Authentic Spirituality: Frederick Franck

The faculty and staff at Yoga Garden SF are currently in the process of articulating a code of ethical conduct for the community.  One issue that has come up for discussion is something we are calling “pseudo-spirituality” vis-a-vis “authentic spirituality”, without falling into the dogma-trap of religion. I thought I’d share this article to help articulate the difference that we strive to embody.

“Authentic spirituality is intimately related to firsthand, direct experiencing. It may mature through various disciplines, as for instance structured meditation and verbalized prayer. To live in radical openness to pure experiencing in kitchen, bedroom, subway, newspaper, that is: to everyday life, inside as well as around oneself may, however, be the equivalent of both formal meditation and verbal prayer. It is the finding of one’s path without being ‘bamboozled, confused, sidetracked,’ at every step.

“Some symptoms by which pseudo-spirituality may be recognized are sentimentality, premature group formation, proselytizing, fanaticism, holier-than-thou delusions, superstitions, spiritual tourism. Above all: unconcern, detachment from all the avoidable suffering, injustice, violence constantly being inflicted on the great majority of our fellow human beings.

“It is not a matter of choosing between Christianity and Buddhism. They do not collide in me, they are complementary. This complementarity may be easier to understand to the upright Buddhist than to the more dogmatically programmed Christian believer.

“Under the starry summer sky, hearing the song of the cicadas, musing on those I love on this beloved earth, on living, on dying, I am a Buddhist. Going indoors, switching on the radio, glancing at the headlines, I hear His cry: “Why hast Thou forsaken Me?. . .”

“To be committed to Truth/Reality does not carry any obligation to join any group, movement, church or party. Even less does it oblige me to any kind of religious, sectarian, ethnic, national, political self-labeling. It compels me to refrain from any such labeling and joining.”

— What Matters: Spiritual Nourishment for Head and Heart

via Spirituality & Practice: Remembering Spiritual Masters Project: Frederick Franck.