How You See The World – S01E13

In this video I talk about spirituality, either religious or philosophical and the place it fills in our lives.
Stoic Resources:
Vox Stoica
Tim Ferriss – Tao of Seneca

Original Script of the Video (not a direct transcript)

Hello, everyone, and welcome to this week’s episode of Watch Me Shine. My name is Brian and this week, I would like to talk to you about spirituality, whether religious or philosophical, and the place it fills in our lives. But, before we get into it, let’s take a look at the tasks from last week. Remember to comment on this week’s video for how you did. Again, if you take the time to comment, I’ll take the time to respond.

  1. Find a coach or mentor for your primary accountability partner. Were you able to find someone to coach or mentor you? If not, keep trying.
  2. Find one or more accountability partners that are willing to join you on this journey. Were you able to find some people to join you on your journey? Whether you have or not, never stop trying. This should be a goal as long as you’re on the journey.
  3. Remember the list of things you’re looking for. Did the people that you find fit the bill? Always keep this list in mind. It can be used for relationships in general, not just accountability partners.

Jim Rohn says in this program that he believes that there are three parts to our makeup:

  1. Body – the physical.
  2. Soul – the mental: mind, will, emotion, intellect, etc.
  3. Spiritual – the part us that talks to God.

He says that these are layered, with the spiritual at the center, surrounded by the soul, and encapsulated by the body. He believes that spiritual health is the most important part of this whole process.

Honestly, this is the one lesson so far that I could not swallow. I’ve been an atheist since I was about six or eight and scolded in youth church classes for asking questions to which the teachers could not provide sufficient answers. I had my first real religious argument with my mother between eight and ten and made her cry because she couldn’t answer them either. She begged me to stay in church until I was confirmed at eighteen because she hoped it would eventually stick. My father told me I had to, so as to not upset her any more. I did so. I was confirmed in the Catholic church when I was eighteen and can count the number of times I went back after that on one hand.

Honestly, I spent those years trying. I prayed. I read the scriptures. I studied them. When they didn’t satisfy, I began studying other religions and the list I studied was long. Of all my university courses, ones about religion were my second favorite, only surpassed by history. I was honestly searching for one that made sense to me, with which I could agree. Again and again, I found the same inconsistencies and flaws that I always had. And those flaws, I could not get past. I’m not telling you this to talk you out of your faith or to tell you that you need to quit the church of your choice. I’m simply stating that I could not swallow this lesson. That is, until I decided to look at it from my perspective and apply philosophy.

Once I decided to substitute philosophy for religion in this lesson, I found that the teaching method held true. Philosophy and religion are not mutually exclusive. Many philosophers were religious. This applies from Socrates in ancient Greece, the founder of Western philosophy, all the way through to today. It also applies across cultures. So, I’m going to teach this lesson from my perspective. And, when I do, do what I did and use philosophy and spirituality interchangeably. Then choose to follow whichever path, or a blend of the two, that works best for you. Because, when Jim says that spirituality is the center and most important part of our makeup, he’s not necessarily wrong. When I placed the philosophy of my choice at the center of my being, my view of the world began to change dramatically.

Jim believes that the way to begin developing a deeper spiritual life are as follows:

  1. Make it a pursuit.
    Decide to dig deeper, either into faith or into a philosophy. Do your research. If the one you were born into doesn’t appeal to you or if you weren’t born into one at all, start learning about others. There are many active religions and philosophies to choose from. There are many more that aren’t active at all, but that doesn’t make them worth any less. Start looking into them. Choose something that speaks to you. Find a teacher, either living or not, through books and recordings.
    I, personally, settled on Stoicism. I found that when I began reading the writings of Seneca and Epictetus, I found like-minded teachers. And, although I disagree with him on several points, I found that Marcus Aurelius, the last of the great Roman emperors, was a wise and noble teacher.
  2. Set time aside to pursue it.
    Just as many go to church on Sunday morning, setting aside a regular time to study religion or philosophy, is important. It should not be a leisurely pursuit which you only do when you find the time. It should become something central to your being. Religion and philosophy become a map that can guide you through the world. They teach you how to see the world and understand your place in it. They become guides for how you maneuver through the world, respond to the world around you, and help you stay sane.
    I like to listen to audiobooks in my car on the way to work. I also like to practice my chosen philosophy, Stoicism, when I go to my wife’s church with her on Sundays. Because I don’t believe, but am forced to go for the sake of my family, I can listen, learn, and either accept or not accept those lessons based on my philosophy. During these time periods, I actively learn about and/or practice my chosen philosophy, respectively.
  3. Read and study it.
    Whether you choose religion or philosophy, there are probably millions of pages written about it. There are probably hundreds of thousands who follow it. There are probably hundreds who teach it. Whether you were born into it, converted to it, or haven’t found one and are looking to do so, there is someone who can help you along. Choose one and get started learning.
    I’ve already mentioned audiobooks in the car, but I also have e-books on Stoicism that I read. I also subscribed to YouTube channels about Stoicism. My favorite right now is a channel called Vox Stoica. I’ve linked to it in the comments. My point is that I’ve gathered lots of material or have access to lots of material which I study in order to expand my knowledge of the subject.
  4. Apply music.
    If you go to a church, the members tend to sing songs. There may even be a choir or an organ player. My wife’s church has a band. There’s a reason for this. Music can aid participation and aid in building memories. When studying, put on some music that is either related to your subject matter, or something without lyrics that is soothing.
    I really like one particular album that I found by Marconi Union called Weightless. The group that made it worked with sound therapists and it has been scientifically found to slow a listener’s heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and lower levels of cortisol, the hormone your body releases in reaction to stress. Just listening to this album resulted in a 65 percent reduction in their overall anxiety and they experienced a 35 percent drop in their typical physiological resting rates. I listen to it while reading Stoic writings and the combination is like meditation for me.
  5. Join a community.
    If you go to church, keep going. If you don’t go to church but you’re religious, find one. If you don’t go to church because you don’t believe, find like-minded people that believe as you do. Form your own church. Maybe not an official one, but get together and talk about it. Being part of a community of like-minded thinkers or believers is essential. Humans are social creatures. We need community in order to thrive. Being part of a community boosts our overall happiness. Being part of a community of like-minded thinkers and believers can also increase our understanding of our religion or philosophy.
    I don’t have this right now. Most everyone I know is religious and I’m sort of an outsider in that respect. However, I do offer my philosophy in the form of advice whenever asked how I would handle a situation. I don’t tell them where I got it or how, but I’m often thanked for a different perspective. It allows me to practice without preaching, which is more important to me. My advice is valued and that makes me feel good.

Again, I don’t care which one you choose or even if you choose to blend the two. I have no stake in this fight. But choosing to try and navigate the world without some sort of map to guide you is choosing to try and figure all of this life out on your own. There’s no sense in choosing to do it that way when entire lifetimes have been set to the task before you and those people choose to give you the entirety of their lives’ work. Benefit from the hard work of others.

Which brings us to the tasks for next week.

  1. Make a choice to find a map, whether it’s religious or philosophical in nature.
  2. Set time aside to study. Mark it in your planner or journal and choose to attend or study.
  3. Read and study it. Wise words have been written. Learn from them.
  4. Apply music, whether it’s related or as a study aid.
  5. Join a community, whether it’s a church or study group. Be part of something larger than yourself.

Remember to write your answers down and comment on them in next week’s video or contact me through my website, watchmeshine.today. As always, if you take the time to contact me, I will take the time to respond.

How you view the world is important. We shouldn’t go through life blind. Religion and philosophy help us see the world in a way that makes sense to us. Even if we do not agree on how, we should all understand that we’re all in this together, and should help each other through it. If you know someone that’s lost in some way, maybe help them walk your path until they find a path more suited to them, and then wish them well on their journey from that point forward. And, as always, until next week… Watch me shine.


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