Are We Spiritual Yet?

by Evan on 2012/01/25

Corinne is a blogging friend who writes at Personal Growth with Corinne Edwards. She has had a varied career that has taken in real estate, counselling, and (most relevant to this post), interviewer of self help and self improvement authors on the cable show Wisdom TV.

As she was interviewing these writers Corinne found that they were all saying the same thing in slightly different ways. This lead to a couple of things. First thing: she needed to find the different thing as a way to make the interviews fresh. Second thing: this book, called Are We Spiritual Yet.

 
Overview
This book is Corinne’s summary and distillation of spirituality.

Each chapter is a brief, punchy and self-contained reflection on a major theme. The 17 chapters cover such topics as:

  • peacefulness
  • fear and small stuff
  • personal growth
  • gratitude
  • when you can’t forgive
  • intuition – listening to your signals
  • writing your way to a decision
  • today is as good as it gets

 
Approach
Corinne is looking for spirituality that works in the real world and looking at how spirituality can work in the real world. You’ll search in vain for ‘metaphysical fluff’.

Corinne’s writing style is down to earth and direct – in her chapter on the secret (The Secret – how’s that working for ya?), she says that she learnt early that:
If you really, really want something, it is not going to happen if you don’t do something to get it. (p.28)

In her chapter on forgiveness she asks: “But how do we get there? And who, within us, is going there?”, and answers:
It is the child you have covered up. It is you. It is me. Unhealed. Frightened. Hidden. Sure he or she is bad.(p.13)

Corinne is also wise enough to use stories, which are engaging (personally I find it difficult to write this way – even though I enjoy reading it), so that the book is not heavy or difficult to read.

Corinne has chosen to treat important topics rather than to come up with a treatise or theory. This means that you are free to take you learn and leave the rest – she isn’t laying out a system that she wants to convince you of.

 
Conclusion
If you want a book of inspirational thoughts on spirituality – with an eye very much on the practical – then I think you will enjoy this book and benefit from Are We Spiritual Yet? It is available in paperback or from kindle here (non-affiliate link).

 

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To find out how to live authentically you can download my manifesto.

It has exercises that will help you experience what authenticity means for you and so experience a more satisfying life.

 If you would like me to write about some aspect of living an authentic life please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  There is a box in the sidebar where you can leave this anonymously if you wish.

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I'm Evan Hadkins. I'm Evan Hadkins. To find out how to live a more satisfying life you can download my manifesto on living authentically. It is a book of exercises to guide you to finding, nourishing and living from the core of who you are.

If you would like me to write about some aspect of living an authentic life please don’t hesitate to get in touch. There is a box in the sidebar where you can leave a question anonymously if you wish, or you can email me, use the contact page, or comment on this post.

 

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Corinne Edwards January 25, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Dear Evan –

What a generous and wonderful surprise to have you do a review of my book.

And you are right – there is not much “metaphysical fluff”
here.

MANY MANY THANKS.
Corinne Edwards recently posted..ARE WE SPIRITUAL YET? – Sabotage and Happiness – in Paperback and KindleMy Profile

Evan January 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm

You’re welcome Corinne

Harriet January 26, 2012 at 7:31 am

Thanks for the review Evan – I downloaded the book onto my kindle.
Harriet recently posted..Oh, Another ThingMy Profile

Evan January 26, 2012 at 7:49 am

Hi Harriet, I’d be interested to hear how you find it. (I’m sure Corinne would be too.) Either here or via a review on Amazon. Hope life goes well with you, Evan.

Corinne Edwards January 26, 2012 at 8:39 am

Dear Harriet –

I am thrilled. Yes, Evan is right. I very much want to hear from you.

This book is brand new so I don’t have many comments on Amazon. Much appreciated if you have time.

You can contact me at miraclecor@aol.com if you have any questions.

Happy reading.
Corinne Edwards recently posted..ARE WE SPIRITUAL YET? – Sabotage and Happiness – in Paperback and KindleMy Profile

Steven January 26, 2012 at 9:09 am

Interesting review. The word “spiritual” has lost a lot of meaning for me over the past couple years, but I still enjoy reading a lot of “spiritual” literature.
Steven recently posted..Why Buying Experiences is Better than Buying StuffMy Profile

Steven January 26, 2012 at 9:10 am

Especially when spirituality is framed in a practical/”real world” way.
Steven recently posted..Why Buying Experiences is Better than Buying StuffMy Profile

Evan January 26, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Hi Steven, Yes – I’m not sure what other word or vocabulary to use though. I do talk about values and purpose which I see as spiritual (not reducible to thoughts and feelings) but others don’t make this connection I guess.

Chris Edgar January 29, 2012 at 7:21 am

Hi Evan — good to see you again. It’s funny, as I read this review, what I realize is that I no longer have a concept of my “spirituality” because spirituality has become merged with “the rest of my life” in a way that has rendered those two categories indistinguishable. I think I actually prefer it that way.
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Evan January 29, 2012 at 8:56 am

Hi Chris, yes, it’s tricky. I remember once writing a post about living whole for and submitted it as a guest post to a spirituality blog. They rejected it because it had no spiritual content! For me I guess spiritual language is a way to get beyond consumerism and other things I find limiting. Many thanks for your comment.

Barbara January 31, 2012 at 4:06 am

Hi Evan,

I agree with both you and Chris on the idea of spirituality and how it expresses, but I also find the blending I’m finally experiencing not to be what I desired or pictured as my sprituality. I think I am spiritual. I also think I can be obsessively, fanatically, staidly practical. I could just as easily be described as ditzy/giddy. The things is, I find this to be exactly the point, the integration of my very human stuff with ‘other’ stuff one wouldn’t label as that.

I think it becomes hard to tell the difference or create a distinction whether I’m being my spiritual self or some other aspect of me, probably because they are in fact all the same me, acting in conjunction. Not solely my spiritual self as dominating, or defined as ‘only’ expressing thru my human self, whether regularly or on occasion.

Again, one of the goals to self work is to make enough, or as much, conscious, in order to be more whole (integrated, authentic, whatever your best understanding/definition), right? I tried getting to the point of being ‘one or the other’, thinking I wanted to act as only a spiritual being. Or at least fit myself into the category of spirituality as my main bent since I felt that to be the more ‘desirable’, even more ‘natural’ to me. I can tell you in general that effort proved over and over to be futile effort.

There’s probably reasons for me personally to not have one aspect emphatically greater than another. In fact, the blur, I feel helps me. I’m obsessed with balance and fairness to whatever degree I can make that happen. So a little of this and a little of that probably gives me the illusion of balance I desire.

And then maybe, it’s because I’m just not cut out for a monastic lifestyle, regardless of my desire. Not likely to be successful as a ditzy monk, never mind silence I’d for sure interupt by an attack of giddiness. I think I might even find the notion of too much silence just too humorous not to be laughing, not disrespectfully laughing, but at some point what could seem absurdly quiet to the likes of me, then acting on my pressing need for balance by breaking said silence with kindly laughter ;-)

Evan January 31, 2012 at 7:48 am

Hi Barbara, the church I grew up in had a saying about a particular kind of spirituality – ‘to heavenly minded to be any earthly good’. That is a kind of spirituality I don’t have much patience with. Like you I want a grounded spirituality. In the various traditions this is done through a practise like meditation or prayer or extending care to others and so on. There grows up all this stuff around how to do the practise properly – or doing it better or whatever.

This practise can be unconventional. Especially if you have a sense of vocation. My vocation? I’m here to shed light. Blogging is a way to explore if I can make an income from doing this. In this sense it is partly at least a practise. And I come up against my problems with self presentation my inclination to introversion and so on that need decidedly practical responses – like writing personally and of value (just talking about me isn’t very exciting, I need to provide stuff of value to others, but people connect with the stuff because it is personal). Then there is learning to do the details (I am very poor at crossing t’s and dotting i’s). Blogging is a part of my practise in a sense.

Spirituality for me also means caring for my partner, and I use journalling to sort through things. Blogging isn’t the whole story (and certainly isn’t as important as caring for my partner).

It sounds to me like you are looking for a way to ground your spirituality in real life. Or that you are looking for a practise that works for you. This is the way to balance for me. But I may be wildly mistaken in how I have read your comment.

Many thanks for engaging with this and letting me know your responses.

Barbara January 31, 2012 at 4:48 pm

You know Evan, I don’t doubt the spirituality of life-long meditators. I feel they are by virtue of their practices contributing to humanity’s welfare in very specific ways. The same can be said for any of the traditional practices, especially from the religions, things I’m sure we all have at one point or another defined as ‘spiritual’, likely even believed spirituality almost had to look a certain way for it to be actual.

I think my biggest church influence was seeing someone as devout. It seemed to my young self if I could somehow accomplish what I was seeing, I too would be devout – aka a spiritual person.

I’m not sure my attitude has changed, but my definition of what devout looks like is no longer what the little girl thought comprised devout and had to include in order to qualify as devout.

I don’t disagree with your evaluation of a grounded spirituality as what I’d like to happen, but I’m not particularly found of that phrase, grounded spirituality. To me it implies I have to insert something, to either qualify the spirituality or make ‘being grounded’ into something else entirely. I suppose my word aversion also includes the fact I’ve been told for way too long how ungrounded I am, and have to admit to its truth too often.

I truly wish I had the words to paint the picture of what I can sense about how I want my spirituality expressed, what I want it to look like, since it seems to need to have a ‘look’ to distinguish it from mere mortal stuff. I’d also like it if there were no need to point out or point to something, having to say ‘see this here, this is my version of spirituality’. Rather, to have it just be, without frills or fanfare, but undoubtedly evident. I think that might go without saying anyway. I don’t think spirituality ‘well done’ needs attention drawn to it. I think we’d all know it if we saw it.

Maybe the best definition I can give right now is, a very certain variety of uninhibited useful expression. But that pales, seems vague and isn’t nearly well-crafted enough, considering what I’m attempting to define.

Evan January 31, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Hi Barbara, do you think you are a visual person? You write in visual terms – but I’m a very verbal person so probably aren’t the best person to comment.

In what you write I think you are very perceptive and articulate. If you come up with a better way of saying what you are after, I’d love to hear. Many thanks for your comment.

Barbara February 1, 2012 at 4:38 am

Hi Evan,

I don’t actually identify as a visual person, at least not solely. But I do think there are a few reasons why I wrote this response (and often other writings) with emphasis on the visual. Mind you, I didn’t plan it that way, I simply wrote as if you and I were sitting together talking, me searching for my response to what you’ve expressed, maybe an answer or two to your questions.

I believe it’s said most people are visual, it is the most complex and sophisticated of our senses biologically. In this particular context, awareness of spirituality, seeing is believing seems to be a very important element. I do want my spirituality to have a concreteness in its expression. If visual is common to most than all the better to gear expression to that commonality.

The other thing that might have influenced what I wrote, worded ‘visually’, is my learning experience as a child. I learned a great deal via observation. I had little in the way of interaction, hands on training, even lacking someone giving me specific verbal instruction, in all kinds of things. For instance, I watched other kids riding their bikes and that was the greater part of my learning the skill. I guess I spent enough time visualizing before I got on the bicycle to have the learning and me succeed. I don’t recall falling off my bike as a part of my learning process, and if I did, it wasn’t repeatedly. It seemed I just sort of ‘did it’ when it was probably more mental rehersal and creation of the necessary feelingsfor the task. Of course the observation I was doing could include all my senses, and absolutely did. I’m positive I know what fear tastes like.

So if I had to narrow things down I’d have to say my stongest sense is a sense of cognizance, a sense of knowing, which I think of as a conglomeration of all my sensual input, since they certainly all contributed with possibly one emphasis or another depending on the activity. Maybe it is also why you observed my ability to perceive, that rings true to me, since my experience dictated I had to do the perceiving prior to doing.

This sense of knowing does have distinct downsides as well as benefit. I am often still paralyzed to try something if I’m not confident enough in my knowing that I can do it. Maybe haven’t seen whatever it is, heard it, felt it or imagined it quite often enough to try just yet.

Evan February 1, 2012 at 7:12 am

Hi Barbara, maybe you are actually kinaesthetic – did you feel what the activity was like that you were observing?
Gardner (who came up with the term ‘multiple intelligences) has an intelligence he calls intrapsychic – being good at ‘knowing our own mind’ is the feel of it for me. There is little awareness or encouragement of this in our culture I think.
In the tradition I grew up in (protestant christianity) spirituality was closely identified with the verbal. Catholicism has more visual about it I think (lots of pictures). The musical was accepted on the basis that it was in scripture (got the verbal ok) but it wasn’t really a living part of the tradition, just a curious sort of add on – though it did provide a place to go for those who weren’t verbal I think.
Thanks for engaging with this, I think how we express our spirituality is a real important discussion.

Barbara February 1, 2012 at 3:24 pm

No, Evan, I don’t recall a feeling of the actual activity. Today I think I have a better idea of what I was feeling however. I’m fairly certain my awareness as a kid did not include what I’m about to say. It was more about sensing the energy of the person or activity I was observing, not putting myself into the activity, such as feeling myself pedaling a bike. It was almost a translation process.

Maybe a different type of instance would give you an additional/ different view of how this learning seemed to take place. As a first grader we learned to sing a song at school. It wasn’t part of a music class, it was a patriotic song school kids learned, meant to be sung to celebrate an upcoming national holiday. The song kinda got stuck in my head as songs will do. One day I sat down at the old dusty piano in the corner of the basement and began picking out the notes of the song. I could hear them well enough in my head to match them to sounds of the piano keys. No one played the song at school, so I didn’t see it being played, nor did I know how to play piano. But my felt sense sort of had the resonance of the song as a feeling that stayed with me vividly enough. I guess then prompting me to go to the piano and recreate the sounds I heard.

Evan February 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Hi Barbara, that’s a really interesting process. From what you say it seems like you were really in touch with your senses – in the sense of the impact that external things made on you.

I certainly couldn’t have done that as a child.

Jason February 19, 2013 at 7:15 am

What about those among us who enjoy just a bit of metaphysical fluff? :) All kidding aside, this sounds like a pretty solid review and I like the idea of a spiritual book being pragmatic in nature. I’ll be sure to take a look. Congratulations Corinne!

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