Monday, January 21, 2013

Finding spirituality as an atheist

After leaving religion, I felt like I was missing spirituality in my life. Because my religion had always been my source of inspiration, comfort, and spiritual renewal, I needed to find new sources for those things. I'm going to share some of the things I've come up with.

For a while, I made up an imaginary deity to pray to, because I missed prayer. I eventually came up with "Life Reviews" to replace prayer altogether. Once every week or two, I set aside some time to do a "life review." It's quiet personal time for me to review my past goals, set new ones, think about how I've been using my time, and how I want to use my time. I record my feelings about how my life has been going over the last couple of weeks, and my goals for the next couple weeks. I keep my writings password protected, because they're pretty personal. That way I can be totally honest about everything with myself. Life reviews help me remember the big picture and my life goals. I also have some specific goals that I check off daily in a spreadsheet to keep me focused and productive.

I also find spiritual renewal through reading great literature. I mostly read non-fiction books, but sometimes fiction. I enjoyed ExMormon, probably because I related so strongly to so many of the characters in it. I even read it twice. I really like coming-of-age novels (I recently read this one), probably because I feel like I'm still growing up and figuring things out too. Good movies, musicals, and documentaries can also provide inspiration. I loved Les Miserables, Wicked, and Easy A. I think they each teach important principles that I believe in.

I've also liked service projects, donating to charities, and talking with friends and family to maintain strong relationships with them. I started doing Yoga recently, which is pretty fun. Working out and eating right helps me feel good about myself.

So those are just a few ideas. I'd love to hear your ideas for non-religious sources of inspiration and spiritual renewal, whether you're religious or not. Feel free to comment!


Emily said...

Well, I think spending time in nature is a wonderful way to find inspiration & renewal... whether one is atheist or not! And I don't know if you'd identify yourself as a humanist, but I know they do work to help serve people and generally find the value in each person; I have another friend who strongly identifies with this movement. Their website is I love yoga, too! I love reading your blog & miss hanging out with you & Sarah! Hope you guys are doing awesome. :)

Bennion said...

Thank you Emily! I'd consider myself a humanist for sure, although I haven't been actively involved in that movement. I think they have great ideas though. We miss you too, and I hope we get together sometime soon. Spencer is my inspiration that it is possible to graduate eventually :)

Emily said...

Ha! Just keep writing/working/'ll certainly get to the end soon enough.

gavinomics said...

When I read this, I thought of this article:

Bennion said...

Gavin, this post is about spiritual experiences as deep human needs, and my need to find sources of spiritual experiences for my own emotional and mental well-being. The letter you linked to is primarily about whether spiritual experiences should be interpreted as evidence of God. I don't think they are, I'm sure you do, but I didn't write this post to start a philosophical argument, and I don't want to argue about that here. Maybe for another post, another time.

gavinomics said...

I should have clarified. There was just one small part of the essay that related to your post. You suggest that you want what you used to have when you were religious. I was referring to that part of the essay that related to that.

Just forget that I posted that link then. When I reread the essay, I realized that it didn't relate as much as I thought it did.

Bennion said...

It was a long essay. If you post the specific part you're talking about, I'll read it.

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