The virtue of Transcendence


“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.”

Carl Sagan

Why are we uncomfortable

I know it is generally regarded as poor taste to talk about religion or politics, because they are such polarising topics. People often experience very strong emotions when their political or religious beliefs are being challenged because these beliefs form a critical part of their self-awareness. Much of our perspectives are influenced by these value systems without us realising it. To question our view on religion or politics is tantamount to questioning our existence.

There is a difference

Before you panic and become defensive, please do not. We are not going to discuss your religious beliefs. We are not even going to discuss mine. I am not afraid to discuss my religion. I invite you to start a conversation in the comment section, but right now we have other matters to talk about.

If you are a little confused, allow me to explain. Spirituality is an umbrella term, but of late its meaning has become cloudy. In truth, it has become so conflated with religion that people have started to use the two terms as synonyms for each other. If you follow a certain religion, those beliefs form a very strong part of your spirituality. In its purest form spirituality is how people make sense of the universe and all other non-dimensional aspects of existence. Really, all this is, is a fancy way of saying spirituality is a way for us to determine our purpose in life and how we derive meaning from it.


Purpose is where spirituality and religion meet. Most religions provide its followers with a blueprint of purpose by promoting a way of life that augments human existence through the principles of love, kindness and faith. Is it not ironic then that humans go to war with one another over religion when their deities almost always condemn murder? This is where the discussion normally gets heated, but I would like to divert your attention back to your purpose and meaning.

Where do you fit in?

During this time of social isolation and crisis, what is your purpose? What meaning are you deriving from this experience? If your sole purpose is only to survive and this ordeal holds no meaning to you then I fear you are missing a huge opportunity. An opportunity for spiritual awakening. Now is the perfect time to reflect on your place in humanity? Your presence here and now is but a wink in time in this universe. How are you going to make it matter? We are not talking revolutionary ideas here, we are talking concrete practical goals.

Think about it. I cannot tell you your purpose and therefore I cannot predict what meaning will be to you. A spiritual journey is a private one, but I urge you to take it. If you have been avoiding religion perhaps now is the time to reach out to spiritual leaders. Start a conversation with as many of them as you like. Start a conversation here. You never know who the universe brings across your path.

God sent a cleaner

There is a WhatsApp clip doing the rounds of a man who was close to dying from COVID19 and he says, “When no one else could get in, God sent a cleaner”. Having that spiritual moment gave him the strength to fight and he has recovered.  This is not about him being Christian, it is about the strength he derives from his spirituality. It is about the strength of that cleaner’s spirituality and the wonderful uplifting consequences it had on a man who thought he was all alone. It begs the question, doesn’t it? Are we ever truly alone?

Going beyond religion to Spirituality

If religion is an unfathomable concept to you, or even if you are deeply religious, use this time to do your research and explore other avenues of spirituality. We are small in relation to the universe and time, but we do not need to be small of mind.

Spirituality in the hundred Acre woods

As I said, you need to explore this strength on your own, but I will share with you this analogy from Winnie the Pooh. As I explain in my introduction of Winnie the Pooh, the Forest represents a place of safety. A place all readers can escape to, but also a place where these beloved characters exist free of the ugly realities of the adult world. The Forest can indeed be seen as a metaphor for the universe.

‘… that enchanted place … a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.’ (Milne, 2007, A House at Pooh Corner. p. 176) ‘… the Forest will always be there … and anybody who is friendly with bears can find it’ (Milne, 2007, p. i).

I hope you can find your forest.

Before I Go

Speaking of forests and finding purpose I hope that you are taking the time to work on your virtue of transcendence activity and learning more about yourself. With that in mind, I thought this might offer you some inspiration. It is a poem, Bäume, by the German poet Herman Hesse. Do not worry, the link is to an English translation. If you prefer to read it in the original German, please go HERE.

Until we meet again… TTFN

P.S. In the picture is Lesley B practicing yoga, another expression of spirituality.

One reply on “Spirituality”

I had some time tonight to read through ..learn laugh feel cry and enjoy! …writing this feeling a deep sadness! Thank you for all this work and what it means. Should I follow up on emails I have sent to family and friends? Tomorrow I will take time on Mothers’ Day to read more. The poems you have written in memory of Miss in this deep loss of your loved sister are poignant sad and beautiful in your and our missing of her.. the photos lovely memories, especially the one at the bottom of the farm staircase. You are such a blessing so would love for more to share in this hoboliz “column!”
I love you sleep tight all

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