What Makes You Not a Bodhidaoist

Since Bodhidaoism is a new worldview in the making, it might be helpful to say what it isn’t. Sometimes explaining what something is not helps people get a better picture of what it is. To this end, let me explain what makes a person not a Bodhidaoist.

No Supernatural

A Bodhidaoist does not believe in the supernatural. Since there is no evidence for God, angels, heavens, and hells, a Bodhidaoist doesn’t believe in them. A Bodhidaoist holds that we should have good reasons for what we believe, especially in important matters such as what reality basically is.

Bodhidaoism is built upon the foundations of philosophical naturalism and current scientific consensus. Naturalism is the belief that the natural world is a closed system and that all phenomena can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws. Naturalism is based on the evidence of the sciences. We have asked nature thousands of questions, in the form of experiments, and nature has never given us a supernatural answer. The logical reason that this would be the case is because there is no supernatural.

But Bodhidaoism is not dogmatic about this. You can’t prove that the supernatural doesn’t exist, because you can’t generally prove a negative. So Bodhidaoists don’t claim that the we know for certain that the supernatural doesn’t exist, but only that there are no good reasons to believe in it. So Bodhidaoists are nontheists rather than atheists. Nontheists withhold belief in God, while atheists claim that there is no God. (Most atheists are actually nontheists).

From a Bodhidaoist perspective, it is wrong to believe in the supernatural because we have no good reasons to believe in the supernatural. The natural world, on the other hand, we have ample evidence for. Our best and most reliable means of knowing the natural world is science. This is why Bodhidaoists are committed to the sciences.


A Bodhidaoist is not a member of a Bodhidaoist institution. Bodhidaoism has no priests, monks, nuns, churches, Sanghas, congregations, schools, or official leaders. It is private path and a personal spirituality that is completely the responsibility of the individual to practice and cultivate.

The problem with clergy and institutions is that they reduce or remove the responsibility of the individual. They are not all bad, they do offer a sense of community and belonging. They offer opportunities for learning, companionship, united effort, and cooperation. But Bodhidaoism is for the sole practitioner. Bodhidaoists, if they meet together, do so informally and as equal partners in waking up. They have no leaders, for all learn from each other.

In Bodhidaoism we recognize a threefold division of people according to their spiritual development. There are muggles who are not interested or engaged in the path of awakening, philosophers who are on the path of awakening, and the sage who has died, but who was far advanced on the path of awakening. We accept no living person as a sage.

Not Buddhists

Bodhidaoists are not Buddhists. We reject the Buddha’s teaching of rebirth, karma, and the six realms. It is not fair to Buddhists for us to hijack their label, even if we qualify it by calling it secular. As long as the label Buddhist is in it, all we teach will be judged by whether or not it is consistent with what the Buddha taught. We refuse to be put in the Buddhist box and recognize truth in other wisdom traditions besides Buddhism.

Although Bodhidaoism is not a form of Buddhism, it is greatly indebted to the teachings of the Buddha and the many Buddhist teachers that came after him. There is no doubt that the Buddha was one of the greatest psychologists of all time. But he was ignorant of modern science, and therefore mistaken about the nature of the world. Since we are not Buddhists, we have no obligation to defend his metaphysical positions.

Not Taoists

Bodhidaoists are not Taoists (Daoists). Taoism has many insight about living in harmony with the way (Tao) of nature. It gives us insights into unselfconscious spontaneous action or flow (wu wei). It teaches us about naturalness and virtue. But its most important teaching for Bodhidaoism is the yin (subjective) and yang (objective) aspect of our reality.

Dualist Naturalism is the view that there is one reality, the cosmos, but that it is manifested in dualities. As Alan Watts explains, “Really, the fundamental, ultimate mystery – the only thing you need to know to understand the deepest metaphysical secrets – is this: that for every outside there is an inside and for every inside there is an outside, and although they are different, they go together” (2002, 10).

One of the important distinctions for any philosophy of life is the inside and outside of us humans. For us, the inside is the subjective world of the mind, and the outside is the objective world of the senses. This is something Existentialism emphasized.

We are also open to a pantheism restricted to the natural world. There is a sense that Nature is sacred for Bodhidaoists, and hence, one could say that the universe is divine. But terminology is an issue for many people, so I do not insist on calling Bodhidaoism a pantheistic belief. But it definitely leans in that direction.

But Taoism turned the Tao into a religion with beliefs in gods and immortality. So just like Buddhism, we reject the label Taoists and are not restricted to just one wisdom tradition.

Not Stoics

Stoicism has many similarities to Buddhism. At times, it almost seems as if Stoicism is a Western version of Buddhism. But the influence of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle is also evident.

Bodhidaoism is not a form of Stoicism, but owes a debt to it. The whole idea of philosophy as a way of life, the idea of followers being call philosophers, and the importance of self-cultivation is drawn from Stoicism. Stoicism is one of Bodhidaoism’s main connections to the Western tradition. It is what helps bridge the gap between the East (Buddhism and Taoism) and the West (Stoicism and Humanism).

Not Humanists

Bodhidaoism could be considered a form of Humanism. Looking at the Humanist Manifesto III, let’s compare them. Just like Humanism, Bodhidaoism is a “progressive philosophy of life.” And just like Humanism, Bodhidaoism is “without theism and other supernatural beliefs.” But as Humanism aspires to “the greater good of humanity,” Bodhidaoism aims for the greater good of all living things. Here our commitment to the environment is explicit.

But rather than say that Bodhidaoism is a form of Humanism, it would be more accurate to say that it is a form of Spiritual Naturalism. Our ultimate concern is not the human race, but nature as a whole. We believe that being human-centered is part of the problem for our current environmental crisis. We must get past our self-centeredness and see the interconnected nature of reality.

Not a Closed System

Bodhidaoism is not a closed system that is set in stone. It is open to modification and revision, based upon the best evidence we have. Things that would be fatal to Bodhidaoism are supernaturalism and the denial of awakening.

Because Bodhidaoism is not a closed system, it is open to personal interpretation and modification. It is a personal philosophy of life that is to be customized to each person’s own journey and personality. You could consider it an open source philosophy. Saying it is “open source” means that it is something people can modify and share.

Bodhidaoism is not only committed to the physical sciences, it is also interested in neuroscience, psychology, and psychotherapy, especially Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Humanistic Psychology, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, EcoTherapy, and Positive Psychology. It seeks to incorporate the best that these and others disciplines provide. Besides Buddhism, Taoism, Stoicism, and Humanism, Bodhidaoism also is influenced by Confucianism, Phenomenology, Charvaka, Existentialism, Pragmatism, and EcoSpirituality. We are also open to insights gleaned from secularized versions of supernatural traditions such as Christianity, Paganism, Gnosticism, Kabbalah, Hesychasm, Hermeticism, Sufism, Mysticism, and Native American traditions.

No Scripture

Bodhidaoism has no Bible and holds no writing as Scripture. Eventually I want to write a book bringing all my thoughts together, but the book will serve as a guide, not a bible. It’s only authority is what you give it. Question everything and everyone, follow the evidence. Be your own refuge. You alone are fully responsible for your life.

Not a Religion

Daniel Dennett’s working definition of religions is, “social systems whose participants avow belief in a supernatural agent or agents whose approval is to be sought” (2006, 9).

First, Bodhidaoism is not a social system and has no social structures. Second, there is a rejection of the supernatural in all forms. Bodhidaoism is a philosophy of life based upon science, reason, and subjective experience.

Bodhidaoism is a spiritual philosophy not a religious system. One meaning of the word spirit is consciousness. So by spiritual I mean the expansion or deepening of awareness of union and communion with nature.

Not Scientism

Scientism is “an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation” (Merriam-Webster.com). Science and spirituality deal with two separate arenas. Science deals with the objective world out there, spirituality deals with the subjective world of consciousness, the world within.

Jean-Paul Sartre says concerning Existentialism, “subjectivity must be our point of departure” (2007, 20). He says that, “Any theory that considers man outside of this moment of self-awareness is, at the outset, a theory that suppresses the truth” (2007, 40). All searching for the truth is done by persons, persons who are subjective. Science is great when dealing with things, but it is psychology and spirituality that deals with persons. We need both in balance, like the yin and yang of Taoism.

You Might Be a Bodhidaoist

If you believe that the natural world is all that exists, and you believe that there is a lot of unnecessary unhappiness in the world, and you believe that many wisdom traditions point us towards waking up to a life of lovingkindness, compassion and inner peace, then you might be a Bodhidaoist.

Many people prefer to work within a tradition and try to reform it. There is nothing wrong with that. Some people want to join an organized religion, and that is fine. But there are some of us who feel it is time to try something new. A path of one. Bodhidaoism is that new path.

If you believe in the basic principles of Bodhidaoism and engage in some spiritual practice of awakening, then you can call yourself a Bodhidaoist. If not, then find a path that fits you better. Bodhidaoism is not the way, it is a way. It is simply a way that learns from all, but clings to none.


American Humanist Association. (2003) “Humanist Manifesto III” https://americanhumanist.org/what-is-humanism/manifesto3/
• Dennett, Daniel C. (2006). Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. New York: Penguin Books.
• Sartre, Jean-Paul. (2007) Existentialism Is a Humanism. New Haven: Yale University Press.
• Watts, Alan. (2002) The Tao of Philosophy. Mark Watts, ed. Rutland, VT: Tuttle Publishing.

Muggles, Philosophers, and Sages

In most spiritual traditions you have a distinction between the wise and the fool. In the Dhammapada, the Buddha says, “If, while on your way you meet no one your equal or better, steadily continue on your way alone. There is no fellowship with fools” (Fronsdal 2008, 17). The Bible says, “The wise store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin” (Proverbs 10:14 NIV).

But in Bodhidaoism, I view this distinction as too harsh and too extreme. Things are rarely that black and white. Furthermore, calling someone a fool is overly harsh and gives the impression that there is no hope for the fool. It also paints the wise in too good of a light. There a very few that I would actually call wise. Rather, reality is more nuanced. There are the very unwise, the unwise, the slightly wise, the fairly wise, and the sage.

This is why I prefer dividing up people into muggles, philosophers, and sages. John Sellars draws a similar distinction, when he says that, “In between these two classes of the foolish majority and the rare sage, there is a third group, those who are ‘making progress’ (2009, 63). He calls this third group “lovers of wisdom.” A philosopher is literally a lover of wisdom. So if we change fool into muggle, you find my threefold division. But since I use these words differently from Sellars and common use, let me explain.


The Online Etymology Dictionary tells us that the word muggle is “of unknown origin.” But it does note that it was used in 1926 to refer to “marijuana, a joint,” and was “apparently originally a New Orleans word (2010). But it was J. K. Rowling who popularized it. As the English Oxford Living Dictionaries explain, the word muggle was “used in the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling to mean ‘a person without magical powers’” (2017). It is now informally used to refer to “A person who is not conversant with a particular activity or skill.”

Bodhidaoism is the path of awakening. You are either on the path to awakening or you are not. There is no third option. If you are not on the path of awakening you are a muggle, you are uninterested and uninformed about the need for awakening. A muggle is someone who is uninterested and uninvolved in the process of awakening, and therefore, does not love and seek wisdom.

So there is a difference between a fool and a muggle. A fool, according to Webster’s New World College Dictionary is “a person with little or no judgment, common sense, wisdom, etc.; silly or stupid person; simpleton” (2014). A muggle, on the other hand, may be smart and informed. A muggle may be intelligent, but is uninterested and uninvolved in awakening to the true nature of reality. The problem is not knowledge but vision. They don’t need more knowledge, they need new eyes.

Morpheus, from the movie The Matrix, probably said it best, “Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.” Muggles ignore that feeling. They are not interested in discovering how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

The practical benefit of distinguishing muggles from those on the path of awakening is spelled out by the quote of the Buddha we referred to earlier, “If, while on your way you meet no one your equal or better, steadily continue on your way alone. There is no fellowship with muggles.” Muggles can be a distraction from the journey to awakening. They are interested in things that are unimportant and have views that are unenlightened. The Buddha said, “The deluded, imaging trivial things to be vital to life, follow their vain fancies and never attain the highest knowledge” (Easwaran 2007, 106).


Philosophy is the “love of wisdom,” a love that consumes one’s life in the pursuit of the beloved. Originally, remarks Pierre Hadot, “philosophy was a way of life” (1995, 265). This idea is, in the words of Jules Evans, “quite far from the contemporary academic model of philosophy, where students are taught a theory and then tested in that theory” (2012, 11). “Philosophy,” explains Pierre Hadot, “was a method of spiritual progress which demanded a radical conversion and transformation of the individual’s way of being” (1995, 265). In Bodhidaoism, that radical conversion is from being unaware and indifferent, to the pursuit of the wisdom to awakening to reality as it truly is. This is the life goal of the philosopher.

According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the word philosopher in Greek is philosophos, meaning a “lover of wisdom” (2016). This love of wisdom includes the pursuit of wisdom. Many philosophers today fall short of this ideal. They are philomathes, not philosophers. Philomathes are a lover of learning and studying, not necessarily lovers of wisdom. They may be smart, but they are not wise.

In Bodhidaoism there are two kinds of philosophers, students and teachers. Both are lovers of wisdom who pursue a way of life that is conducive to gaining and apply wisdom. You are a muggle until you actually try to live wisely. Philosophers are not wise men and women, they are men and woman trying to live wiser day by day. They are imperfect and inconsistent. They may mistakes, But they are always learning and growing, becoming more aware and less judgmental. They are learning to be mindful and live in the present moment.


So what is a sage? The Chinese word is shen ren, referring to a person “of the highest virtue and respected, of great wisdom, has reached the highest and most perfect state of the human person, it sometimes specifically refers to Confucius” (Pattberg 2011, 67). But remember that Confucius was not recognized as a sage until after his death.

In Bodhidaoism, no one living is a recognized sage. A sage is like a Catholic Saint, only recognized as such after their death. There is a reason for this. Calling a living person a sage places them above others, grants them an authority they may or may not deserve, and induces people to stop questioning them. This is a dangerous place both for the sage and the student. We should learn from all, but cling to none.

If sages are so dangerous, why have them at all? For the same reason they are found in Stoicism. As Donald Robertson explains, “This concept of someone perfectly wise and good gives the aspiring Stoic direction, structure, and consistency in her practice” (2013, 112). However, the Stoics went too far in making the sage perfect beyond reality. The fact is that the ideal sage was “a fiction” that they “were doubtful” ever existed “in the flesh” (Robertson 2013, 112).

In Bodhidaoism, the sage is not perfect but very advanced and led an exemplary life. Each sage has faults and imperfections. The four most influential wisdom traditions on the formation of Bodhidaoism are Buddhism, Taoism, Stoicism, and Humanism. The foremost sage of Buddhism is Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha. The foremost sage of Taoism is Laozi. The foremost sage of Stoicism is Socrates. And the foremost sage of Humanism is Confucius. More modern sages might include Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Dalai Lama.


The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2016) New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
English Oxford Living Dictionaries. (2017) Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• Evans, Jules. (2012) Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations: Ancient Philosophy for Modern Problems. Novato, CA: New World Library.
• Fronsdal, Gil. (2008) The Dhammapada: Teachings of the Buddha. Boston: Shambhala Publications.
• Hadot, Pierre. (1995) Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault. Arnold I. Davidson, ed. Michael Chase, tr. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
Online Etymology Dictionary. (2010) Douglas Harper, ed. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/muggle
• Pattberg, Thorsten. (2011) Holy Confucius! Some Observations in Translating sheng(ren) in The Analects. New York: LoD Press.
• Robertson, Donald. (2013) Stoicism and the Art of Happiness. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
• Sellars, John. (2009) The Art of Living: The Stoics on the Nature and Function of Philosophy, Second Edition. London: Bristol Classical Press.
Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fifth Edition (2014) New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Statement about the events in Charlottesville, Virginia

I am a member of the Spiritual Naturalist Society Council and voted to approve the following official statement:

“We at the Spiritual Naturalist Society were saddened by the events in Charlottesville, Virginia this week. Even before the tragic loss of life and violence that took place, the very appearance of groups who would march as, and alongside, supporters of Nazism and White Supremacy was enough to make us all take pause and work to listen, learn, and love more. SNS is not a political organization but as a spiritual community that promotes both reason and compassion, it is our responsibility to speak against that which cannot be considered moral. Consistent with our mission, we strongly condemn hate and the rhetoric and actions which lead to more of the same. Rather, let us be courageous in standing up for the kind of society we want, one in which everyone matters and dignity is extended to all. May we find creative ways to overcome these old and new challenges through greater diligence in our actions, awareness in our being, and loving-kindness in our hearts.”

— The SNS Council, on behalf of our community

Spiritual Practices

Let’s say I invited you over for a cup of tea. Is the act of making tea a spiritual practice? If you are familiar with the Japanese tea ceremony, also known as the Way of Tea, you would answer with a maybe.

Or let’s say that I am going for a walk in the forest. Is this walk in the forest a spiritual practice? If you are familiar with walking meditation, again you would answer it could be.

So what makes an activity a spiritual practice? It can’t be the activity itself. I can sit down and close my eyes, it doesn’t mean that I am meditating. Just as with making tea or walking, the activity alone does not make it spiritual. There is something more.

And it is not that it is a practice. We can practice violin or football, but they are not spiritual practices. The key is that these practices are “spiritual.”

The Difficulty with the Word Spiritual

We have little difficulty understanding the word practice. Our problem is understanding what makes a practice or activity spiritual. And this is because the word spiritual is hard to define. “What fascinates me about this delightfully versatile craving for ‘spirituality’,” writes Daniel Dennett, “is that people think they know what they are talking about, even though – or perhaps because – nobody bothers to explain just what they mean” (2006, 302).

In fact neither the original Stoics or Buddhists called their activities spiritual practices. The Stoics called them askeseis, which is a Greek word literally translated as “exercises.” And the Buddhists called their exercises bhavana, which is both the Pali and Sanskrit word literally meaning, “calling into existence, producing.” It is usually translated as “mental development.”

So why do modern Stoics and Buddhist prefer the term spiritual practices? I think John Sellars explains it well, “The phrase ‘mental exercise’ might be seen to be more appropriate. The term ‘spiritual’ does indeed have a number of unhelpful connotations but so does the term ‘mental’. Alternative phrases such as ‘mental exercise’ or ‘mental training’ suggest to a modern reader something akin to psychotherapy” (2009, 115).

Pierre Hadot was the pioneer of the use of spiritual exercises to refer to Stoic practice. “It is nevertheless necessary to use this term,” he explains, “because none of the other adjectives we could use… cover all the aspects of the reality we want to describe” (1995, 81). The problem is, in my opinion, is that nobody gives an adequate definition of the word spiritual.

And the unhelpful connotations are seen in the very first entry in the Webster’s New World College Dictionary. It defines spiritual as “of the spirit or the soul as distinguished from the body or material matters.” As Naturalists we reject this false dichotomy. As I have explain before, “Naturalism is the conclusion, based on the evidence, that the natural world is a closed system and that all phenomena can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws. Therefore there is no support for supernatural explanations.” We therefore need a naturalistic explanation of the word spiritual.

Definition of Spiritual

I think Pierre Hadot gets close to the right idea when he says, “Attention to the present moment is, in a sense, the key to spiritual exercises” (1995, 84). But we can pay attention in Math class and it is still not a spiritual practice. I would argue that it is not paying attention that is important, but doing something with our awareness.

In another article, I have defined spirit as consciousness or awareness. This is not the usually meaning of the term, but it sometimes has that meaning. The word spiritual then, as the suffix “-al” indicates, relates to consciousness or awareness. In other words, spiritual means the modification of consciousness.

I define spiritual as the expansion or deepening of awareness of union and communion with reality. For a Christian, this reality would be God. For Hindus it would be Brahman. For Naturalists and Pantheists it would be Nature or the Universe. The definition, then, fits it use in all major religions. It also fits in the ways we use the word. A spiritual experience would be the actual experience of the expansion or deepening of awareness of union and communion with reality.

So a spiritual practice refers to an activity that expands or deepens one’s awareness of union and communion with reality. By saying that it expands our awareness, I mean that it add scope, that it broadens our view of reality. And by saying that it deepens our awareness, I mean that it details to our view of reality.

Walking becomes a spiritual practice when we undertake it with the intent to expand or deepen our awareness of our own union and communion with reality. The same goes for making tea, sitting in silence, or drumming. Any activity, including sex, can become a spiritual practice if we undertake it with the intent of expanding or deepening our awareness.

Practice versus Practices

There is a difference between one’s spiritual practice and spiritual practices. One’s spiritual practice refers to the collective things that one is doing to develop one’s spirituality. Spiritual practices are the individual things themselves, like meditating, journaling, walking, etc.

Start with Meditation

I always recommend to people interested in developing a spiritual practice to start with meditation. The reason is that you need to strengthen your ability to pay attention if you ever want to expand and deepen your awareness. Meditation is the fastest and best way to work with both attention and awareness. I will not going into detail here, since I covered meditation in my article entitled, “Introduction to Insight Meditation” and “Loving-kindness as a Spiritual Practice.”

However, if you have problems beginning to meditate. I am going to give you a one minute meditation exercise to help you get started. It is also helpful throughout the day, especially in those stressful situations we sometimes find ourselves in.

This meditation is easy. It involves breathing in with awareness, and breathing out with awareness. The key is adding a word to each. So when you breathe in, say in your mind “open.” And when you breathe out, say in your mind “relax.” As you breathe in, open yourself to the now. The way it is, without value judgments. And as you breathe out, let your body and brain relax. Let the tension go. Do this for three to five breaths.

This will instantly put you into a better frame of mind. It will help you relax and bring you back into your body and into the present moment. It is not a substitute for regular meditation, but it helps.

Naturalistic Spiritual Practices

For Spiritual Naturalists, all spiritual practices are concerned with this world. We don’t believe in a supernatural realm with supernatural beings. That means that some spiritual practices are not appropriate for a true Naturalist, for example, petitionary prayer. Other spiritual practices can be naturalized, that is, the supernatural element can be dropped.

Since Naturalists don’t believe in the supernatural, we don’t believe in a supernatural Being who answers prayer. But we can still “pray” in the form of an affirmation. For example, my family’s mealtime prayer is, “We give thanks to all beings who brought this food to our table, and vow to respond to those in need with wisdom and compassion. Let us eat mindfully.” Our bedtime prayer is, “May I sleep peacefully and have no fear, may my heart seek wisdom and my mind be clear. May I be filled with love and compassion for all beings, and may I live a good and loving life filled with happiness.”

I have already mentioned meditation, which is found in both Buddhism and Stoicism. Buddhism has the richest and deepest meditation tradition of all religions. Its meditation practices have been studied by cognitive science for years and its benefits have been scientifically substantiated. Some of the principles of stoicism have also undergone extensive study. In fact, “The philosophical origins of cognitive therapy can be traced back to the Stoic philosophers” (Beck 1979, 8). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the most successful forms of psychotherapy.

We can also find spiritual practices in Taoism, such as the practice of wu-wei and simplicity. We can learn from Paganism to be in harmony with the rhythms of the seasons. We can celebrate the Winter and Summer Solstice, and the Spring and Fall Equinox. There is such a rich tapestry of practices in the world’s traditions, it would be impossible for me to list them all here. The important thing is to experiment with those that you believe will help you expand and deepen your awareness of your oneness with Nature.

Observe the Results

Don’t just do a spiritual practice and then forget about it. Pay attention to how it affects you. This is where keeping a spiritual journal can help. Keeping a journal or practice diary can help you notice changes. Is the spiritual practice helping expand and deepen your awareness of reality? If not, it may be time to revisit the use of the practice. Does it need to be modified, expanded, or dropped?

Maintaining a spiritual practice is not easy. That is why they are sometimes called spiritual disciplines. Take it from me, you will never find time for spiritual practices. You must make time. You must stay alert to the creeping sense of aversion that may enter after the newness wears off. Many times this takes the form of boredom or frustration. Beware of rationalizations that tell you you don’t have time, or that it makes no difference, or “I will do it tomorrow. There are all forms of aversion and will kill your spiritual growth.


• Beck, A. T., A. J. Rush, B. F. Shaw, and G. Emery. (1979) Cognitive Therapy of Depression. New York: Guilford Press.
• Dennett, Daniel C. (2006). Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. New York: Penguin Books.
• Forrest, Jay N. (2015) “Loving-kindness as a Spiritual Practice.” Spiritual Naturalist Society. Nov 5, 2015. http://spiritualnaturalistsociety.org/loving-kindness-as-a-spiritual-practice/
• Forrest, Jay N. (2016) “Introduction to Insight Meditation.” Spiritual Naturalist Society. May 5, 2016. http://spiritualnaturalistsociety.org/introduction-to-insight-meditation/
• Forrest, Jay N. (2016) “Spirit as Consciousness.” Spiritual Naturalist Society. Jul 7, 2016. http://spiritualnaturalistsociety.org/spirit-as-consciousness/
• Forrest, Jay N. (2016) “What is Buddhist Naturalism?” Spiritual Naturalist Society. Nov 3, 2016. http://spiritualnaturalistsociety.org/what-is-buddhist-naturalism/
• Hadot, Pierre. (1995) Philosophy as a Way of Life: Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
• Robertson, Donald. (2013) Stoicism and the Art of Happiness. New York: McGraw-Hill.
• Sellars, John. (2009) The Art of Living: The Stoics on the Nature and Function of Philosophy. London: Bristol Classical Press.