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Author: skepticalseeker

Spirituality for the Naturalist

I think words can, and do, change from their original meanings. In fact, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary online, the word “spirit” was derived from the Latin words for “breath” and “to breath.” Since a person’s spirit was considered to be his or her life, and an easy way to tell if someone is alive is by whether or not they are breathing, it makes perfect sense. The definition of “spirit” as in “the ghost in the machine” was forged in a time when it was assumed that the difference between living and non-living things was that living things contain some sort of supernatural “life force” (see “vitalism“) and non-living things did not. Now we are reasonably sure that this is not the case, and that life is a perfectly natural and material phenomena. (And the line between living and non-living has actually turned out to be rather blurred and not so easily defined.)  So since there is no such thing as the “vital force” that animates living things, does this mean we should therefore throw the concept of “spirituality” out the window? I don’t think so, because even though knowledge and reason tell us that we don’t have “spirit” in any sort of supernatural sense, we still experience the world as if we did. Besides, when people talk of spirit are they not usually talking of the emotional and mental side of the human experience? The private world inside our own...

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Emotional Maturity

In my class yesterday, I remembered how yoga can stir up my emotions–sometimes in unpleasant ways. It was a new teacher this time, a guy who has been a student at Yoga East and has just started teaching classes there. I know that every teacher is different. However, I’ve been to the Friday morning Hatha class several times before and was used to a more layed-back style. Longer times in the poses, and a few breaks in the class to rest and listen to instruction. This is what I was expecting yesterday, but it was not what I got. This time, it was a very fast paced, flow style class that was more like the Ashtanga classes I used to attend regularly than any Hatha class. More effort. And my little inner voice was running constantly–this is not what I intended to do today! I was emotionally distressed throughout the whole class. I felt like my inner spoiled brat was wanting to throw a tantrum at all the effort I was being asked to make! It was actually a very good class.  I found that I am getting stronger in the upper body than I was just a few months ago, and there was only one pose in the whole class that I was just unable to do. I even tried out doing the wheel pose for the first time–can’t get my arms straight yet, but I’m getting...

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An Experiment

This is an experiemental blog. I’m an atheist, a thoroughgoing naturalist. I’ve also been practicing yoga regularly for over a year now, and not only for the physical benefits. I love the holistic and yes, spiritual aspects as well. Is there any paradox here? That is what I’ll be exploring in this...

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