I recently shared the post below to my (mostly devoutly secular) friend group. "Coming out of the closet" about my spiritual life, so to speak. It got a wonderful response.
I feel like I'm not the only person in my situation - may the below provide permission, clarity, and support to anyone who needs it.
I'm into spirituality. Like, hard and all the way. I have been for the last year or so, and I've been dancing around the edges of it for probably five or six.
I don't really have any desire to be closeted about it anymore, and hopefully sharing this will create more awareness and safety for others in a similar place and coming from similar communities.
I'm also not going to get into details - that is better shared in more intimate contexts that have an established atmosphere of curiosity, trust, and mutuality.
I will share that it's more in the spirit of open-ended exploration with a high degree of intensity and intention with guidance, rather than submission/asymptotin' to any one framework or belief system.
I've put together a short FAQ for the curious/triggered:
✨Have you lost your marbles?✨
No. I worked through my traumas surrounding religious/spiritual experience and now approach it with curiosity and a sense of openness and adventure, which can look like lost marbles from the other side.
✨Are you in a cult? ✨
God no. Radical agency ftw.
✨Is your spirituality scientifically valid? ✨
There's a wonderful rule at Esalen called "No one captures the flag" (google it) - asking this question, however well-intentioned, comes from an implicit assumption that science/rationality has "captured the flag" and is the gate by which to judge the validity of other experiences. I love science, and also, wielding it in this way is counterproductive and degrading.
Generally, the productive (and fun) approach is to try to understand the experience on its' own terms.
I also don't actually care whether my frame of reference fits into other frames of reference.
✨Do you still science and engineering? ✨
Absolutely. I am still intensely all about systems thinking and creating epic shit at a high degree of technical complexity and skill.
That said, I consider that domain to be a toolkit and not a be-all-end-all.
I also view the duality between science and spirit to be egoic and, at its' roots, false. I love both and don't view them as contradictory.
The way that I like to think of it is that most of the stuff that spirituality gets into is upstream of science. Which is also why it's tricky to science it. Good luck separating anything out.
Think of it less as "having gone to the other side" and more like "dancing joyfully on both sides of the imaginary line"
✨Do you use words like "energy" in a non-science way now? ✨
Yes. I'm not going to hold this back in any contexts. Yeh been warned.
✨Are you into [x unscientific thing that I think is really woo-woo and don't approve of]?✨
Maybe. I've given myself blanket permission to explore anything I want on its' own terms, regardless of how offensive or triggering it may be to the scientific/rationalist community.
For sake of getting all of the reaction out of your system, assume that I've looked into [x terrible unscientific thing] and had quantum psychic manifesting crystal energy sex with it. In another dimension. With love and light. And told it I approve of it unconditionally.
✨Do you have a spirit name that I have to call you by now?✨
You can call me Alex or Maki, but to make the transition easier, for the next two weeks I will also answer to my spirit name, which according to the ancient scriptures is any eighteen-syllable sound that contains at least one wolf howl and ends in "-asana".
✨ Are there others like you? ✨
There are definitely people in the science/rationalist communities I'm a part of, who have their own very real and valid flavors of spiritual experience and who are closeted about it for fear of exclusion and ridicule.
I recommend holding openness and curiosity and love in these cases - there's a lot of magic there, and those friends love you, so guard that and create safety for them and treat their experiences as gifts to be shared rather than problems to be picked apart, however lovingly.
And referencing the answer I put to the "is your spirituality scientifically valid" question - I can't stress enough to try to understand and meet their experience on its' own terms.
There's absolute fucking magic there, always, when you have the courage to do so.
Also, if you are one of such humans, consider my presence to be a safe place to be yourself.
I live to explore the edges of existence. Chances are I've experienced what you have, know someone who has, or am super curious to understand your experience on its' own terms.
If I'm holding traumas/judgments around it, those are mine, and I'll own them and work through them.
✨ I don't believe in any of this shit. Are we still cool? ✨
Yes! I wouldn't be sharing this if that weren't important to me. I love you wherever you're at and whatever you believe or don't believe, and I want to share my experiences, and I don't believe in forcing anything on anybody.
I simply want to be able to show up as my full-ass self, and I want my friends to be able to show up as their full-ass selves.
I want to live from as close to a state of surrendered flow as possible - that's where the magic is for me - and owning all of this publicly is my way of creating safety and clearing energetic debris out of the way en masse so I can dance without my dress getting caught on it.