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Taking a break from spirituality: dangerous?

an anarchist

Your local anarchist.
Sometimes I consider taking a break from all things religion and spiritual. Like, completely. Just stop all of my study and do my best to focus on other things in my life. If I were to do this, would I be setting myself up for failure?
Suppose you want to get real muscular. So you go to the gym regularly. You work off all of your fat but aren’t muscular yet. If you were to take an extended break at that point, it would be completely detrimental to the goal. Persistence and dedication is key.
I suppose spirituality is something like that. You build up you wisdom and strengthen your soul through it. But you lose progress if you take a break and allow yourself to start becoming attached to the material world once again.
So, this is a question for everyone. Is taking a break from spirituality dangerous or at the very least foolish? Must I remain persistent and not tire? I’ve pretty much been on a break for this whole year. No mediating or nothing. I feel weaker because of it, my mind is always restless and racing, and I have no inner peace. I had inner peace when I was well devoted to my spiritual practice.
 

JustGeorge

Not As Much Fun As I Look
Staff member
Premium Member
Sometimes I consider taking a break from all things religion and spiritual. Like, completely. Just stop all of my study and do my best to focus on other things in my life. If I were to do this, would I be setting myself up for failure?
Suppose you want to get real muscular. So you go to the gym regularly. You work off all of your fat but aren’t muscular yet. If you were to take an extended break at that point, it would be completely detrimental to the goal. Persistence and dedication is key.
I suppose spirituality is something like that. You build up you wisdom and strengthen your soul through it. But you lose progress if you take a break and allow yourself to start becoming attached to the material world once again.
So, this is a question for everyone. Is taking a break from spirituality dangerous or at the very least foolish? Must I remain persistent and not tire? I’ve pretty much been on a break for this whole year. No mediating or nothing. I feel weaker because of it, my mind is always restless and racing, and I have no inner peace. I had inner peace when I was well devoted to my spiritual practice.

I don't like this word, dangerous. It suggests to me, when used in this context, that one is acting from compulsion or fear, and these are just not good states in which to act from.

One thing I stop and ask myself frequently while on my spiritual path is why am I doing this? If I am doing a certain act out of compulsion, I stop. If I'm doing it because I enjoy the benefits, believe strongly in the action, enjoy it, or am learning from it, I continue.

You say you're not feeling at your best after taking a break from spirituality. Now might be time to question deeper. Why do you think this is? If you go back to it, how will that look for you? Why did you stop initially?
 

Brickjectivity

Turned to Stone. Now I stretch daily.
Staff member
Premium Member
If I were to do this, would I be setting myself up for failure?
Meditation? From what I have heard this skill does tend to rust when you are not practicing. I can definitely say that for something like Arithmetic and Maths that practice is required to retain speed and accuracy. Its probably the same for other meditative skills (such as juggling). Meditation for awareness probably is the same.
 

an anarchist

Your local anarchist.
You say you're not feeling at your best after taking a break from spirituality. Now might be time to question deeper. Why do you think this is? If you go back to it, how will that look for you? Why did you stop initially?
I think I feel worse off without it because the soul is really real. The soul is the key to peace, and I neglect it.
Going back to the spiritual life would look like this for me. I’d put away my Xbox, bust out my books, and begi my study. Do Tai Chi and meditate every day, as well as pray. Unfortunately I have no one to pray to at the moment.
I suppose this is what derailed my spirituality. Losing Jesus Christ as my God disheartened me. Gots to go to work now but I’ll respond more tonight probably.
 

Sand Dancer

Crazy Cat Lady
Sometimes I consider taking a break from all things religion and spiritual. Like, completely. Just stop all of my study and do my best to focus on other things in my life. If I were to do this, would I be setting myself up for failure?
Suppose you want to get real muscular. So you go to the gym regularly. You work off all of your fat but aren’t muscular yet. If you were to take an extended break at that point, it would be completely detrimental to the goal. Persistence and dedication is key.
I suppose spirituality is something like that. You build up you wisdom and strengthen your soul through it. But you lose progress if you take a break and allow yourself to start becoming attached to the material world once again.
So, this is a question for everyone. Is taking a break from spirituality dangerous or at the very least foolish? Must I remain persistent and not tire? I’ve pretty much been on a break for this whole year. No mediating or nothing. I feel weaker because of it, my mind is always restless and racing, and I have no inner peace. I had inner peace when I was well devoted to my spiritual practice.

It depends on where you are at with your spirituality. I feel the same way and I am tired of trying so hard but not making any definitive decisions. A break would be welcome. It doesn't sound like a quick discussion, so feel free to open up and we can try to help.
 

JustGeorge

Not As Much Fun As I Look
Staff member
Premium Member
I think I feel worse off without it because the soul is really real. The soul is the key to peace, and I neglect it.
Going back to the spiritual life would look like this for me. I’d put away my Xbox, bust out my books, and begi my study. Do Tai Chi and meditate every day, as well as pray. Unfortunately I have no one to pray to at the moment.
I suppose this is what derailed my spirituality. Losing Jesus Christ as my God disheartened me. Gots to go to work now but I’ll respond more tonight probably.

I like your plans. :)

If you feel ready again, perhaps starting up and recording how things go might be beneficial. That way you can catch anything that's amiss, and address it head on.

You don't need to address prayers to anyone, really. One of my very favorite 'prayers' is a chant we used to do at an old Buddhist Path group; the 5 Remembrances:
  1. I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.
  2. I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape having ill health.
  3. I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.
  4. All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.
  5. My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

There was also the Metta Sutta that I liked alot...

Karaniya Metta Sutta: The Buddha's Words on Loving-Kindness

I'm sure with a bit of searching, you can find something that fits. :)
 

SalixIncendium

अग्निविलोवनन्दः
Staff member
Premium Member
Sometimes I consider taking a break from all things religion and spiritual. Like, completely. Just stop all of my study and do my best to focus on other things in my life. If I were to do this, would I be setting myself up for failure?
Suppose you want to get real muscular. So you go to the gym regularly. You work off all of your fat but aren’t muscular yet. If you were to take an extended break at that point, it would be completely detrimental to the goal. Persistence and dedication is key.
I suppose spirituality is something like that. You build up you wisdom and strengthen your soul through it. But you lose progress if you take a break and allow yourself to start becoming attached to the material world once again.
So, this is a question for everyone. Is taking a break from spirituality dangerous or at the very least foolish? Must I remain persistent and not tire? I’ve pretty much been on a break for this whole year. No mediating or nothing. I feel weaker because of it, my mind is always restless and racing, and I have no inner peace. I had inner peace when I was well devoted to my spiritual practice.

I guess my first question would be this: if you felt the benefits of your spiritual practice and understand that after a break, you feel negative consequences, why would you consider staying on break?
 

HonestJoe

Well-Known Member
So, this is a question for everyone. Is taking a break from spirituality dangerous or at the very least foolish? Must I remain persistent and not tire? I’ve pretty much been on a break for this whole year. No mediating or nothing. I feel weaker because of it, my mind is always restless and racing, and I have no inner peace. I had inner peace when I was well devoted to my spiritual practice.
Why are you treating "spirituality" as a singular all-or-nothing thing? Presumably you took this break for a reason but you're missing some aspects. Why not return to the aspects you're missing (like mediation) without also returning to whichever aspects led to your break in the first place?
 

Alien826

No religious beliefs
From my time in Buddhism ...

Enlightenment is not something that you get by working hard at something. It's not something you "learn" by study. It is the absence of these things, and the more you "try" the more it recedes. The various practices are simply to occupy the mind while it slowly calms down, and are not an end in themselves. I used to meditate by concentrating on my breathing. Does that make breath control somehow holy? No, it's deliberately meaningless. It gives the busy busy brain something to do.

If the OP is missing spiritual practice, then I suspect he is simply missing "busyness". The brain wants to be busy all the time. We have to gently lead it to a quiet place that is only recognized when we get there. And obsessing over being busy is just another form of busyness, by the way.

Deep inside us is a deep well of calm, characterized by contentment and love for all beings. We experience it not by chasing after it, but by letting go. The greatest surprise is that finding it was not a journey because we were there all along, we just didn't realize it.
 

Truth in love

Well-Known Member
Sometimes I consider taking a break from all things religion and spiritual. Like, completely. Just stop all of my study and do my best to focus on other things in my life. If I were to do this, would I be setting myself up for failure?
Suppose you want to get real muscular. So you go to the gym regularly. You work off all of your fat but aren’t muscular yet. If you were to take an extended break at that point, it would be completely detrimental to the goal. Persistence and dedication is key.
I suppose spirituality is something like that. You build up you wisdom and strengthen your soul through it. But you lose progress if you take a break and allow yourself to start becoming attached to the material world once again.
So, this is a question for everyone. Is taking a break from spirituality dangerous or at the very least foolish? Must I remain persistent and not tire? I’ve pretty much been on a break for this whole year. No mediating or nothing. I feel weaker because of it, my mind is always restless and racing, and I have no inner peace. I had inner peace when I was well devoted to my spiritual practice.
I find any king break from food and water to be very unhelpful to me.

I don’t see spiritual things differently.


Now a new diet plan might be useful.
 

Sgt. Pepper

Well-Known Member
I was emotionally scarred when I was a Christian, so taking a break from spirituality after I renounced my belief and faith in God was exactly what I needed to begin recovering from the trauma I experienced and heal emotionally. Being a Christian was an absolute terrible experience for me, and I never want to be one again. I suffered from debilitating depression and anxiety during the thirty years I was a Christian. I began to abhor Christianity and religion in general shortly after I renounced my Christian faith, so the last thing I wanted to do at that time was to follow a new religion. As a matter of fact, I didn't become interested in Wicca until weeks after I joined this site, which was a few months after I renounced my Christian faith. Since I've been interested in Wicca and polytheism, I haven't rushed into devoutly following new gods or goddesses. I've kept my new spiritual beliefs at arm's length and I've been very cautious about becoming overly devout like I did when I was a Christian. I have no desire to be a part of a Wiccan community, either online or in real life. Being a Christian left me depressed and emotionally traumatized, so now I'm very wary of making an emotional commitment to Wicca and to a new Wiccan community. I'm perfectly content to just learn about its beliefs and keep them at bay.
 
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Sedim Haba

Outa here... bye-bye!
Sometimes I consider taking a break from all things religion and spiritual. Like, completely. Just stop all of my study and do my best to focus on other things in my life. If I were to do this, would I be setting myself up for failure?
Suppose you want to get real muscular. So you go to the gym regularly. You work off all of your fat but aren’t muscular yet. If you were to take an extended break at that point, it would be completely detrimental to the goal. Persistence and dedication is key.
I suppose spirituality is something like that. You build up you wisdom and strengthen your soul through it. But you lose progress if you take a break and allow yourself to start becoming attached to the material world once again.
So, this is a question for everyone. Is taking a break from spirituality dangerous or at the very least foolish? Must I remain persistent and not tire? I’ve pretty much been on a break for this whole year. No mediating or nothing. I feel weaker because of it, my mind is always restless and racing, and I have no inner peace. I had inner peace when I was well devoted to my spiritual practice.

Extreme measures are rarely effective. Instead of breaking from "all things religion and spiritual"
maybe a re-evaluation and re-focus is in order. See what has value and what has not.
Separate the wheat from the chaff and keep what is positive but dump the waste.

I've done this fairly recently, and it's been liberating. Dumped a LOT of hateful toxic garbage.
 

stvdv

Veteran Member: I Share (not Debate) my POV
So, this is a question for everyone. Is taking a break from spirituality dangerous or at the very least foolish?
I went to my Master and got a ticket home after 1 years and 11 month.

Just before leaving He came into my dream and said "Don't go, you will regret for many years". This sounded like trouble was waiting for me, hence I extended 1 year (2 year and 11 month total).

Just before leaving He came into my dream again and said "your desire to go, not my Plan". This sounded not too scary, hence I decided to leave (was not easy this long stay).

Next year I returned to my Guru, and the first thing He told me was "If you come to your Guru (Master) you should stay 3 years".

Oops, I just left 1 month too soon. Hence I decided to do it all over for 3.5 years, just to be sure

So, definitely "timing is essential" if you study with a Guru (even if you study in highschool, you better don't take 12 month breaks before passing exams, right?)
 

Aupmanyav

Be your own guru
Is taking a break from spirituality dangerous or at the very least foolish? Must I remain persistent and not tire? I feel weaker because of it, my mind is always restless and racing, and I have no inner peace. I had inner peace when I was well devoted to my spiritual practice.
I don't think so. Even if you take a break from spirituality, what you have learnt will not go away and will continue to help in your life. If you feel weaker, then, by all means, make the return journey. Once you attain the knowledge, you will be at peace irrespective of whether you are further into spirituality or not.
 

an anarchist

Your local anarchist.
I guess my first question would be this: if you felt the benefits of your spiritual practice and understand that after a break, you feel negative consequences, why would you consider staying on break?
Probably because it's work. It's much easier to just roll over and give up. A body at rest tends to stay at rest, right? But that's not a good reason.
To be honest, my mild depression doesn't help, but my medicine feels like it's finally working at fuller capacity as they increase my dosage. So I'm finding it easier to read more. Though I haven't done anything more than that. The way to snap out of it though is spiritual practice, this I know. At least for me.
Perhaps I was curious if anyone, like formerly spiritual people, have found that detaching from practice did them good. I'm open minded to everyone's thoughts.
 

an anarchist

Your local anarchist.
I like your plans. :)

If you feel ready again, perhaps starting up and recording how things go might be beneficial. That way you can catch anything that's amiss, and address it head on.

You don't need to address prayers to anyone, really. One of my very favorite 'prayers' is a chant we used to do at an old Buddhist Path group; the 5 Remembrances:


There was also the Metta Sutta that I liked alot...

Karaniya Metta Sutta: The Buddha's Words on Loving-Kindness

I'm sure with a bit of searching, you can find something that fits. :)
Thanks, I appreciate the meditations. I don't think I'd like to start with what I was meditating. I'd meditate the first chapter of the Tibetan Book of the Dead and open up three chakras with the help of my Buddha, who was the Holy Trinity at the time. I'd like to work up to that as I discover who is my Buddha. Perhaps it could be Buddha himself.
 
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