dinosaurs and spirituality(13 Posts)
I went to see 'Walking with Dinosaurs' the other day with my family. Now I come from a non-religious but accepting upbringing. I would consider myself 'spiritual' and have a deep appreciation for people's acceptance of God and all things religious. Up until now I have had the definite urge to explore/experience a spiritual connection through positive thought, meditation, yoga and a common belief through all religions, and I have had uncanny experiences of serendipity, and a feeling of relatives who have passed on who are looking after me and my family.
I also have had a lot of experience hearing about dinosaurs - read books, watched shows, been to museums, seen fossils, etc. But it wasn't until seeing this melodramatic show that I was stuck with this feeling - yes, of course dinosaurs were real and I believe they existed, but hearing how they existed for millions and millions of years before we did, I wonder how we have become so ego-centric that we feel we exist in this spiritual realm? That our life will continue on after this one? That our life has some sort of meaning, that the universe is involved with us spiritually?
I think hearing these facts threw cold water over any feelings of spirituality I have ever had! And I am so surprised it has hit me so suddenly!
Just wondering if anyone has any words of wisdom regarding this.
Dinosaurs are just big lizards, I think of them as spiritual in the same way as I think of lizards. Sense oif knowing they are alive? Some animals may lack that self consciousness?
I do feel a spiritual connection with other humans and animals that I spend time with. Humans are pretty special, we're not top of the evolutionary tree for nowt
By the way - brilliant thread title
Go watch the film "The Tree of Life" - that's all about spirituality and grace and also includes dinosaurs as part of its narrative (seriously). I really recommend it.
Also think of them in terms of just being other creatures on this planet who have same spirtiuality as things that are living now. For instance, I don't believe all dogs go to heaven, I'm not expecting to meet any dinosaurs either
It does sometimes help in situations like this to think about how brief our time on earth is, our lives are really very short and we should make the most of what really is only a tiny flash in earth's history (she says, whilst wasting her life on MN...)
Hi op. I'm with you in that I don't think the universe is here for me, I don't think a god made the world for me and I don't think a god has a plan for me. What I do acknowledge is that it's for me to decide what my purpose is and for me to decide what the meaning of my life is.
What I do know is that I like to be a benefit to those around me, I hate to upset people where it can be avoided and enjoy being involved in my community. These things give me a sense of what some would call a spiritual connection although I wouldn't use that word as I see no evidence for anything like a spirit.
What I hear you descibe is that your spirituality has up to now has been focused on yourself and your family. For example you have described how members of your family have passed away and you feel that they are looking after you. You have felt the desire to explore spirituality but I don't hear that this has been within anything other than self directed study (I may be wrong here of course.)
Now you have been prompted to look beyond yourself and trying to find a way of exploring meaning in a world bigger than your own lived experience. Which as the dominant story in newspapers and magazines is about personal happiness this is all a bit scarey really!
Changes in how spirituality and or religion is perceived often happens when a person has children, or a parent dies and the reality of life not being fair or benign takes hold. Or it can happen when someone starts to study a new subject or maybe just looking at the night sky and seeing how big it all is. Or looking at a mountain or the endless ocean from the shore. Or seeing a movie and getting their heads around just how old the universe is and that there were beautiful creatures called dinosaurs.
Of course I may have misread your OP completely in which case feel free to ignore.
Do you mean that you suddenly feel a lot smaller and "less special" because there was so much complex and beautiful life on the earth before humanity even existed? That if the universe/fate/God/whatever was bothered about us then he/it/whatever would have been at least as much bothered about the dinosaurs, and look what happened to them?
I think it can be a shock to anyone to realise what a tiny speck we are in the whole of history, and it makes you re-evaluate your place in it.
But I don't think that automatically means that spirituality has no place. If you believe in God or gods or any other form of "supernatural personality" then spirituality is generally about relating to him/her/them, and you can either view humanity as god's deliberate attempt at a self-aware creature that has the possibility of relationship, or a lucky accident that god hoped would happen.
And if "spirituality" for you means more about seeing the good and value in people/nature, then it is still there even if we are not as special as maybe we'd sometimes like to think, and having a more humble view of yourself as just one part of it is a good thing.
You mention that you practice yoga - i wondered how deep you have delved into yoga philosophy? The way i see it is that all life comes from the same source, so we are fundamentally many expressions of the one. If you see all living things (past and present) as connected by the web of life, then all life, whatever form it takes has value.
The obvious difference is in our perception of the world we live in, from the most simple life forms, through sentient species to self-reflecting, self-absorbed humans. We may be aware of our spiritual natures but that does not mean that other life forms do not have a spiritual dimension, simply a lack of awareness of it.
Regarding the scale of existence of life of which we were not a part, a lot of eastern traditions assume the existence of life on countless planets in countless galaxies in multiple universes, by which standards even the dinosaurs existence would have been a mere blink of the eye.
Each and every one of your comments has given me something to think about and I really appreciate these wise words! Fascinating ideas to think about. I'm off to ponder...
You Are Not Alone in thinking this .....
But we make our own spirituality. We little specks. The fact that we can even think these thoughts is pretty awesome.
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