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SpiritualityWhat It Is and Why It Matters$
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Roger S. Gottlieb

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199738748

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199738748.001.0001

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The Spiritual Path

The Spiritual Path

(p.28) 2 The Spiritual Path

Roger S. Gottlieb

Oxford University Press

Spirituality is a movement away from suffering, and towards a way of life that liberates us from the self-defeating patterns of the conventional social ego. To further this movement we need a new understanding of ourselves and practices to transform that understanding from a momentary flash of insight to deeply engrained habits. The sequence of pain, new understanding, practices, and developing virtues is often called the “spiritual path.” Here spirituality is a long, difficult, uneven, and unpredictable process. This chapter describes some of the characteristic features of this journey: the contextual nature of spiritual virtues, the dangers of “spiritual materialism,” some paradoxes which arise, how the comparatively unimportant role of verbal creeds combines with the absolutely important place of spiritual discipline, spirituality's connections to and separations from mysticism and morality, how spirituality manifests itself in a wide variety of styles, and the inevitability of suffering

Keywords:   spirituality, spiritual path, spiritual materialism, spiritual discipline, mysticism, morality, suffering, compassion, faith

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