Spiritualism is a term which we use to describe those who believe in the existence of spiritual realities or dimensions beyond the physical world, but who do not believe in a single, personal god. It is a very broad category, including those who believe in multiple gods (polytheism), those who believe in the unity of all reality (pantheistic monism), and those who believe that god is within each individual ("new age"--though some may not like this label).
Eastern and Western
There are two main forms of spiritualism: eastern and western. The eastern versions include what we traditionally call the eastern religions: Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Jainism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism. While these religions have clearly influenced western thought in the last 50 years, they don’t come across very easily into western culture because of several factors: westerners are still committed to knowing the world through rational thought (due in part to the influence of the enlightenment), to evolutionary progress, and to the importance of the individual. So western spirituality, what we encounter much more frequently here in North America, blends elements of eastern spirituality with western ways of thinking. Here’s a brief comparison.
|There is no beginning; change is an illusion.||Everything is evolving and progressing.|
|Karma is merely a (neutral) force that keeps balance in the world.||We should seek “good karma” and avoid “bad karma,” because it effects whether we advance or regress in our next reincarnation.|
|Nirvana is extremely rare to achieve. It means that the individual is released from reincarnations and no longer exists as an individual at all.||Nirvana refers to a higher spiritual plane for the individual, who is “reincarnated“ as an entirely spiritual individual.|
|God is everything (pantheism), and the totality and oneness of everything is God (monism).||Though God is an energy or life force, I must look within myself, especially in order to discover the divine.|
|All so-called “knowledge” is merely an illusion—none of us really “know” anything, and meditation is a way of pushing thought and logic aside in favor of a transcendent experience.||Knowledge is attainable—both through science (history, the humanities, etc.) as well as through altered consciousness that allows us to see other dimensions that cannot be studied through science.|
|I must transcend myself by not thinking of my identity as different than anything else.||I should commune with my inner self, which is divine.|
Spiritualistic Media Reviews
|Movies, TV, & Video Games ||Music||Books|