This beginner level of the course should not be considered some kind of “spirituality for dummies” or “the idiot’s guide to spirituality”. Although my sincere wish is to make spirituality easy and attractive to everybody, I invite you to consider the perspective of being proud of engaging ourselves with seriously based spirituality. Spirituality is able to be joyful, it appreciates the sense of humour and the pleasure of relax, but we should avoid interpreting this as a low value spirituality. “Beginner” here does not mean “not very interested”, “not seriously involved”; it means that I want to help you to meet spirituality the way we meet a sincere and interesting friend, rather than the way we meet a discouraging mountain to climb. We can even notice that the content of the course for beginners cannot be ignored by the advanced students. It contains essential elements that set up a correctly framed basis to build the most advanced discussions.
You can see that in this course the beginner level consists mostly on practice of spirituality. This might seem illogical from certain points of view: how can we face the practice of spirituality if we don’t even have a correct theoretical idea of what spirituality essentially is? However, we all know that today a lot of disciplines, like for example languages, swimming, driving, are more and more taught trying to follow what happens in nature: babies don’t start from theory to dive into life: they just start living. Later, they will be interested in understanding all the theories on life and everything. This does not mean that starting from practice is “the good way”; it is just an attempt to follow the best ways to meet not only spirituality, but also our human structures. Moreover, starting from theory would make spirituality not really interesting and attracting how it actually deserves to be conceived. We can even add that the basics of every spirituality lie in practice. All the spiritualities of this world were born as practical life and experience; afterwords, people studied theory. Practice can also be the strongest kind of criticism towards theory. A good way of making theory considers organizing a good listening of the already existent practice. So, let’s dive in and let’s consider this beginner level of the course as an experience, rather than a lot of concepts to bear in mind. We learn spirituality by absorbing it through life; later on we will be mature enough to appreciate and enjoy playing with ideas and theories. Don’t worry if you don’t understand now a lot of things. I know that carrying on without understanding seems absurd to many people; you might also be worried about missing some points and ideas that won’t be reconsidered later and will be left unclarified for ever. You can use the forum or contact me to get specific help; otherwise I invite you not to worry too much: it is my interest not to leave unclarified essential points. This is a normal aspect of any activity of learning: we can’t get everything clear as soon as we meet it: we all need some patience, to some extent, to go on leaving some points temporarily aside. The pieces of the mosaic will compose during the journey. We have an example of this situation on the story of Mary, about whom Luke’s gospel says that she kept those things in her heart, having the patience to wait for the time of better understanding. A consequence of being based on practice is that a lot of implicit questions, like “what is spirituality exactly?”, “why should I be interested on it?”, are not considered directly. The place to study questions and answers in deep and critically is the advanced level, that is intentionally dedicated to the theory about spirituality. This does not mean that we will proceed like blind people. Practice will be organized trying to make it speaking by itself, although we are aware that unclarified questions can cause misunderstanding and wrong convictions. The problem is that, in any path, it is impossible to meet all aspects all at once. We just need the necessary patience to give time to the path to develop itself.