"Better not to start. But if you start, better to finish." Some Zen guy.
I hate spirituality. And I don't even really know what it is. And it now seems to occupy a majority of my free time.
Things were simpler when it was possible to pass the New-agey religion section of a book shop with a slight shake of the head, and reflect that there's one born every minute.
Being pushed through the modern sausage factory tends to leave one certain about such fluff, albeit mot likely with a hefty dollop of misery and pointlessness.
Science, facts, proof and solid, first-hand experience are the only acceptable currencies for a respectable Dawkins-fearing modern man. And if the abyss of mysticism, occultism and general white-robed fuckery starts to loom too real, best to turn around, stick fingers in ears and start humming loudly, just like Dawkins or Freud.
Problem is, if you get a glimpse of the cosmic sausage-making progress, simple answers no longer suffice. Most likely no answer will suffice.
You may find yourself innocently attending a 10-day vipassana retreat, expecting nothing more than good country air and some rest from email. You may then experience otherworldly ecstasy and an experience of reality so different from the preceding decades that you wonder if you are not dreaming, and continue to wonder for day after day. And even as such a high inevitably fades, there's a good chance that your days in the office as an unhappy cog in the sausage machine are over.
From that point, the game is on. A game with a million rules, and none. It all depends on who you ask. They are out there, en masse, every conceivable flavour of motivation, institution, technique and game plan. They all know what's going on, where you are on the map, and how to explain this to you while sliding your little chess piece into position, in exchange for something.
Some even tell you there is no map, no table on which a map could be placed and that you, despite how things seem, don't actually exist. You don't exist because nothing exists or ever has, there is no world or universe, and nothing has ever happened.
As a hitherto respectable member of society, you could dismiss such things as the fever dreams of a madman. But you placed one foot firmly into that realm, intrigued by the breadcrumbs of meditation, yoga, Amazonian hallucinogens, velvet-voiced YouTube gurus. One leading to another, sometimes insightful, sometimes soothing or disturbing or laughable.
The earthier parts are somewhat familiar from a Catholic childhood. Petty rules, pious words, creepy men with silly clothes and pompous titles. But keep pushing through past the chanting, past the Westerners with grandiose new spiritual names, past the psychotherapists with delusions of shamanhood, and an apparent destination can be reached that looks surprisingly ordinary.
Apparently all is one.