Thursday, June 27, 2013

Am I spiritual?

What does it mean to be spiritual?

I've been sharing a few things over the last week or two that I see when I look at the current terrain in the spiritual landscape, starting with my own  current outlook.

The question I opened with is one that comes up from time to time and is good for taking stock of where you are.

The short answer is that spirituality is recognizing the desire for  connection and integration that is part of our human nature.

Here's a longer and deeper elaboration of what that means.

The aforementioned "recognition" is connected to a larger pattern  found in nature that is characterized by sophisticated communication, it's related meta-domain of encoding (which in humans gives rise to symbolic thinking/the social landscape), and integration in larger, more complex structures.

The processes of information flow, regulation, transformation, and storage that we know as life, forms imperfectly self-replicating loops embodied as structures composed of materials such as organic molecules.

Smaller loops come together and are integrated into simple organisms. New loops are added or expanded and existing loops are integrated to form more complex organisms. This eventually includes us.

These loops of information flow, these eddies and vortexes (or vortices) of information streams, possess qualities which promote novel pathways and interconnections as well as those which reinforce existing pathways and interconnections/resist novelty.

The tension tension between these two tendencies makes life adaptable and is involved in growth, healing, and evolution. It is easier for the tendency for novelty to express itself by expanding into new spaces. On some level though it still benefits from at least some stability from its opposing tendency, which acts as a platform for such expansion.

A disruption -- such as a gap -- in the streams and loops triggers both tendencies. New threads spring from old loops to fill in or work around the disruption. This can lead to new types or levels of organization -- so that the tendency for novelty becomes a creative tendency or impulse.

As the living loops become more complex and woven into larger structures and patterns, this creative impulse becomes more limited in some ways (the more fundamental underlying patterns become fixed) but much more powerful in others, given the larger and more diverse networks of connections upon which it can draw.

At the level where this process subsumes human beings, what we call spirituality emerges. More next time. I'd love to hear your feedback in the comments.

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