What/Who were your spiritual influences? (Or what led you away from Spirituality) | INFJ Forum

Featured What/Who were your spiritual influences? (Or what led you away from Spirituality)

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by Mistify, Sep 6, 2018.

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  1. Mistify

    Mistify Newbie

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    So I mentioned in my introduction thread that I've been in the middle of a kind of spiritual crisis lately and I've been reading around the threads trying to gather what you all believe and some of your reasons for it.

    I've been gathering ideas from different sources for the past 6 months or so and I have some of my own thoughts on what I believe about God, the universe, etc., but nothing definitive at this point.

    There's a lot of people out there who have been thinking about this a lot longer than I have I know.
    So what I would like to know is if you have anything you read, watched, listened to etc, that really helped you shape your views on God, spirituality, the supernatural, etc? Like if there was one or two sources that stood apart from the rest?


    I recently had a friend suggest Thomas Paine's Age of Reason which I've been listening to while I work. So that's what I'm looking at now.
     
  2. kinglear

    kinglear Community Member

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    I think just having quiet time allows things to bubble upto the surface

    I think some personality types operate at a very surface level and they are very verbal and in the moment

    perhaps INFJ's tend to be more reflective and sometimes their realisations rise up spontaneously after they have had time to process internally

    Some types love lots of stimulation and are energised by it but INFJ's maybe need some time to decompress

    So perhaps having that quiet time to allow things to process is important for the health of INFJ's as they process things slowly but deeply

    re sources of interest there are a lot of good alan watts clips on youtube that can certainly give some different perspectives on things but basically anything i feel drawn towards at any particular time
     
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  3. Pin

    Pin Commander-in Chief / Ren's Counterpart

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    My spiritual influences: Carl Sagan, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Penn Jilette, Alan Watts.

    What led me away from spirituality: I can't meditate, I simply can't. I exercise though.
     
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    #3 Pin, Sep 7, 2018
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    Mistify

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    I think this is very true of me. It takes me awhile to process everything. I think I respond to things emotionally immediately but it takes me awhile to organize my thoughts.

    I've heard of Alan Watts from different sources but I haven't checked him out yet. I've just kind of been looking into different avenues, not delving too deeply into one area.
     
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    Mistify

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    I've looked a little at Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, and I've heard of some of the others. I've listened to other atheists like Matt Dillahunty, Seth Andrews and Richard Dawkins.

    I don't think I've ever really meditated. I'm not certain how to define it. I lay in bed for long periods of time, thinking. Or I pace for hours sometimes, especially when I feel like I've made a new connection and I'm trying to flesh out the details.
     
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  6. Wyote

    Wyote Moody Magician
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    Yoga is meditation, martial arts is meditation, there are many active forms of meditation, it's your focus and intent that matter. The end goal for some practices is to maintain a constant sense of meditation in all activities. It just depends, but anybody can meditate, it is possible, it's just harder for some people to do the form everyone's familiar with which is sitting in silent stillness. That's something a lot of people have to work hard at to be able to do for any extended length.

    As for me, I've absorbed a lot of stuff but early on was heavily influenced by Ken Wilbur, Father Thomas Keating, Maharishi and Alan Watts to name a few.
     
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  7. John K

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    Hi Mistify, I think the answer to your search depends on whether you want to know about God, or whether you want to actually experience ..... Her, Him .. It?There are many ways up this mountain and my own is from a Western Christian perspective, which I was born into, but it's by no means the only ascent route and I find Buddhism very attractive too even though it has a very different perspective on the idea of god.

    There is lots that you can find out about God from reading and what other people can tell you, but mostly it just circles around the core at a safe distance and none of it can bring you close to what She is really like. The best of this material points you in a direction to look, but it's you that have to do the looking if you want to actually experience Her and it's in an odd direction that isn't easy to find - and your looking is 5% of what is needed and She does 95% of it. The looking is very like the way you experience Ni - it's a perception and not a thinking process at all. If you do experience Her, it's veiled - but even so it's the most overwhelming experience you will ever have and is beyond words to describe - love, joy, exhilaration, peace, acceptance, praise ...yes. But the love is intolerable because you see yourself lit up inside all your darkest corners like a cartoon cat in an x-ray machine, awful warts and all. There is something quite scary about getting close to God. And despite that, you know that "All Will Be Well" in the end as Julian of Norwich said, as long as you keep your eyes on that light and try to follow it. I was born with a hunger for that light and the knowledge that my fate lay beyond this world. My greatest guide, outside the core Christian writings, is the Cloud of Unknowing which was written by an English monk in 14 Century and is an amazing book - witty, human, sacred, compassionate, private. It's a good read in modern English, but in the original language is a real treat.
     
  8. Wyote

    Wyote Moody Magician
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    My boi Keating
     
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  9. Ren

    Ren Pin's android

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    My sources are predominantly from philosophy. I would say that when it comes to spirit, my main influences are without a doubt the Presocratics (from around 600 BC until around 400 BC). I highly recommend reading: Anaximander, Heraclitus, and Parmenides in particular.

    A collection of their fragments, together with the fragments of the other Presocratic philosophers, usually adds up to no more than 200-250 pages.
     
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  10. OP
    Mistify

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    Thank you for this.
     
  11. OP
    Mistify

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    I wish I could have experienced God in this way. I came from Christianity. 20+ years in the church but I never felt this way. I never understood why I could never feel the way I saw other people feel about God. Then I met some people outside of Christianity, who were spiritual, but not religious. They talked about God more passionately than most Christians I knew.
    When I get some downtime I'll read the book you suggested.
     
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    Mistify

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    Thank you for the suggestion. I haven't explored this area yet.
     
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  13. Aneirin

    Aneirin wandering aimlessly
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    I think spirituality is where you find it. Personally i see God on the mountain top with many paths to that summit. All are equally worthy and valid. That one or ones you choose are those that resonate within you.
    I try to be and practice mindfulness as i walk the path..
     
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  14. Ren

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    No worries, if you ever need any advice on the "spiritual philosophy" front, I'm always happy to give you tips :thumbsup:
     
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  15. John K

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    It seems to me that some Christian churches confuse the roadsigns along the way for the destination - or at least they don't make it easy to follow them beyond a certain point because that can be a bit scary. It's a lot more comfortable to sit and look at the signposts rather than follow on towards where they are pointing. I think that's one reason why we find that many people with a more compelling mystical urge seem to seek outside Christianity. Personally, I thing all genuine ways lead to the same place eventually - by genuine I mean ways that open us out and help us to grow spiritually rather than closing us in on ourselves in self-centred indulgence. Boiled down to it's essentials Christianity is pretty simple: love God as hard as you can, love your neighbour in the same way you love yourself, follow Christ. I suspect this can be translated, at least metaphorically, into the language of most other genuine ways of seeking, even those that are apparantly very different to Christianity.
    It's hard to condense a lifetime of spiritual travel into a few short sentences without over-simplifying. My own experience of God came after a very difficult period of at least 5 years in my late teens and early 20s when I felt intensely isolated and alienated spiritually. I'd like to say it came about because of merit, but that would be complete nonsense: it was pure gift, and a much needed rescue from a very dark place.
     
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  16. Wyote

    Wyote Moody Magician
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    Amen.
     
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    Mistify

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    Thank you :<3yellow:
     
  18. OP
    Mistify

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    I started seeking outside Christianity for the reason that I did not feel I could, in good conscience, say that I believed what I did until I saw what else was out there. I thought whatever happens I will end up at the truth in the end, if I'm really looking. As I started looking elsewhere, other issues I had had with church started to surface. One of them was the fact that I felt that most people were just going through the motions of spirituality without actually knowing what belief is. It's something that I started asking myself at the age of six: What does it mean to believe in God? I always thought there was something wrong with me because I felt like everyone else really believed, and I was just trying to.
    I feel as though I am in this same place: isolated and alienated, spiritually and otherwise. I hope someday, I too will be able to escape from this dark place.
     
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  19. kinglear

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    I think all these influences are just food for thought. They're not the end in itself

    The new age movement seems to think that 'spirituality' is a process of trying to make yourself feel better. I don't agree with that

    if you think about it....what is it you are trying to achieve with this spiritual search?

    life is hard and full of tough choices. If all you want to do is ease your mind then you will constantly shy away from tough choices but maybe sometimes the tough choices are the right ones for various reasons

    So i think a lot of what is parcelled as 'spirituality' these days is really avoidance

    Another trap i think people fall into is the one where they want to be popular and they seek the admiration or adoration of others. I see this pushed a lot on television where lots of TV shows put up exhibitionism on a pedestal as if it is some kind of modern heroic ideal.

    But really what is it these people are actually doing for themselves or their wider community? Its not like they have found a cure for cancer

    if you are constantly checking yourself in everything you do and say because you want to be liked then you will be constantly be doing what you think other people around you want you to do or say. By doing this you are being shaped by them instead of expressing your authentic self

    The problem with expressing your authentic self is that some people won't like it! In fact some people will hate it!

    If you look at one of the most famous INFJ's ghandi he used to work in the british civil service as a lawyer and was clearly shaping himself to fit into the system and play the game and was no doubt being rewarded for that but then he had a change of heart. he saw the injustices of the system and had to break free of it. he stopped wearing western clothes because they were made out of material that was made in britain and that subsidised material was then competeing with the material made in india which was then affecting the livlihood of indians. So he started wearing traditional indian dress made in india in order to protect the livlihood of his local community

    Some people loved him for this and some who were suddenly not going to be making so much money hated him for it so they shot him. It wasn't just the material issue that he upset people over but the point is that by being his authentic self he polarised people

    He may have lived longer if he hadn't started doing that but the chances are that he would have died a little inside every day

    So the question is do you ''go along to get along'' or do you start walking your own path?

    when you walk your own path you are able to live more authentically but you will also clash with those who do not share your point of view

    But in terms of speaking of 'spirituality' there are people these days who argue that humans are just biological machines that can be reprogrammed whilst on the other side there are people who are saying there are human qualities that transcend the material world

    What makes someone like ghandi leave the easy and comfortable path of being a system man to instead walk a harder and more dangerous path to try and right a perceived wrong?
     
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    Mistify

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    I think it's a question I haven't asked myself, or at least I haven't looked too hard for an answer. I think initially, it was just that I hadn't ever really connected to the religion I grew up in and I felt as though I needed to look at what else was out there in order to truly say that I believed what I said I did. So I was hoping by looking outside that religion I could either 1. Develop a faith in God that I never think I had to begin with. or 2. Arrive at some version of the truth that I could be at peace with. That is to say, I would find truth for myself. And by "truth" I guess I mean an answer for myself to the questions "why are we?," and "what are we?," and "what happens beyond death?"

    I think that last question is probably driven more by fear than curiosity.
    I think it is funny though....I think at some point I would have said that losing my faith in Christianity would have affected me negatively; like I would lose hope. But I guess I never really had that to begin with, and sometimes I feel not having a clear answer to my questions has given me more of a purpose. I feel as though if I'm not questioning why we exist, then what am I doing? I guess that's my answer: I hope to find answers, but some of my purpose in seeking is that I find purpose in seeking. And asking other people about what they found is just part of that.

    I think the crisis at this point is more because like 95% of my family and friends are Christian, if not conservative Christian they are Christian in some form. I've only told my closest friends and my sister that I am not anymore. The spiritual isolation comes from not having anyone to dialogue with about it. Hence, I am here.
     
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