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Lions Roar : July 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2008 77 evolved individuals (people whole enough not to cling or be needy) that do last, and sometimes manage to embody both the romantic and the spiritual. In your latest book, Wild Ducks Flying Backward, you say that the word “spiri- tual” has become highly suspect. Why do you say that? How and why did the word degenerate? When a blue-collar, average Joe hears the word “spiritual,” he’ll frequently hee-haw and spit. It sounds sissy, elitist, and hereti- cal to him, a threat to his masculinity and a contamination of the patriotic and religious detergents with which his brain has been thoroughly washed. When cool urban cyn- ics hear the word, they sneer. It’s an affront to their existential hipness. For many others, it’s a reminder of the legions of charlatans, frauds, and self-de- luded dilettantes who are making money by hawking various brands of “spiritual” guidance. Then, too, there are the inno- cent airheads who go about broadcasting embarrassing streams of woo-woo in their everyday lives (and who are frequently the victims of the con-artist gurus). These folks—some greedy, some ig- norant, some just sweetly naïve—have all contributed to the aura of suspicion that surrounds the word “spiritual” in contem- porary American society. That’s indeed unfortunate, because spirituality, when pure, connects us to the godhead with in- finitely more efficacy and grace than does religiosity. What is the most spiritual place you have ever visited? An uninhabited savannah deep in Africa, a hundred miles from any artificial light, where, while lions coughed and night birds sang, I gazed at a dozen wheeling constellations and millions of ancient sparkling stars. If it were true, after all, that humans were made in the image of God, what exactly do you think God would look like? God is a carrot. Wait a second, that’s not right. God is a radish! ♦ JULY 72-77.indd 77 JULY 72-77.indd 77 4/25/08 11:44:02 AM 4/25/08 11:44:02 AM