What Is the Point of Spirituality?

the word spirituality has a capacity to divide people like few others for some it's an innately beautiful touchstone the designator of a special kind of experience that's so valuable it's best left reverentially unexplored and pure lest one disturb its ethereal mysteries with a cold hand of reason for others spiritual is just nonsensical Buncombe have appeal only to adolescent dreamers the underemployed and the weak-minded but precisely because spiritual experiences are so often either worshipped or derided it pays to try to submit them to dispassionate and sober examination not in order a priori to crush them or honor them but so as to make them more intelligible to friend and foe alike whatever our suspicions spiritual moments are capable of being pinned down split into their constituent elements and assessed with due regard one should and can get respectfully rational about spirituality spiritual moments belong to a mood that most of us will only ever irregularly and perhaps haphazardly access a mood in which practical concerns are for a time kept entirely at bay and we accede to a slightly unnerving yet also thrillingly oblique perspective on existence during these moments the ordinary world and it's pressures are kept at a distance from us perhaps it's very early in the morning or late at night we might be driving down a deserted motorway or looking down at the earth from a plane tracing its way across Greenland it might be high summer or a deep winter evening we don't have to be anywhere or do anything there are no immediate threats or passions and we're liberated to consider the world from a new and unfamiliar angle the essential element is that we're able to look beyond the ego our customary state is more than we're generally even aware to be heavily invested in ourselves we aggressively defend our interests we strive for esteem we obsess about our pleasures it's exhausting and pretty much all consuming but in a spiritual moment may be helped along by the sound of flowing water or the call of a distant owl the habitual struggle ceases we're freed from our customary egoistic vigilance and we can do a properly extraordinary thing look at life as if we would not ourselves as if we were a roaming eye that could inhabit the perspective of anyone or anything else a foreigner or a child a crab on a seashore or a cloud on the hazy horizon in our spiritual state the eye the vessel that we're usually supremely and exhaustively loyal to ceases to be our primary responsibility we can take our leave and become a roaming vagabond promiscuous thing a visitor of other mentalities and modalities as concerned with all that is not us as we are normally obsessed by what is as a result a range of emotions that we would typically feel only in relation to us can be experienced around other elements too we might feel the pain of someone we hardly know or be gratified by the success of a stranger we could take pride in a beauty or intelligence to which we're wholly unconnected we can be imaginative participants in the entire cosmic drama there might in all this be a particular emphasis on love that could sound odd because we're used to thinking of love in a very particular context that of the circumscribed affection that one person might have for a very accomplished and desirable other but understood spiritually love involves a care and concern for anything at all we might find ourselves loving that is appreciating and delighting understanding and sympathizing with with a family of dung beetles or a moss covered Tundra someone else's child or the birth of a faraway star an intensity of enthusiasm that we usually restrict to only one other nearby ego is now distributed more erratically and generously across the entire universe and all its life forms spiritually minded people might at this point say that they can feel the presence of God inside them this can be a particularly enraging remark for atheists but it is more explicable than it sounds what they may be trying to say is that in certain states they're able to experience some of the generosity nobility of feeling and selflessness traditionally associated with the divine it isn't that they promptly imagine themselves as bearded men on the clouds it means that the objectivity and tenderness we might ascribe to a divine force now seems momentarily to be within their grasp spiritual moods can usher in especially anxiety free states no longer so closely wedded to ourselves we can cease to worry overly about what might happen to our puny and vulnerable selves in the always uncertain future we may be ready to give up on some of our ego driven jealously guarded and pedantically held goals we may never quite get to where we want to go but we're ready at a bob on the eddies of life content to let events Buffett us as they may we make our peace with the laws of entropy we may never be properly loved or appropriately appreciated will die and that will all be just fine and yet at the same time a particular gaiety might descend on us for a huge amount of our energy is normally directed towards nursing our egos wounds and coping with what we deep down suspect is the utter indifference of other people but that no longer seems like such a specter we have to ward off and we can start to raise our eyes and notice life in a way we never otherwise do our invisibility and meaninglessness is a given we can now joyfully accept rather than angrily or fearfully rage against we don't quake in fear that we might not be as somebody we delight and embrace in a full knowledge of our eternal nullity and delight that right now that blossom looks truly enchanting in the field opposite we cannot persist at a spiritually elevated plane at all times there will inevitably be bills to be paid and children to be picked up but the claims of the ordinary world don't invalidate or mock our occasional access to a more elevated and disinterested sown spirituality has perhaps for too long been abandoned to its more overzealous defenders who have done it a disservice it deserves to be explored most particularly by those who are by instinct most suspicious of it a spiritual experience is neither ineffable nor absurd the term refers rather to a deeply sustaining interval of relief from the burdens and blindness of being us our online shop has a range of books and gifts that address the most important and often neglected areas of life such as finding a good enough partner and mastering the art of confidence click now to learn more

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  • The School of Life says:

    Do you consider yourself spiritual? Let us know in the comments below and to join your fellow School of Life audience members, be sure to download our new free app: https://bit.ly/2H2Co9p

  • Kikoberserk says:

    I have no problem with what you described here, I do however have major problems with spirituality.
    Specially with the term. Why call it "spiritual" and with that reference something we have no evidence of?
    We have absolutely zero evidence of a spirit. Calling those experiences "spiritual" propagates this religious idea of an imaterial and impossible to detect invisible part of ourselves, and that is a disservice for our humanity.
    The term "spirituality" has over 30 acceptable definitions. Something with that much ambiguity isn't definite at all. Why not call it wholefull, or wakefull (poor terms I know, but better than spiritual)
    It's a great thing to let go of your ego and experience life and the world as a separate entity of yourself. It is'nt great to perpetuate silly religious belief.

  • Jerome Wright says:

    Be humble in your beliefs.

  • Devin Dixon says:

    Scientism; Truth and discovery. God is some form of energy so you can infer that "God" is materialism. The point of creation or the big bang created material energy.

  • True Grit says:

    I needed this message today. I need to get back to my meditation.

  • Robert De Los Santos says:


  • NoverMaC says:

    I just think that everything in existence is supposed to be dissected down to their barest essentials. Everything must be questioned using logic.
    And I just find spirituality isn't something desirable for me at any time…

  • Baldoxxx4000 says:

    to be honest, i rather jog than meditate, meditation wont help you lose weight

  • Elena Santini says:


  • maximnoise says:

    Ich liebe diese Videos! ❤️👍🏻

  • YooTooobJeff says:

    Far from being a nullity, we all play significant parts in a larger play we many times do not comprehend… someone near to you is glad you exist

  • Radyman Stone says:

    Please? I need indonesian subtitle

  • Adamost says:

    I love God and I let his prescense guide my life

  • Imperial Guardsman says:

    Materialism is misunderstood, people confused debauchery with Materialism. Materialism is a scientific philosophy on how the application of science on the daily life of people is decided. Machineries inside our body is a fine example of Materialism. Sex, Luxuries, Expensive food, they are not materialism, they are debauchery, people who dream a rich life is not materialism, it is called ambition.

  • King Urachi says:

    Peter Griffin asks God.
    Peter: Do Atheist go to hell?
    God: No
    Peter: Do people who say their spiritual but not religious go to hell?
    God: Absolutely! Straight to the very bottom of the pit.

  • Punit Salian says:


  • Mahamed Ali says:

    You guys should make a podcast

  • Sarce G. says:

    I enjoyed the explanation that a spiritual moment coincides with a temporary escape from the ego. To me that is a lot of what spiritualism is – living in the moment, looking beyond the self, and seeing the beauty in all things/people.

  • Herwin Torres says:

    This video describes the psychedelic experience…to some degree

  • Mxrvxn Vxllvnuxvx says:

    gave me hard acid flashbacks

  • knife3 says:

    Is it just me or is this about psychedelic induced ego death?

  • Rae Peters says:

    Thank you so much! Insightful, compassionate, deep and very well illustrated. I always appreciate the marriage of the visual with the thoughts and insights of School of Life presentations.

  • Gregory Willis says:

    This video describes an acid trip.

  • Banana Birb says:

    Have you been in spiritual groups? Western spirituality is a bit more cranked up than you describe it to be. 😅

  • licandres01 says:

    It's amazing how the two latest videos have connected with what I am experiencing in my understanding of how to transcend anxiety

  • SmellsLikeNow says:

    A lot of people are – rightly – very skeptical of what goes on under the term ‘subconscious mind’. But might there be something of value nevertheless in aspects of what people call the ‘subconscious mind’? A short guide to what a highly rational mind (comprised, in part, of the 'subconscious mind') might learn to appreciate within the concept of 'subconscious mind’.

  • Playlist Overload says:

    This is total horseshit!
    Stop explaining god-bothering cunts like they are are flower-children.

  • IdoN0TneedTherapy says:

    I think this video might miss its target. From the comments, I get the impression that it rings true to a lot of spiritual people. As a non-spiritual person I sat here waiting for the point and for me at least it was never made.

  • Hell o says:

    So what is really spirituality?

  • Simon Beckett says:

    As a supreme rationalist, I fit into the hater group. However, a niggling voice in the back of my consciousness whispers, (what my egotistical rational deems unhelpful), comments like "you should be open-minded, why can't you see what others do, what am I missing out on.ect. All because of a fear of being seen as a subscriber the "mumbo-jumbo" brigade that transgresses over the limit of what I consider rational thinking. But this piece of writing is so helpful in that it allows me to see that many of the things I feel, fall into the category of spiritual without being irrational or going over my rational limit thanks

  • MUT says:

    Literally the first video by TSOL I didn't understand shit of. I'll have to watch this again later.

  • Tammy91 says:

    Outstanding work, thank you.

  • specialkender says:

    This is one of the most accurate description of those moment i've ever heard, and your animations are AMAZING. BIG PROPS, your work is art.

  • Water Existing says:

    I enjoy being spiritual on my own. But never try to think it’s superior or more meaningful than material reality. It’s just a method for an individual to recover one’s resilience. We can enjoy our spirituality after overcoming material problems. Ego is a door for true spirituality.

  • Spinnetti says:

    Isn't this just the flow state?

  • Thomas Penny says:

    Nothing more spiritual than knowing your about to fight to the death

  • Page of Swords says:

    Going beyond the ego – or, as an old Christian evening hymn puts it, "Now all the heavenly splendour / Breaks forth in starlight tender / From myriad worlds unknown / And man, the marvel seeing / Forgets his selfish being / for joy of beauty not his own.

    (With apologies for the non-inclusive language. It's an old hymn.)

  • Fulgrim88 says:

    "We may never be properly loved or appropriately appreciated"
    "Our invisibility and meaningless is a given we can now joyfully accept"

    As someone who's been suffering from depression all my life and who never once had anyone tell me they love me, I "accepted" these facts years ago. Plot twist: It didn't make me any happier. It made me calmer and more functional, for a time.
    But now I envy those who have fought these "facts", for I think while their fights might ultimately be futile, the experiences you make along the way are the essence of "being alive"

  • Alain Leclerc von Bonin says:

    What a wonderful statement! 

    As someone this rather atheistic leanings, I was till recently very suspicious of spirituality. I was scared off by so many bad teachers and examples – dull religion – nonsensical new age stuff – you name it. But I recently found that there are many useful lessons and tools for life in spirituality. If you substitute the word 'God' with the word 'Love' this can make sense even for a critical mind.

  • Kurt Gödel says:


  • Rugareth says:

    so alain de botton is not longer an atheist now??

  • Bojana Paunovic says:

    I like your voice.

  • Jimmy Kakanis says:

    Acceptance of the ways others experience and interpret life is such a beautiful mindset and skill to cultivate.

  • Alex Terry says:

    once again, such a fantastic video, well spoken, well crafted… always a pleasure to watch!

  • Paloma M says:

    Make peace with the laws of entropy

  • Carolina Alvarez says:

    I feel like this whenever I read fictional novels.

  • Tynan Green says:

    What a fantastic video. Thank you for accurately voicing what spirituality means to me from an agnostic and atheist perspective. I do wonder however, whether this concept of spirituality is interchangeable with the modern concept of mindfulness? They seem to be quite similar from what I'm understanding.

  • t4stingo says:

    Any chance that we get more videos on philosophers?

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