Welcome to my blog!
My book, Spirituality: A User’s Guide, is now available at your local bookstore (through IngramSpark) and on Amazon throughout the world. It is also in stock at Bridge Street Books, Wicklow, Hodges Figgis, and Books Upstairs, both in Dublin. I have just heard from my publisher, Kazoo Books, that amazon.co.uk is refusing to send books to Ireland or charging twice the price. You can get it as normal from amazon.de.
I invite you to respond to the challenge inherent in the title. Your spirituality needs to be something you participate in because it has been crafted by you to meet your needs, rather than something you follow because you were born into it or someone else told you that it was the truth. Quantum physics has demonstrated that we cannot have access to absolute truth. Our perceptions are shaped by who we are – our needs, our wounds, our hopes, and our fears. Yet if we make use of a point of view that oppresses ourselves, others, or the planet, we will be a force of destruction, not of creativity. We need a spirituality that is healthy psychologically and systemically.
I have discovered through my personal journey and professional life that although there can be many different stories that help us make meaning in our lives, about how we live and where death takes us, there are four simple guidelines that underpin a healthy, life-giving spirituality. The essence of these four is just one basic dynamic: love. We need to love ourselves and to allow others to love us. We need to let go of our fear and to be reassured that there is no ultimate reason to be afraid. We need to practice social justice, the non-denominational golden rule. And we need to extend love to the planet and every aspect of it.
There are times in our life when we are naturally disposed to such explorations. People in their 20s are trying to figure out who they are and where they are going. It is a time of identity formation as they emerge from adolescence into the complexities of adulthood. Finding out who we are is a lifelong task but it is particularly pressing in the 20s. If you decide to have children, you may also be facing choices concerning what you say to them about religion and spirituality. What do you tell them? Do you raise them in one tradition, or expose them to a wide variety of religions? Should they be believers or observers? Or do you let them be shaped by the omnipresent media into consumers?
Another time when this issue can become more pressing is middle-age, often known as the ‘midlife crisis’. This is a time when who we thought we were can suddenly fail to fit who we experience ourselves to be. Relationships may fall apart or be severely strained. Some people sow wild oats that weren’t explored in adolescence. Others may suddenly feel as if their life has been a waste. Death is now statistically closer than ever before. The temptation to disappear into addiction is strong. Children leave home, retirement looms, our role in the world starts to change. Having something to believe in is extremely important at this time.
But what does love look like? If we haven’t been adequately parented, we may never have experienced it. Internal emotional pain or emptiness can be overwhelming and intense. How do we heal such deep wounds? Why should we care about anyone else? It’s ‘everyone for themselves, devil take the hindmost’ according to the superwealthy. Only fools worry about love. Maybe. What is it all about Alfie? Open this book and see what’s out there.
On this blog I would hope that others would share not only their responses to what I have written, but also put words on how they make meaning in their own life. Let me know what you like hearing about and feel free to ask questions.