An excerpt from my latest book, The Spiritual Hedonist– A Guide to the Divine Art and Practice of Living Joyfully
Webster’s dictionary definition of (a) Spiritual—adj.—as, of or pertaining to sacred things or matters; pertaining to or consisting of spirit; pertaining to the spirit or soul; of or pertaining to the soul as the seat of moral or religious nature. And (b) Hedonist—n.—a person who practices the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the highest good.
A Spiritual Hedonist is someone who walks their own sacred path—a unique blend of what is personally sacred and meaningful to them and what is collectively sacred and meaningful to the world at large. A Spiritual Hedonist is one who pursues their own ‘personal legend,’ and by doing so, discovers and reconnects with Divine Source, their own Divine birthright and the path of joy.
Unfortunately, as a society, we’ve forgotten how to walk that path, or even where it is or how to find it.
Up until the last few years of the previous century, as far as common thought was concerned, one could either be considered spiritual or a hedonist—one couldn’t be both. There was little or no realization that the two could be combined into one entity or life path and there was certainly no awareness that the word, ‘spiritual,’ could be used as an adjective to define or clarify the term, ‘hedonism.’
Children are great examples of Spiritual Hedonists. They genuinely, naturally express the pure joy that has its home in their hearts. Without artifice or self-condemnation, they live in a joyful state of just being naturally who and what they are and asking for and expecting to get what they want. And they remain that way until they’re forced to comply with society’s limiting belief systems that their birthright, life’s limitless supply of joy and abundance, is in short supply and must be conserved at all costs.
The Spiritual Hedonist is a person who has awakened from the programmed nightmare of denial, self-abnegation and intentional or unnecessary suffering. They no longer need instructions or permission from society on how and what to feel and think because they have at last given themselves permission to think for themselves and to be fully engaged in and enjoy their lives. They are fully alive and know that every moment is a moment to be experienced, to be lived to the fullest.
The Spiritual Hedonist is, by nature, a moral person, concerned with experiencing and interacting with life in a mutually beneficial, balanced and ethical manner, with this very important distinction, they just don’t have being moral, ethical and balanced confused with being miserable, evil or deprived. They joyfully conduct their life in such a way that their thoughts, feelings and actions contribute to the well-being of the world as a whole as well as themselves.
A Spiritual Hedonist is also a generous and caring person—they just remember to give to and care for and about themselves, too. They have re-connected to their hearts—the center of joy, passion, desire, innocence and love in all ways, including spiritually, creatively and romantically. The heart is the place where Divinity lives. It doesn’t matter what Divinity means to you or what form Divinity takes—from the most reverent of us to the most atheistic of us—what is personally Divine to us is what gives meaning to our lives and dwells in the holiest place of all—the heart.
This book, this philosophy, this espousal will definitely ruffle some feathers, rattle a few nerves and be considered seditious by those who are uncomfortable with the idea of enjoying living a personally satisfying life. These people were taught and still cling to the limiting, false belief that life is suffering, and that redemption is only possible through pain and loss or by enduring some horrible personal sacrifice, and that our ‘joy’ will come to us only after we die. They slavishly hold onto the fallacy that only an outward form of salvation, i.e., someone else proclaiming their worth/value or bestowing some type of ‘grace’ upon them, gives them and their life any real meaning.
It’s true that life can be painful and difficult at times. Sometimes we do and must endure some type of suffering and we are occasionally called upon to sacrifice something dear to us for the greater good, or worse, for no apparent reason.
But these incidents are not a way of life, a reason for living or proof of any kind that we must live in an unfulfilled manner, and they are not meant to be. They are some of the circumstances that we, as souls who are having a human experience, encounter and must deal with appropriately in the process of evolving and living. They do not define us, our path, our way of engaging with or experiencing life. They do not define us as a people, a species, as souls or as spirit.
That is not Divine or natural intention for us—to endlessly and needlessly suffer and live our lives in denial and pain. We are meant to be happy and the Divine and natural intention for us is to live meaningful, joy-filled, productive lives.
This book is an instruction manual and a road map. Consider reading and working with it a journey home to your true essence. Enjoy the adventure!