“Ultimately, the purpose of a spiritual practice
is a more flourishing and fulfilled life.
This is a life of greater equanimity, peace, contentment, joy, and thriving.
The ancient Greeks called it eudaimonia – or ‘healthy soul’.”
In many traditions, people engage in religious practices in the belief that these will be pleasing to the gods, and that they may be rewarded with good fortune. This raises a question for religious naturalists: with no priests giving instructions and no thought that gods may punish or reward, what might be the point or potential benefit of engaging in religious practices?
One answer is well-being; with activities that:
re-orient our minds – with short-term shifts in focus or reminders of spiritual or healthy attitudes or ways of connecting to what we consider to be sacred; or to
engage in longer-term paths toward self-improvement or transformation.
Another is to go beyond ourselves, helping others and contributing to our communities (and perhaps also to the world as a whole) thereby putting our religious values into practice.
No set of practices is required or recommended for religious naturalists. Instead, as can be explored via the links below, a wide number of practices are available, and individuals can choose or create those they feel fit with their interests and needs.
Practices to re-orient the mind
…..Encounters with nature
…..Encounters with art
……….Music, dance, theater,
……….photography, sculpture, painting,
……….spatial arts, poetry, stories
…..Pilgrimages + retreats
Spiritual growth or transformation
…..Developing religious attitudes
…..Seeking knowledge and wisdom
…..Marking life events
…..(wedding, funeral, birth)
Putting values into practice
Personal descriptions of practices done by religious naturalists
Some practices may be done frequently; others may be occasional or rare.
Some are done individually; others may be done in groups.
Some (such as meditation) may be done as overtly spiritual activities
while others (such as nature walks, music, or gardening) may be things we are already doing, but that may also be seen, in part, as being spiritual.
Some are based in distinctive themes in religious naturalism;
others can be adapted from traditional religions.
Some are done proactively – as intentional parts of spiritual growth – while others may be more reactive – opening up to spiritual perceptions or moral responses without intentionally seeking these out.