Although naturalism may at first seem an unlikely basis for spirituality, a naturalistic vision of ourselves and the world can inspire and inform spiritual experience. Naturalism understands such experience as psychological states constituted by the activity of our brains, but this doesn't lessen the appeal of such experience, or render it less profound. Appreciating the fact of our complete inclusion in nature can generate feelings of connection and meaning that rival those offered by traditional religions, and those feelings reflect the empirical reality of our being at home in the cosmos.
Some external resources on naturalizing spirituality, including books and reviews, are here.
Contents (see left hand column also):
Spirituality Without Faith - explores the spiritual possibilities inherent in naturalism, and how these compare with traditional approaches to spirituality.
No Hindrance: Emulating Nature in Service to the Self - how mindfulness meditation can help in achieving acceptance, originally written for The Pragmatic Buddhist, newsletter of the Center for Pragmatic Buddhism.
Sending the Self on Vacation: How to Naturalize Enlightenment - a review essay on Eckhart Tolle's books The Power of Now and A New Earth.
Debunking Enlightenment - a review of John Horgan's Rational Mysticism: Dispatches from the Border Between Science and Spirituality.
~The Little Book of Atheist of Spirituality by Andre Comte-Sponville is a wonderful articulation of the spiritual possibilities inherent in naturalism, reviewed here.
~ Chet Raymo's excellent book, Skeptics and True Believers, gets reviewed here. Here's a taste: "To admit that we are matter and mechanism is to ground our selves in the wholeness of the cosmos. In the new physics, self coalesces from the stuff of the stars, exists briefly,... then flows back into wholeness. Such a concept of self can be ennobling, cosmic, ecological—more so than the ghostly spirit soul I encountered in freshman theology.... To understand that we are structurally no different from the rest of the cosmos is to let ourselves expand into infinity."must read about religious naturalism.
~ Jerry Stone's Religious Naturalism Today: The Rebirth of a Forgotten Alternative.
~Institute for Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS)
~ Religious Naturalism online (has FAQs and links)
~ Yahoo Religious Naturalism discussion group
~ Pantheism.Net - reverence for nature translated into environmental concern.
~ Center for Pragmatic Buddhism - a group that's modernizing Buddhism to become more naturalistic.
~ ThinkBuddha.Org - a very thoughtful blog by a philosopher-Buddhist.
~ Stephen Batchelor's homepage, author of Buddhism Without Beliefs.
~Humanist Contemplatives - an experiential, personal approach to ethical and existential concerns.
~ A skeptical take on Buddhism - by John Horgan, to guard against complacency.