Spiritual But Not Religious – What Next?

We received quite a lot of response to the previous article about SBNR, for which we are grateful, especially to those who sent comments or spiritual-but-not-religiousspoke to us about it in some way. Thank you.

Now what? It’s one thing to challenge one another to Grow-Up, Wake-Up, Show-Up, and Clean-Up. It’s quite another to answer the question of “How?” or even, “What does that mean?” I will address the second question first.

By grow-up I mean adding breadth to our depth and depth to our breadth. One of the marks of personal maturity is the ability to take multiple perspectives. I know someone whom I greatly admire because she has the capacity to listen and learn from those who hold opposing understandings of almost any issue. Rather than try to convince them her view is correct, she experiences these interactions as learning opportunities. That does not mean she is swayed by their comments, but she learns. We know that an individual’s behavior makes perfect sense in their model of the world. She wants to know about their model. The great peace makers of the world do not try to win compromises. They try to reconcile differing models of the world. They try for win-win-win solutions (each of the parties involved win and the overall well-being of the “world” wins.) To do that one must expand their breadth of knowledge and deepen their understanding of motivations.

Let me begin the “wake-up” explanation by recalling a story I once read (I think it is from the Talmud): The Rabbi was riding his donkey through the village shouting, “Has anyone seen my donkey? I can’t find my donkey!” Someone finally said, “What’s wrong with you? Why are you looking for your donkey? It’s right here with you.” To which the Rabbi responded, “So why are some of you trying to find God?” It’s not that the God/Spirit is absent, it is that our experience of and with God/Spirit is absent. To wake-up is to engage in practices that do more than give us information and understanding of Deity, God or Spirit, but those practices that give us direct experiences of and with God/Spirit.

We begin to show-up when we quit focusing on what or whom we should be and just be whom we’ve been created to be. We all fulfill roles, but we also live roles. We find it difficult to just be whom we are. In fact, I suspect most of us don’t even know how to just be whom we are. Most religions have done a super good job of letting us know we do not and cannot measure up. They have been wrong. I am what and where I am because I must be here to get where I’m going. We’re still growing-up and waking-up and it’s about time we showed up. We can’t get where we’re going while pretending to be what we’re not. As one child put it, “I know I’m good because God don’t make no junk!”

Finally, let’s talk about cleaning-up. I’m a peace maker. On the Enneagram, I’m a Nine; a person who easily sees both sides of an argument and wants to reconcile and make room for everyone. Every person is worthy of being treated with dignity and respect. But, I still have my prejudices (mostly about those that don’t want to include everyone!) We need a practice that will help us to love even our enemies, and to forgive those who offend us. We do not do this for their sake. We do it for our own sake. Anger, hatred, and resentment are heavy burdens to carry around. They wear us out and keep us awake at night. We give away too much power to those people. They can push our buttons in a heartbeat. The fewer buttons we have, the more peace and harmony we experience.

So, now to the first question: “How?” Perhaps it was 15 years or so ago Future Life Now initiated an Integral Practice Group. This group met for two and a half hours, three Saturdays a month and planned on meeting for a year. It turned out to be longer than that because of scheduling issues.  Today, we still hear from members of that group about the profound impact it had on their lives.

I will be starting a similar Integral Practice group although on a smaller scale. What I envision at this point is a twice-a-month meeting for six months with the option to extend, if the group desire is there. As before, this will not be a come-and-go group or a show-up-when-you-want group. Those who choose to participate will commit to attending. There could be some wiggle room in scheduling if group needs are sufficient. As before, there would be an application and interview process. The group may choose to meet on some day other than Saturday. Besides myself as faciliator, there will be periodic guest speakers.

Each meeting would address each of the areas discussed above and would also include some form of movement designed to promote better body health. It would be exercise but not aerobics or strenuous strength exercises. No running or jumping.

Here’s my call to action: If you might be interested in participating in such a group, please contact Future Life Now, or email me at larrywells@futurelifenow.com. I am not currently asking for a commitment. This is a request for a show of interest only. We need a minimum of 10 to commit, and could not accommodate more than 18 (maybe 15). My expectation is that we would begin shortly after the first of the year. The fee for the program has not yet been finalized but we will do our best to keep it affordable.


About the Author

Larry Wells

Larry Wells has Master Degrees in Divinity and Social work and is a Certified Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner and Consultant. He is part of the part time faculty at the University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work, and the Northern Kentucky Social Work department. People have life difficulties because of histories, circumstances, and the fact of having to live with people. NLP has proved to be very effective in helping to positively change the way people experience those histories, circumstances and people, as well as finding more peace and joy in life.

Comments 8

  1. Larry,
    As always, you provide excellent food for thought! I hope to join you in this journey. Have a great day!

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  4. Larry, I am interested in learning to embrace change, the new, and the chalkenging. Please include me in your group interest.


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    Yes, it is a “live/in person” gathering. We are contemplating the possibility of one (maybe two) persons who are out of the area being able to participate via Zoom. But the technology available will make that difficult, so it would be very limited. Thanks for your interest.

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