5 Ideas On Becoming A Spiritual Atheist

person in a large cave standing in awe

 

Since Nietzsche proclaimed in Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1882) that “God is dead” the Western society writhed in throws of spiritual apathy. The widespread dissemination of knowledge about evolution, astronomy, anthropology, physics, and history exposed the church as a patriarchal, power-seeking organization, and Yahweh, as a figment of the iron-age imagination.

 

This had huge implications on the societal level, but it also changed everything for the individuals who more and more turned towards atheism.

How do you find meaning in your life without God? Without the promise of eternal life?

For me, strangely enough, the transition to atheism was rather smooth. I always eschewed authority, so getting God out of the equation came naturally.

I also found some ways to show myself in the presence of the numinous, and that’s far more rewarding than attending religious ceremonies. I hope you’ll enjoy the ideas below, (along with book recommendations) and that they’ll launch you on your own spiritual path.

 

“The human species – mammalian primates though undoubtedly (s)he is, and made out of the dust of exploded suns – does have the need for the transcendent, the numinous, even the ecstatic. I wouldn’t trust anyone who hadn’t had this. This has to do with landscape, light, music, love and an awareness of the transience of all things, and the melancholy that invests all this.” – Christopher Hitchens

 

Here’s how to be an atheist without giving up on spirituality:

 

1. Start meditating for at least 20 minutes per day

 

I started meditating when I was still small. I signed up for Ju-Jitsu classes when I was ten and the first thing we would do before commencing the training was a couple of minutes of silent meditation.

Even at this tender age, I knew there was something to this esoteric practice. I borrowed some books on Buddhism, learned what I could, and I still remember my first, twenty-minute meditation session in my pajamas.

In retrospect, developing a meditative habit was life-changing. Now I regularly sit down for 45-minute sessions and almost every day feels beautiful.

This is the no. 1 secular, yet, a spiritual practice you can undertake which offers many psychological benefits.

 

Recommended book on this topic:

Waking Up –  A guide to spirituality without religion by Sam Harris

 

2. Venture into new worlds with judicious use of psychedelics

 

The “classical psychedelics” are making a huge comeback after the moral panic which surrounded them since the 1960s. Compounds such as LSD (the invention of Albert Hoffman), Psilocybin (the active ingredient found in Magic Mushrooms), and DMT (the most potent psychedelic which can be found among other places in your brain), are known to induce powerful spiritual experiences.

They can cause even the so-called “full mystical experience” where you report losing your sense of self (ego death), and melt into the eternal love pervading the whole universe. It’s so powerful that some atheists actually turn to God after their trips.

Once again, this sounds more direct and spiritual than any boredom-inducing religious ceremony. But please remember that those psychedelic sessions are best done along with a competent guide and with the right set and setting.

For more info, you can read my article: Psychedelics And Spirituality – An Ancient Bond.

 

Recommended books on this topic:

How to change your mind by Michael Pollan

The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide by James Fadiman

 

a large stack of strange stones

 

3. Travel to awe-inducing places of nature, and architectural marvels

 

Most of our urban life is quite routine. We take the same road to work and come back to the same places. This can quickly lead to malaise and feeling that you’re lacking some spiritual spark in your existence.

The cure for this is experiencing novelty on every level. It can start by visiting a new part of town or going to a new restaurant. But you’ll probably need more than that. Our species evolved by wandering for hundreds of kilometers as nomads, looking for food and better weather conditions.

I think this nomadic spark is still in us. We need to go to places to feel truly alive. And there’s nothing so awe-inspiring as seeing snow-covered mountains, exotic islands, or breathtaking architecture.

I remember entering the Taj Mahal. I’m telling you, this was an unearthly palace.

For more info, you can read my article: Nature as a Source of Spirituality and Art as a Source of Spirituality.

 

Recommended books on this topic:

Travels with a Tangerine by Tim Mackintosh-Smith

7 Incredible Books On Exploration That Will Fuel Your Wanderlust

 

4. Practice yoga or a spiritual dance

 

In the Western context, yoga is usually seen as a type of workout. But since its beginnings in the East, it grew from deeply spiritual roots. It actually goes as far as 3000 BCE. Even if you’re a stern atheist, the yogic practices can still help you to find love, kindness, compassion, relaxation, and overall balance in life.

You can combine this with Pranayama which is the art of mindful breathing, or a multitude of other techniques coming from age-old traditions.

For more info, you can read my article: Spirituality Through The Movement of The Human Body.

 

Recommended book on this topic:

Yoga and the path of the urban mystic by Darren Main

 

5. Take freely from the spiritual heritage of humanity

 

The lack of proof of the existence of God doesn’t mean you can’t draw from the rich traditions developed over millennia by our ancestors. There’s still something to harvest from the classic old books of Sufism, the Bible, the Koran, the Persian Poetry, the Zen Koans, the ancient temples, the secluded monasteries, age-old mosques, or the masterpieces of western literature.

These books and places emanate with timeless knowledge, and they’ll touch you to the core. You don’t have to believe anything on insufficient evidence to enjoy them.

 

“When we reject our origins, we become the product of whatever soil that we find ourselves planted; the colors of our leaves change as we consume borrowed nutrients with borrowed roots and, like a tree, we grow.” – Mike Norton

 

Recommended book on this topic:

Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places by National Geographic

 

You’re on your way to a life of purpose and meaning

 

Life doesn’t have to be cold, repetitive, and meaningless. You can open it up and make it more exciting, and significant, like an exciting journey. But it only works if you take responsibility for yourself and set your own course. By working with the ideas and methods laid out in this article, you’ll find that without a patriarchal God, your life actually becomes more interesting. You’re at the steering wheel. And you face the void as a spiritual atheist – knowing there’s much more to be discovered.

Rafal Reyzer

Hey there, welcome to my blog! I'm a full-time blogger, educator, digital marketer, freelancer, editor and content manager. I started RafalReyzer.com to provide you with great tools and strategies you can use to achieve freedom from 9-5 through online creativity. My site is a one-stop-shop for writers, bloggers, publishers, content enthusiasts and freelancers who want to be independent, earn more money and create beautiful things. Feel free to check my archive containing over 500 articles and reach out if you need anything. Ah yes, and stay awesome!