Monday, 23 March 2015

Notes Towards an Aspie Spiritual Code

Some time ago, I came to realise that much of the spiritual writings I read are actually not that useful to me. They are, I realised, geared to the needs of NTs, not aspies. Well, no surprise there really. But what, I wondered, would an aspie-centered spiritual code look like?

This is my attempt at it, based on my own experience, and those of a few other spiritually-minded aspies I've talked to or seen the writings of online. Note that I'm not trying to start any arguments here, rather I'm thinking of those autistics who are already spiritually-minded, but aren't sure how to approach their spirituality from an autistic standpoint.

The Divine Power is logical. The Divine Power is many things - Cosmic Intelligence, the silently beating Heart of the Universe, the Force that created, shapes and connects all of the Universe and is immanent in it, the Ultimate Enigma, and much more. What it isn't, is some irritable old man (or old woman) sitting on a throne on a cloud, throwing thunderbolts at anyone who transgresses moral codes a saint couldn't keep to. That defies logic and common sense. We need a logical God.

The true nature of the Divine Power is Love, a love so powerful it is beyond comprehension, totally unconditional, and way, way beyond all the restrictive petty things that often masquerade under the name of "love". We don't have to 'earn' that love, and we won't lose it if we're 'bad' in the eyes of the rest of the world. Of course it's better to behave in certain ways, for our own sake as well as others, but, like a Perfect Parent, the Divine continues to love us no matter what. Even if no-one else does, you are loved by Spirit.

All are Children of the Divine. We are all sons and daughters of the Life-Force. Many aspies have little difficulty with regarding all as inherently equal, due to our lack of ability to see the social distinctions that others insist on. My feeling is we need to build on that, make it a central focus of our spirituality, allowing no prejudice against any other, no matter who or what they are, to enter our hearts and minds.

The Divine doesn't play favourites. It has no bias on the basis of gender, race, sexuality, nationality, religion, sect, etc, etc; and therefore, it follows on, It has no bias on the basis of neurology or able-bodiedness either. The Divine didn't create us as we are, only to judge us and reject us for being exactly that. That also defies logic.

All of us can experience the Divine. No matter what our beliefs, regardless of whether we belong to a formal religion or not, or what name we call the Divine Power, we need to experience It for ourselves. We tend to 'learn by doing', and so mere dogma out of a book, no matter how holy, will almost certainly not suffice. We can build a solid relationship with the Divine through prayer and meditation. In my experience Divine support tends to be either fairly indirect, or not quite in the shape I might expect or think I want, but it does happen.

We need to keep our spirituality simple. Convoluted theological abstractions tend to tie our brain in knots. Especially if we're the visual type of autistic, as we almost certainly can't understand what we can't create a picture of inside our heads. That doesn't mean that we can't develop a moral code, as we can easily imagine concrete examples of behaving morally, and understand and follow rules. Nor does it mean we lack intelligence, just that it's better that we keep our spirituality not too complicated.

Don't hate the world. It's hugely screwed-up, yes, and functions by rules and values that are often not ours. Plus, we're often treated badly by it. But Hate only damages you in turn, and separates you from the Divine. So many in this world are deeply damaged, and have lost their way, and lash out at others as a result. The world is a troubled place, and it needs compassion, but if you can't manage that then work on pity. Or at least indifference.

Don't hate the Divine either, for what people do. Yes, the Divine is immanent in everything and everyone, so we all have a core of Spirit within, whatever we call it - 'Higher Self', 'Christ Consciousness', etc - but some drift a long, long way from that Spirit within, or they deny or suppress it. We all have free will, and unfortunately some people use it to do bad things. If we are a victim of these people, that doesn't mean we've been forgotten by the Divine.

The Divine wants us to protect ourselves. Being spiritual doesn't mean we have to be patsies. Whether we can feel compassion for the world and the screwed-up people in it or not, we do nonetheless have the right to protect ourselves from those who would harm us. Just as we might feel sorry for the tiger in its cage at the zoo, but we wouldn't jump in the cage and try to pat it, "there, there, poor kitty," we have the right to distance ourselves from or eject from our lives any toxic, abusive or unwelcome people. This is an act of self-love, self-respect, and self-nurturing, which the Divine wants for us.

And perhaps most important of all... The Divine Power is Eternal and Unchanging. You know how we aspies dislike change. Even people that love us and that we love can die, or leave us, or fail us in some way. The Divine will not. Ever. Even when we think It has, It's working for us behind the scenes. Remember that tale of the footprints in the sand? It's there for us, forever and ever, amen. I think that's pretty cool.

So there you go. Maybe this works for you, maybe it doesn't. I'd like to know, either way. And maybe you can improve on this, write something better. I hope so. I would never think that I have the last word on anything, so I'm open to new ideas.

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