If we consider spirituality then, to be a reaching out from ourselves, we can experience profound connection with others and feel things like love, self worth and purpose.
Spirituality in this respect needn't be restricted to human relationships. Take gardening for example, which many people enjoy because it gives a sense of connection to the earth. Others enjoy literature, as it provides a sense of metaphor and meaning beyond subjective worldviews. And I wonder how many of us have lain under the stars, like stoned teenagers, marvelling at our universe?
Our modern world isn't well equipped in this respect. Living in it conditions us to think individually. This can be seen most clearly when we consider the 'lifestyle' industry. Where else is outward beauty so sacred? Here, we find leather sofas somehow embodying human success. We're told we can buy our own success, in easy installments, interest free over 4 years. Contentment then, becomes inextricably linked to material acquisition.
Now, it's all well and good lampooning materialism, but it does have it's place. I doubt I would be considering notions of spirituality if my family were living on jam sandwiches. I like modern comforts as much as the next man. Not least this overpowered PC, with its broadband connection to the Magic Kingdom.
So, we've built our nirvana well and secured it on foundations of capitalism and individuality. If I'm honest, I think this is a good thing. By and large.
But why is depression so endemic in this Eden? It's estimated that a third of us will report being profoundly depressed at some time in our lives.
Perhaps it's material wealth that's lacking . Whilst it provides for physical comfort, many find themselves searching for something more profound. And this search often begins with introspection.
Which is a risky thing to be doing.
We've been trained to be hyper sensitive to our individuality. If we introspect, often all we can see is 'I'. We find ourselves so wonderfully interesting you see. So much so that we become hypnotised by ourselves.
"I'm too fat, too thin, too poor, too boring, in the right and in the wrong".
More on this later...