Welcome to the comprehensive course of spirituality on spi.st Spiritual Study! This course is composed of four levels:
- Intermediate: “From I to us, the practice of listening and interpreting”.
- Experienced: “Reflecting, hermeneutics as non-metaphysics”, based on my book Walking, here available for free, as a part of the course.
- Advanced: “The theory of spirituality; building a solid structure of walking and openness”.
Actually, we can consider a never ending fifth level:
5. Researcher: the blog-forum and other activities as instruments of permanent research and creativity.
I am willing to help at all levels those who are interested in the path. The forum is available to everybody; different sections can be created in the future to separate the different levels.
The lessons of this course need to be considered not only a repository of information, but also an instrument of meditation. The complexity and richness of spirituality justifies repeated visits to these pages in a way similar to the practice of meditating the sacred texts of religions. The reason for this practice is not any sacredness of what I have written: this course is not a text revealed by God. Rather, it is the fruit of an ongoing research and a spiritual experience. Coming back to meditate on what you have already read means working on an experience of sharing what spirituality itself is able to reveal to everybody. As the name of the website says, this is Spiritual Study: it is not just study, but a spiritual experience cultivated through study. Study is done not only by visiting informations and ideas, but by engaging our whole being.
It is important to make clear that this is not a course on spiritualities, but a course on spirituality. This means that, at the end of the most advanced level, you won’t be a professional expert on each single spirituality, like Yoga, Zen, Buddhism, Christianity. The course should be considered an introduction to spirituality as such, spirituality considered as a whole. At the end of the advanced level you will have the experience and knowledge to move confidently among all spiritualities, philosophies and religions, being able to go deeper into specific spiritualities with a mind that is equipped with the necessary tools to appreciate them, be aware of their limits, be able to consider their reciprocal connections. Experts of Yoga know a lot about it, but it is not sure if they have a good ability to set a fruitful and critical dialogue between, for example, Yoga and existentialism, Yoga and philosophical criticism, Yoga and politics. An expert on spirituality has the mental attitude to make these connections spontaneously, because his/her path has been all about experiencing connections, syntheses, exploration, widening of horizons. Obviously, in order to build good and deep connections between, let’s say, Yoga and Islam, a good knowledge of both is needed; this is achievable through the collaboration of specialists. The expert on spirituality is not a guru or a walking encyclopedia who knows everything about all specific spiritualities; rather, he/she has absorbed the mental methodology to make possible fruitful collaborations, deep research, fruitful dialogue.
Nonetheless, spirituality as a whole is not a kind of flying over spiritualities, from distance, like from an helycopter. Spirituality as a whole is itself a specific spirituality, able to be an involving experience, having something to say to the world and to specific spiritualities, witnessing ways for growth, for making progress, to become better people. This way, the perspective of spirituality as a whole is the best starting point to choose a specific spirituality, religion or philosophy, that you might want to follow like a member who considers himself/herself personally belonging to it: the specific spirituality of your life.
It is understandable that you would like to have an earlier and quick read of all the courses; it is even necessary, because I can’t ask you to dive in this course blindly. However, it is important to consider that what you can get from a simple reading is very different from really absorbing a spiritual experience. It is the same difference between an artist and an art critic, a philosopher and a philosophy teacher. This matches the practical approach of the first two levels of the course: a deep and consolidate inner experience is the essence of spirituality, more than intellectual understanding, although the latter is necessary as well, to avoid naiveties and mistakes.