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How to find spirituality or a sense of deeper meaning as an atheist / agnostic

DeSLAM

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2009
Messages
480
#21
Leniyl

You will find a human sense of fulfillment and a sense of satisfaction and even happiness in doing good to others - or latching onto good causes, but you wont find spiritual peace as an agnostic or atheist, or an agnostic atheist (seriously?) - why? The philosophy opposes belief in spirit or deity.

Your question comes as a consequence of choice in your spiritual walk or being opposed to any belief in spiritual things. You may be able to satisfy your psychological needs by things others suggest you do - but without faith you wont find spiritual rest and peace, I sense you're kicking against "spiritual knowledge", you have come across it - but religious people ruined it for you. You cant have spiritual peace - if your philosophical choices kick against being open to spiritual things.

There is no faith in agnostic atheism. Why then seek spiritual satisfaction there? Its an oxymoron.

I can see that you have been hurt by religion from reading your post. And isn't that true for so many people? However - religion, is not the same as believing and having faith...if you want spiritual rest and peace, my advice to you is to keep a healthy curiosity about whether there is a deity or not...you wont find such a entity in religiosity or ritual, and certainly not in human philosophy such as agnosticism or atheism or a blend of both.
 
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Nick333

Honorary Master
Joined
Nov 17, 2005
Messages
29,210
#26
Read/listen to Dawkins's book "The Selfish Gene".

The other truth is that 1 in 9 of every cell in your body is human. The rest is bacteria; you could almost say we are slaves to life-forms other than our own.
Who's to say we're not the bacteria?

@OP you're going to have to accept that you will have to find your own meaning and purpose in life. Victor Frankel wrote a book called Man's Search for Meaning about how he survived Auschwitz by finding a purpose. It sounds facile but basically you need hope and something to hold on for.

Generally life sucks - that's the human condition. We are rarely satisfied or satisfied for long - that's human nature. There's this thing called enlightenment or grace, where we are satisfied. Where we no longer feel like there is something better than now. And there really isn't, because there actually isn't anything outside of right now. The past is gone and the future isn't here yet. Anyway, that state is the pinnacle of spiritual endeavour. It's what you hope to achieve when you start looking for a spiritual life. If and when you achieve it, the questions and answers don't matter anymore, because you realise that they are the source of your dissatisfaction.

So, how do you achieve that? Well, you focus on what's happening right now. Find something that's happening right now, even if it's just the feel of your breath flowing in and out your nostrils, and focus on that for a while. And while you do, notice the things that distract you from the here and now. Notice them, but try not to focus on them. Stay focused on your breath and just notice the distractions without being upset by them. Notice how demanding they can be. Notice how little they matter at this very moment. That barking dog is just a barking dog, no more, no less - let it bark. That itch on your back is just an itch, let it itch. That worry is just a worry (and now things get interesting) - what happens to a worry when you let IT worry? What does a worry do when you let IT worry and focus on the movement of air in and out of your nostrils? Try and see.

Do that every day for the rest of your life and you might achieve enlightenment. Or not. You won't unless you do and there's increasing evidence for all sorts of benefits of meditation, so you'll get something out of it. You'll learn about who and what you are at least.

As for meaning and purpose: right now I'm looking at a grumpy, decrepit, old, cat that gets angry with the world for not being exactly as she wants it. She's lying in the sun, content for now - unconcerned that the sun will move over and she'll be in the shade soon enough. She'll be angry when it does - I must remember to open some curtains on the other side of the house for her. What were we talking about again?

Google mindfulness meditation.
 

Nick333

Honorary Master
Joined
Nov 17, 2005
Messages
29,210
#27
For me, the realization that there is nothing, and that it's a cold, dark place out there is very real. I've always known that.
My share about my previous experience with religion was a way of highlighting what I reject in my innermost self. My search for spirituality is not a search for a higher being, or a theistic deity.

I have basically no one, and currently, have no prospects of meeting anyone with my severe social anxiety.

I suppose it is a quest to become a better person than what I currently am. To like myself more and in turn, for other people to, I suppose "like me" is not the term that I'm looking for. More, that they don't reject me outright.

The notion of having a "purpose" in life to me is absurd. A deeper sense of meaning, to me, means, NOT lying in my death bed, alone, hating everything about my life. Something to make living worthwhile.

So, my quest is to find that. That intangible, soft direction into somewhere. Somewhere other than here.
Some have given me some pointers on where to start, and I thank you deeply. I know it's not a destination, but a journey, but I want start that damn journey. I just don't know if I should take a left turn at Albuquerque. Or even where the f&*( Albuquerque is. :)

Thanks for listening
There is nowhere else but here. Again, that's something that sounds facile, but is actually profoundly true. There is here when you get there, so you might as well just get comfortable.
 

leniyl

Active Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
46
#28
Stop moping and start living. Stop looking for answers. Do things that are fun.
I would've hoped that it could be perceived that this was the reason for my post in the first place. How to begin the process of "start living". I think I've given a pretty objective (at least in my own mind) perspective of where I've come from, how I feel at the moment, and that I'm pretty tired of feeling this way. That I need help in actually starting the journey of "stop moping". That I've imploded so much into myself (which I can recognize), that I don't have anything that are fun.

But ja, reaching out for help (even in an anonymous milieu) can sometimes be a painful and daunting experience.
 

SauRoNZA

Honorary Master
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
28,978
#29
I kind of have to think that if you are asking this kind of question then you've never become a true atheist and never made piece with it.

You are still very much stuck in the longing towards a higher power to lay your struggles on.

I guess the meaning would simply lie in sharing this life you have here with others and embracing it to it's fullest.

It sounds to me almost like a case of you not truly knowing yourself and embracing yourself for what you are. I think only once you have a whole "me" can you get past this cycle of looking to connect yourself to something else.
 

leniyl

Active Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
46
#30
Speak to a professional and get some help with the social anxiety you are experiencing.
This is the debilitating part for you.
Social interaction and finding a hobby or interest that you are actively involved in will give you a sense of purpose.
It will grow exponentially from there.
Yeah, seeing a professional today in fact. They are all interconnected. My social anxiety, which prohibits me from having loved ones, which in turn prohibits me from finding meaning in life, which in turn turns me into an empty, dead state, which in turn leads to social anxiety......

Vicious circle
 

leniyl

Active Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
46
#31
I kind of have to think that if you are asking this kind of question then you've never become a true atheist and never made piece with it.

You are still very much stuck in the longing towards a higher power to lay your struggles on.

I guess the meaning would simply lie in sharing this life you have here with others and embracing it to it's fullest.
That's the agnosticism part - I don't know, or claim to know. I am John Snow in this.
 

leniyl

Active Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
46
#33
Thanks for all the helpful replies. Hearing other people's views and experiences is a very useful tool in analyzing my own thought processes. Thank you also for the reading material that has been suggested. It's a start, and I shall then start there.
 

DeSLAM

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2009
Messages
480
#34
Neem klein stappe, ek dink jy weet diep binne jou - waar die antwoord le, maar om die gebrokenheid te herstel is 'n proses wat jy self gaan moet ontvou...en dit moet iewers begin.

Bly eerlik met jouself oor wat en wie daardie gebrokenheid mee gebring het. Die deel wat jy self daarin gespeel het, en vermy dieselfde keuses; "gods"dienstige en filosofiese lokvalle; en mense in die toekoms - maar bly oop vir geestelike groei, want ek dink jy het dit begin vind. Ander mense het dit net heel opgeneek vir jou - en nou's jy weer in 'n filosofie betrokke - wat ook maar net weer menslik is, met dieselfde risiko as godsdiens sonder geloof.

Sekere filosofie sien net die mens net as 'n masjien...daars geen geestelike aspek nie. Draai weg daarvan, want jy weet self jy het 'n geestelike aspek - jy erken dit self in jou eerste "post"...so jy weet dis nog daar.

Sterkte.
 
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satanboy

Psychonaut seven
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
93,315
#35
I would've hoped that it could be perceived that this was the reason for my post in the first place. How to begin the process of "start living". I think I've given a pretty objective (at least in my own mind) perspective of where I've come from, how I feel at the moment, and that I'm pretty tired of feeling this way. That I need help in actually starting the journey of "stop moping". That I've imploded so much into myself (which I can recognize), that I don't have anything that are fun.

But ja, reaching out for help (even in an anonymous milieu) can sometimes be a painful and daunting experience.
Tough love is all I have.

Go see a psychiatrist, it worked for me.
 

satanboy

Psychonaut seven
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
93,315
#37
Psychologist is probably the best place to start - psychotherapy first, as opposed to a psychiatrist and chemicals. ;)
Whatever floats your boat.

My doctor at the time (after seeing many specialists etc) sent me straight to a psychiatrist. I must have been fubar.
 

DeSLAM

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2009
Messages
480
#38
My doctor at the time (after seeing many specialists etc) sent me straight to a psychiatrist. I must have been fubar.
I would always put behavioral intervention before chemical intervention, unless its clear from the onset, that the situation is brought about by chemical imbalance. For some people that could be the correct prognosis. Sometimes a chemical imbalance in our bodies can play tricks with our minds, thats what psychiatrists focus on and fix.
 

leniyl

Active Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
46
#39
Seeing a psychologist in an hour. Poep scared of chemicals, as SSRI's made me more depressed, overweight, and took away my desire for a bit of leg-over.. The chemicals I am taking atm, is for my severe rage outbreaks. So there's that :D
 

GoB

Expert Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
Messages
1,005
#40
I've heard from recovered heroin addicts that your senses are numbed for life. You'll never reach the same highs. So you'd have to accept that if it's true.

I believe that religious people who claim that they get strength and purpose are not lying, but that the reason for this is the positive impact of the resulting motivation, purpose, guidance, and introspection.

As others have mentioned - take control of your destiny/ decide what's important for yourself and get busy working on your own goals. Also keep in mind that there are certain things for which we are pre-programmed - e.g. being productive and helping others.
 
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