DIY awe and wonder
Create the community and frameworks you want to see in the world. Choose awe, choose wonder
As the majority of humans move away from religion, we don’t have to give up on the positive things that we get from spirituality. With some conscious decisions, we can have rich lives through plotting out our own DIY spirituality (bring your own craft glue, fishnet and punk aesthetics).
Here’s the positives of spirituality:
A framework to make decisions: life is a series of decisions strung together
Community: like-minded people to lean on and support in kind
A way to learn and reflect: values to strive for
Awe and wonder: otherwise we just rush through things y’know
Reduces inflammation: All the things above accumulate in an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, in other words, you live happier, healthier lives for longer
I’m conscious that as we shrug off the shroud of religion, we might be forgoing some of these things that come built-in. Rather than absorbing someone’s religion and view, we can build our own framework that generates joy with a bit of action.
Before the time of mass communication, our ancestors would make spirituality based on what they believe to be true. That’s how we have such strong mythology around seasons, trees, fruits, mountains, floods. There’s something freeing about hyper-local mythology. A mountain indicating the end of the world, a community dinner to get us through the darkest night, a tree as a reminder of the sacred mother, a flower blooming into Spring. By having something very local and specific, it offers a blurring of the rituals, you can add and omit to suit you, not old tomes.
Philosophy works well as a skeleton framework in which to think and reason with yourself. There’s a plus in incorporating something that people have thought deeply about and iterated on. I absorb alot from Stoicism and Engaged Buddhism and tweak as needed.
Gentle reminder on all of these things: Each religion or philosophy are a reflection of the time that they were created, and some of them are antiquated.
We’re humans lost in the ocean of time, trying to find meaning
Some universal things that create awe and slow us down:
Nature: Experience something expansive and colourful like the sunset, the ocean, a landscape
See some art: Go to a concert, a play, a museum exhibition that changes how you think
Blast some music that you love: play something that gives you goosebumps
Meditate: It slows down time, calms your mind and is available at any moment
Sacred moment: Enter a church or light a candle in a corner of your home, say a little prayer of gratitude
Do something good: Pick up rubbish on a bush walk, help a neighbour or give your time and money to a charity
Watch a live sport event: Preferably with people you like who will buy you junk food and beer
We don’t have to be saints in order to strive for being a better person.
Santoka Tandea, a revered Japanese Zen monk, wrote beautiful haiku poetry and was also a #yolo drunk. I love that contradiction in a human. He could see the universe in a falling leaf or the bottom of a sake cup. Everything is sacred, the contradictions add the sparkle to the grit.
Having nothing to put it in,
I receive it
with my two hands
- Santoka Tandea, translation by William Scott Wilson
Be an active participant in your unique belief system and values.
Experience awe and wonder.
Create or attend the events that make sense to you, that bolster your sense of community and love.
Create meaning out of objects or rituals. A Sunday dinner, a walk in the park, all of these give us a reason to pause through the rush to the ending.
This was originally created as a zine, but it felt like better as a Ripe essay. Let me know what format you think is better.