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At this early stage of our course, while we are at the very beginning, we need to make another important, essential step, about what we mean when we say “spirituality”, otherwise there is a risk that you and I might have something too different in mind when we use this word, so that some bad misunderstanding could happen and could even stay for a long time in the background of our lessons.
We won’t do a deep study of the question now: it will be treated more thoroughly later on, in the more advanced levels. Here we are going to clarify something simple and essential. It is connected to something I already said in the general introduction to the whole course.
Let’s refer to a few facts.
First one. It is a fact that today a lot of people have very different ideas about what spirituality means. So, it is a fact that today there is a lot of confusion about spirituality, especially because a lot of people talk about it like they were competent about it, while instead it is not difficult to realize that they just assume they have clear ideas about spirituality.
Second fact. A lot of people make an idea about spirituality basing on the reference of the word to the concept of spirit as something opposed to matter. So, a lot of people think that spirituality implies an essential aspect: belief. Belief in certain invisible things, events or persons, such as God, ghosts, angels, energies, power, destiny, influence, other worlds and so on. We need to make clear that this is wrong because of another fact: a lot of atheists, skeptics, agnostics, materialists, scientists, claim they have their spirituality. From this fact we can easily draw the consequence that spirituality cannot be meant as limited to those wo believe in the existence of invisible entities: there are a lot of people who don’t believe at all in anything that cannot be repeatedly checked, quantified, measured, tested, but nonetheless they say that they have their own spirituality. We are forced by this fact to conclude that spirituality does not imply believing in invisible, immaterial entities. Spirituality does not mean just opposition to materiality. It is something different, richer, more complex, we can say more interesting.
So, let’s start this course with some humbleness: we don’t know exactly 100% what spirituality means for everybody. We are here to study and to experience, to learn, to make research and explore the greatness of the world of what spirituality is.
All of this might make us a bit more confused: we might ask: “So what? What is spirituality then? How are we going on, since we need to move in such a confused matter?”. Don’t worry too much: we are here to enter this world with friendliness, although this does not mean not so seriously. Yes, there is confusion, but we can work on methods, ways, to make a journey amidst this world. We don’t want to enclose it into cages, but at the same time we don’t want to let confusion dominate the field, so that some people take advantage of it to bring forwards their distorted ideas at the expense of the treasure that spirituality is able to be. A simple criterion to understand the reason of this confusion is this one: a lot of people confuse spirituality with their spirituality. It is similar to confusing, let’s say, music with jazz: jazz is a kind of music, but jazz is not all music. Music is a much wider umbrella, able to include jazz into itself. The same way, we need to keep in mind that there are a lot of spiritualities, very different from each other, and, by studying spirituality, we are trying to explore the most general level able to include all kinds of spiritualities into itself, like an umbrella.
Now we have just one more reason to be fascinated and attracted by spirituality, seeing that it is not limited to what some people think or say; it is a really great universe waiting for our enthusiastic exploration.