On the day that John Lennon was shot dead (8th December 1980) I stayed up all night listening to Radio One play constant Beatles and Lennon music. I was hooked and became a major Beatles fan nearly ten years after they split up and on the day that the first of the Fab Four died. My favourite Beatle was George Harrison, probably because I felt sympathy for the quiet one and I wanted (in vain) to be a guitarist. My favourite album was Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967 – it came out when I was 8 months old) and my favourite song on that album was the only one by George: Within You and Without You.
That song’s lyrics end by promising personal enlightenment when we see that we are all one and that life flows both within and without us. That is a good summary of how I see spirituality now that I am content to give up the quest to re-believe in a creator God. My spirituality is not focused on following the rules set by anyone else, certainly not by a transcendent God in whose existence I can place no faith. When I meditate it is to allow myself to experience something beyond the mundane within myself. Yet I do not want to stop there, for I also want to experience a feeling of connectedness with all other existence that is beyond me.
I follow no teachers, but I have my influences. My ideas of spirituality are influenced by Zen Buddhist spirituality, even though I would not embrace much of Zen’s philosophical stances. One aspect of Zen philosophy that I do adopt is that of no-self (anatman) although my primary influence in that direction came from Western postmodern philosophy. Yet while postmodern thought deconstructs the self in theory, Zen has spirituality as its primary focus. I do not follow Zen, but its concept of no-self inspires me to see spirituality as re-connecting with all other beings, human or not, in our shared universe.
And, By George, I have a long way to go along this spiritual path.