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Mike Adams

IT - Business Analyst, Los Alamos County

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Atheism as a Spiritual Path

I have been an atheist for a few years now, but I continue to feel the need for a spiritual path and to live with spiritual principles.

PLEASE READ:
http://reasonable-thought.blogspot.com/2011/01/morality-spiritual-atheism.html

I do have a spiritual path, which has found expression in my atheism. It lies in the unimaginable creative evolution of this incredible universe, in the complexity of our ecosystem and the incredible far fetched chance that with all the twists and turns that evolution took along the way, humans evolved and luckily for me, I somehow was born. I experience gratitude that despite all odds to the contrary, I get to experience this crazy and beautiful, yet challenging life, that I get to be a parent and try to make a difference for my fellow humans.

I definitely have a spiritual path. It includes and is largely based on science, on quantum mechanics and theory of relativity. It allows me to sit in awe at the wonder of a developing human fetus, which goes through the stages of evolution in it's mother's uterus. That we are all spawn from matter created from super novas and transformation of energy into matter and back again millions or billions of times until today. We look around and see this mass of diverse matter and life, but it is all star-dust, created by exploding stars and the transformation of energy.

Evolution continues to unfold unbidden and undirected, but incredibly beautiful!

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    Jun 10 2012: when we choose a religious path we have to live according to some religous beliefs ... atheism is living according to your beliefs...and that will allow you the freedom to discover. both these ways are spiritual...but, as i think, it will be more easy to believe what YOU have discoverd than to believe what others have discoverd.
    think of this, if lord buddha had believed in christanity and lived according to that, he would have never been able to discover buddhism. have your own beliefs and live according to what you believe or else you will be denied the freedom to discover
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      Jun 11 2012: It is interesting to me that you mention Buddha. My first venture into a spiritual practice as a young adult was to read "The Three Pillars of Zen." I practiced (as best I could) Zen on a regular basis and wanted to go all sorts of supernatural places with it.

      What was interesting about the book, however, was the discussion about belief. The author was at pains to make it clear that belief or faith is not part of Zen. You could believe in a god or in gods and practice Zen or you could be completely an atheist and practice Zen...no contradiction. You could believe in an afterlife and practice Zen, you could believe in reincarnation and practice Zen or you could believe that this life is it and still practice Zen...still no contradiction.

      That was what I liked so much about Zen. The lack of dogma and the lack of telling people that they couldn't have any dogma. It all boiled down to practicing Zen and trying to spread compassion in the world. Much like my current religion.
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        Jun 11 2012: Mike,
        It seems we have taken some of the same paths in our explorations! I mentioned in another comment that I explored, researched, studied and practiced several religious and philosophical beliefs.

        Zen Buddhism was one practice that I focused on for awhile. UU was another one that drew me, and I notice that is the one you settled on and are practicing. Sufism was another big draw for me, and the common denominator was the appearence that one had a lot of freedom while embracing and practicing these traditions. I studied/practiced each of them for about a year...one at a time.

        The people were lovely, welcomed me into the group with encouragement and enthusiasm...at first. My perception was that although these folks were practicing what could have been a benificial life guide, they were often not walking the talk. They were not living what they were preaching. When I declined to make a life committment, or financial committment that was acceptable, they were not so friendly any more. That was the common thread that caused me to not accept any of these beliefs as an ongoing life practice.
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          Jun 11 2012: I don't still practice Zen Buddhism, but I am a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, which allows me to gain many of the benefits I used to gain from practicing zazen. Additionally, I get a really good workout mixed in with practicing an empty mind.

          I have never looked into sufism, however Unitarian Universalism has been something I've looked at since I was a young teen.

          It has some definite weaknesses, one of which being a general assumption that UUs will have a college degree. It can feel unwelcoming to people who don't have mastery of the the English language or who haven't been exposed to philosophy, etc. Being someone who dropped out of college (due to my drinking) this causes me some consternation some times.

          I haven't had your experience of being treated cooly for not joining a congregation or making an appropriate annual contribution, rather my experience was that they made such a big deal out of everyone upping their pledge, that I felt my paltry and symbolic contribution was insignificant, though it was exactly what I could afford with five mouths to feed.

          I'm sorry you had that experience! I have noticed with consistency that people in general tend to fail at "walking the talk." I believe it is part of being human and that when we are at our best, we recognize our hypocrisy and try to mitigate it. When we are at our worst, be don't believe we have hypocrisy and we inflict it on others.

          You might get a kick out of this link:
          http://reasonable-thought.blogspot.com/2012/04/parable-of-demonic-feline.html
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        Jun 12 2012: Mike,
        I have not checked out the link you provided...I will catch up to it one of these days:>)

        I got that you no longer practice Buddhism, although it feels like you still retain many Buddhist beliefs, as I do:>) It is actually the philosophical beliefs of Buddhism, that most closely connect to my heart/mind as my natural truth.

        More similarities with our paths...you practice Tae Kwon Do, I at times, practice Tai Chi, yoga and meditation. My greatest "practice" right now, is working/playing in the gardens, which incorporates all of the above practices. Actually, living the life practice being mindfully aware is my main "practice".

        An assumption that UUs will have a college degree seems prejudice, hypocritical...don't you think? They accept everyone from different religious traditions, and NOT those without a college degree??? How silly is that!

        I am not "sorry" I had that experience. It provided me with good information on which to make a decision, so it was a gift...was it not?

        Yes...perhaps failing to walk the talk is part of being human...for some people. I think it is much easier, clearer and more enjoyable to do what I say...say what I do...say what I mean...mean what I say...walk the talk:>) It contributes to a much more simple life...in my humble perception:>)
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          Jun 12 2012: I think I'm sorry you had that experience, because I love UUism and I think given our seven principles nobody should have that experience in a UU congregation. It makes me feel a bit sad.

          I've wanted to get into Tai Chi, but don't have the time right now. My eldest son and I have both earned black belts in Tae kwon Do and we hope to enroll in an Aikido class this July.

          You might be interested to know that my wife and I have been trying to start a permaculture garden in our back yard. We have four ducks and four chickens (for eggs and to help produce compost). I've been working on setting up drip irrigation and such as well, but on a shoe-string budget, so we're still watering by hand.

          thanks for your response!
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        Jun 23 2012: Hi Mike,
        You can be sorry/sad if you wish....I am not. I believe EVERYTHING is an opportunity to learn, grow and evolve, and my experience with the UU offered many interesting opportunities.

        It was through the UU that I was introduced to Zen Buddhism, with classes provided by the church. I participated in a retreat to a Benedictine Priory, sponsored by the UU church, and liked it so much, I visited the brothers again for a week on my own. They hooked me up with their Benedictine sisters in Mexico, and I stayed with them for 2 weeks, going off into the small mountain villages, where the sisters worked as nurses and educators. Never once, did I hear them preach their religion. They were totally dedicated to education and good health.

        I attended several workshops and participated in discussion groups at the UU, facilitated workshops, and even attended wiccan meetings, which were held in the UU facility:>) It was a year of interesting, exploratory activities and educational opportunities.

        Thanks for your response too. Hope your garden is doing well:>)

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