you. I practice a lot of yoga and live my life based on yogic principles and I feel it has enhanced my life in many ways. My point is- it is possible to be spiritual and an atheist without the woo if you want to be. That said, "being spiritual" is not for everyone and if it causes you distress, it's time to shove it out the door.

So what to do? First, what beliefs do you have? Where does your spirituality lie? Once we know more about that, it's much easier to help unpack all of that and ship it off to woo land Wink

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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28-05-2017, 02:12 PM
RE: Escaping Spirituality
(28-05-2017 01:07 PM)jennybee Wrote:  I consider myself to be a spiritual atheist--without the woo mind you. I practice a lot of yoga and live my life based on yogic principles and I feel it has enhanced my life in many ways. My point is- it is possible to be spiritual and an atheist without the woo if you want to be. That said, "being spiritual" is not for everyone and if it causes you distress, it's time to shove it out the door.

So what to do? First, what beliefs do you have? Where does your spirituality lie? Once we know more about that, it's much easier to help unpack all of that and ship it off to woo land Wink
For another take on woo-free spirituality, see The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality by Andre Compte-Sponville (2007).

Although I rather think anything with the root "spirit" in it is misleading. Spirit is a form of woo, in my view. But I understand that people use it as a proxy for personal virtue, love, self-awareness and the like.
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28-05-2017, 02:22 PM
RE: Escaping Spirituality
(28-05-2017 02:12 PM)mordant Wrote:  
(28-05-2017 01:07 PM)jennybee Wrote:  I consider myself to be a spiritual atheist--without the woo mind you. I practice a lot of yoga and live my life based on yogic principles and I feel it has enhanced my life in many ways. My point is- it is possible to be spiritual and an atheist without the woo if you want to be. That said, "being spiritual" is not for everyone and if it causes you distress, it's time to shove it out the door.

So what to do? First, what beliefs do you have? Where does your spirituality lie? Once we know more about that, it's much easier to help unpack all of that and ship it off to woo land Wink
For another take on woo-free spirituality, see The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality by Andre Compte-Sponville (2007).

Although I rather think anything with the root "spirit" in it is misleading. Spirit is a form of woo, in my view. But I understand that people use it as a proxy for personal virtue, love, self-awareness and the like.

I hear you. To me, things are only woo if you let them be woo--including words with woo derivatives Big Grin

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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28-05-2017, 05:44 PM
RE: Escaping Spirituality
(28-05-2017 11:58 AM)Angra Mainyu Wrote:  All my life I've been drawn to things of a spiritual nature, and all my life I've been depressed and lonely. This is not a coincidence. My sense of spirituality has held me back in many ways.......sexually, socially, even physically. It has produced anxiety, depression, and fear within me. I had what I thought was a spiritual awakening when I was 19 years old (several years ago) and since then my life has been a living Hell, even more so than before I was 19. I do not want to live this way anymore. I was wondering if you guys had any suggestions for reading material and the like, that would help deprogram me out of spirituality. Please help wake me up from this nightmare. Sad

it is not your beliefs my man. Its your brain state.

good luck with it.
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28-05-2017, 06:12 PM
RE: Escaping Spirituality
So I think you have to make peace between parts of yourself that feel separated, and then to an equilibrium between your thoughts and emotions. I personally think that there's a big segment of humans who have what I think of as a "god-shaped hole" that's filled in some cases with theology and in other cases with arts, athletics, philosophy, etc. As long as you're honest with yourself about the limitations, egalitarian (e.g. egalitarianism) of your ideas, you'll be fine.

If your personality runs toward spiritualism (mine doesn't), that's not a problem, as long as you try to figure out why is the hole inside you that's being filled, and oppose the direction if it seems to be destructive towards your ideals.
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28-05-2017, 08:58 PM
RE: Escaping Spirituality
(28-05-2017 02:12 PM)mordant Wrote:  For another take on woo-free spirituality, see The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality by Andre Compte-Sponville (2007).

I read that once. I hated it.

Generally, a spiritual worldview is held in place by a lot of cogs. There is no secret or short cut that will allow you to unpack all those stops in a quick time frame. You'll likely need to unpack things one at a time until you get to where there's nothing left to unpack. This is a slow process, often accompanied by grieving the loss of those supports, but I think it is a necessary one if you want to free yourself from a spiritual worldview.

I must confess that the way you pose the question is somewhat strange. Usually people express that they started with some discontent about the substance of a spiritual worldview, and that led them to critically re-evaluate their understandings related to that worldview. You seem to be complaining that the effect of the worldview is what you find objectionable, not its content. If you have no objections to the content of your beliefs, it's going to be difficult for you to come to alternative conclusions. Belief is accepting something as true, and if your beliefs are not objectionable, presumably it's because you find them true. Why you would want to abandon true beliefs is somewhat mysterious.
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