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An atheist's prayer

I believe quite the opposite: that prayer is a type of moral philosophy, an active process in which the individual interacts, not with God, who does not exist, but with what Plato would have called the good or the just. At its most untroubled, that interaction is barely contentious: to walk in the world and feel connected to its people, to feel at peace, to feel that one has prudent detachment and good judgment, is a prayer so happy and uncontroversial that it barely registers with its unsuffering source. But a prayer it is, because it involves a moment of self-awareness and world-awareness, the both together.

We are more used to thinking of prayer in moments of quandary – and yet even here, surely the process can be a morally philosophical one, not just (as I grant it may be in certain life-and-death situations) a last-minute plea for succour. Everyone has experienced a time when they have been torn between right and wrong on the one hand and their own desires, yearnings, pleasures and joys on the other. Everyone has experienced the desire to go for a walk, to contemplate, to clear their head, to think things through and listen to their inner guide. What is that, really, but a kind of prayer? And what is that but a moral process? 

by Bidisha

Link: The Guardian: Comment is free

Tradition: Atheist spirituality

· atheist · spirituality · prayer · article · philosophy · morality · ethics

Ask Grace: What are the symptoms of spiritual burnout and how to avoid psychic burnout?

Ask Grace: What are the symptoms of spiritual burnout and how to avoid psychic burnout

Spiritual burn-out is a real risk for spiritual leaders, counsellors, caregivers, healers and psychics. Grace, a psychic, gives advice on how to avoid it (and she should know because she has suffered from it). I have recently suffered from this myself, and have found in the past that if I was getting nurtured by others, and receiving energy from the universe, it didn't happen, whereas if you fail to do these things, you will get burn-out, and the symptoms can be quite nasty.

She first identifies the symptoms of spiritual burn-out, and then identifies how to avoid it, or how to recover from it if you already have it.

The symptoms of spiritual burnout or psychic burnout can include exhaustion, depression, dread before or after working, feelings of unbearable responsibility, feeling overwhelmed, crying for no reason, crying often, being overtired, insomnia, difficulty getting out of bed, restlessness, procrastination, avoidance, constant illness, problems with the heart, difficulty breathing, anxiety and panic attacks, extreme weight loss or weight gain, hair loss, irritability, and a desire to avoid people.
Grace's advice can be summed up in six key points:
  • Take a break and rest - Grace says "take a sabbatical from everyone and everything, and really nurture yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually".
  • Make sure your needs are met - physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Breathe properly.
  • Draw your energy from the universe - don't use up all your personal energy; make sure to be replenished from the source.
  • Charge for your services - either in money or in kind - Grace says "there always has to be an exchange of energy, which is what money is - it is the energy of worth and value given in exchange for the service received."
  • Maintain strong boundaries - visualise yourself surrounded by white light; set aside a special room for your clients; set fixed working hours. If there's an emergency, calm the client down first. Have a website which answers all the obvious questions about what you do.
  • Only work when you can give 100% - don't deplete yourself by working when you are ill, distracted, etc.
It's well worth reading the whole article, which gives more examples and some excellent techniques and advice.

If you think you are suffering spiritual burn-out, get help - don't leave it until you are absolutely exhausted.

by Grace

Link: Ask Grace

Tradition: Multiple traditions

· ministry · pastoral · practitioners · professional · self-care · spiritual burn-out · spiritual practices

Atheist Spirituality

 Can an atheist be a spiritual person, and if so, in what sense? Is it meaningful to talk of atheist spirituality, or should the term be reserved for religious believers? This post may end up generating more questions than answers, but that seems fitting for a discussion of spirituality.

by vjack

Link: Atheist Revolution

Tradition: Atheist spirituality

· atheist · spirituality · article · philosophy · morality · ethics

Atheist Spirituality

One can admire and feel reverent toward the awesome powers of nature, the amazing way in which life reproduces itself, the sheer immensity of time and space, without necessarily imagining that there is "somebody" running it all. It is amazing. It is immense. It is almost beyond human comprehension - although little by little we humans are beginning to understand something about how it works (thanks to science, by the way, and not to religion!).

I live on a large piece of land. We have our own forests, hills, meadows, trails and roads, located in an area of Oregon where the climate is very mild. We raise cattle and timber. We are right now in the middle of the spring calving season, during which we will have about 30 calves. We should be used to it, nonchalant about it, by now. But every new calf is a thrill, an excitement, to see it emerge, find its legs, and find the milk. What a miracle! Every element of it is a miracle, and awe-inspiring.

by Richard Packham

Link: Richard Packham

Tradition: Atheist spirituality

· atheist · spirituality · article · philosophy · morality · ethics · Nature · naturalism

Atheist Spirituality

 In my opinion spirituality is just a term to describe incredibly intense emotions including but not limited to awe, wonder, joy, and a sense of connectedness.

by Kylyssa

Link: Squidoo.com

Tradition: Atheist spirituality

· atheist · spirituality · article · philosophy · morality · ethics · wonder

Can atheists be spiritual?

 For some people, [spirituality] involves a variety of very personal things like self-realization, philosophical searching, etc. For many others, it is something like a very deep and strong emotional reaction to "wonders" of life — for example, gazing out at the universe on a clear night, seeing a newborn child, etc.

All of these and similar senses of "spirituality" are entirely compatible with atheism. There is nothing about atheism which prevents a person from have such experiences or quests. Indeed, for many atheists their atheism is a direct result of such philosophical searching and religious questioning — thus, one might argue that their atheism is an integral component of their "spirituality" and their ongoing search for meaning in life.

by Austin Cline

Link: About.com

Tradition: Atheist spirituality

· atheist · spirituality · article · philosophy · morality · ethics · meaning

Naturalist spirituality

 Although naturalism may at first seem an unlikely basis for spirituality, a naturalistic vision of ourselves and the world can inspire and inform spiritual experience. Naturalism understands such experience as psychological states constituted by the activity of our brains, but this doesn't lessen the appeal of such experience, or render it less profound. Appreciating the fact of our complete inclusion in nature can generate feelings of connection and meaning that rival those offered by traditional religions, and those feelings reflect the empirical reality of our being at home in the cosmos.

Link: Naturalism

Tradition: Atheist spirituality

· atheist · spirituality · philosophy · morality · ethics · Nature · naturalism

The Wiccan Rede

 Article discussing the meaning and origins of the Wiccan Rede - the Wiccan version of the Golden Rule.

by B A Robinson

Link: Religious Tolerance.org

Tradition: Wicca

· Wicca · Pagan · Wiccan Rede · ethics · Golden Rule

Thoughts on the Spirituality of Atheism

 Our lives are such small things. Sometimes we think we need something grand to make them worthwhile -- like eternal life in paradise, or great success, or intense experiences. Or we feel we need a grand philosophy or religion to give our lives meaning. But that’s just not true.

It’s the little happinesses of life that give it meaning. Some laughter, some conversation, good food and a little sex, satisfaction at a job well done, a walk on the beach, making a difference, even if its a small difference, seeing your children become happy, healthy, productive adults, washing your car, a game of cards, a good movie, a beer.... God (if you’ll pardon the expression) is in the details.

by C George Boeree

Link: George Boeree

Tradition: Atheist spirituality

· atheist · spirituality · article · philosophy · morality · ethics · meaning · happiness