Supernaturalism and secularism are often founded on the hostile notion of separation. These ideologies would have us believe nature and humanity are hostile to each other’s’ survival. Separation thinking turns spirituality into a miserable lifelong game of self-denial and beating the odds of the hostile forces of god or nature. We rage against reality when it does not go our way, we are constantly at war within ourselves, with each other, and with everything outside of ourselves. But spirituality is founded on connection, or consciousness of unity. Religion imagines that god is separate from humanity, creator from creation. Supernatural means a split cosmos, divided between the god and the not-god, the scientific and the mystical. The not-god is inferior and needs to be forgiven for its existence, or changed into something else. Anything not supernatural is considered less – the body, food, pleasure. All natural things are mundane and less-than-holy. This, religions is obsessed with making judgments, dividing the world into us and them, good and evil. Some forms of secularism imagine that humanity is like an alien living in a hostile cosmos, separate from the natural order. In the secular worldview, the world is hostile as it is in religion, for the survival of humans and therefore the enterprise of finding meaning in life is always at threat from a destructive universe. Both religion and post-religion often suffer from the same faulty promise: dualism. In this ideology, life is a struggle between that which I am and that which I am not. What matters most is ego: I and mine. Perseveration, greed, and scarcity all go along with ego-enslaved mentalities. Letting go of the illusion of separation is the gateway to embracing spirituality, or all of reality. There is no such thing as separation, at an ultimate level. Everything is connected; everything is science or “spirit” or math. The only blockade to “god” is the ideas we create that separate us: for instance the idea of a god who is separate.
In religion, we are separate from the natural order because we are super-nature, spiritual. Humans are not “just” animals (a part of nature); we are better. The natural world is doomed to destruction, but the spiritual lives on forever. In religion, in order to obtain divinity we must subjugate all material desires to the divine will in order to obtain immortality. This worldview is hostile to nature, for nature is not holy. Nature is not what we are; we are spiritual, we are super-nature. All too often, in secular conceptions, we are not part of the natural order, life is not connected, there is no ultimate meaning except fending for ourselves and doing the best before time runs out and the universe eliminates itself. All ends badly in death, or final separation.
The key to transcending an ego-bound existence is a realization that separation is not final; indeed separation is not foundational. Fundamentally, all is connected. The judgments we make are artificial. Spirituality brings people together. It creates harmony; it makes us more human and more natural. The natural world is not all good, and it does contain hostility and evil. Spirituality is not always about holding hands and making love, or even abstaining from war. But spirituality must take place within a foundational understanding of oneness. If it is founded on an idea of separation, it can only beget more separation, even if it aspires to unity and love.