This is a tough question to ask, and a tough question to answer. The thing about having deeply held beliefs is that when they change, a worldview changes with it. Nobody starts and ends in the same place, and everyone ends up having to find what works for them. Some people – even some atheists – end up embracing some sort of beliefs that entail spirituality. I am unable to afford such a luxury; discipline with regards to my therapy and mental health is essential to my survival.
I understand why some people pick spirituality or a sense of it, though.
Look at the world in a particular way, and aspects of it will always remain. There is a comfort to be had in believing things will just work out, or that there is some sort of mystery which requires that we treat others with dignity and decorum. To be sure, this even happens to religious folks – people switch sub-branches of a main religion quite frequently in free societies.
I’ve met and talked with people who replace spirituality with something else, like a broad focus on a specific purpose or cause. Sometimes it’s promoting an ideal, or maybe it could be adhering to a specific new set of rules for one’s life. It might not be rooted in mysticism, but it’s held with a similar deference.
Whatever the reason, it serves a purpose for people. If nothing else, it’s an answer to the question of what one believes. Others can take it or leave it, and they can find solace in whatever construct they create for themselves. In a sense, I’m talking about people dealing with the thing Nietzsche referred to as a post-nihilistic pessimism. After someone has destroyed an old belief, there comes a period of time where things don’t seem as vibrant as they were.
After losing spirituality, my focus has often turned to finding stronger connections with people.
From my perspective, positively impacting other lives is what my life will amount to. It’s something I can’t even take from myself, despite the times when I very much would like to do so. Regardless of the level of improvement, I can choose every day to add to the human experience.
There are times when it doesn’t work, and it probably disappoints me more than it ought to. Sometimes things just get in the way in life. Whenever this happens, I tend to feel listless and pessimistic again. Naturally, it doesn’t help that my mind is predisposed to that.
The most unhealthy thing I do is remain oblivious to helping myself. Despite years of therapy and medications, I still have not gotten around a permanent barrier to improving my well-being. A lot of this has to do with anxiety and the fear it spawns. Terror grips me at times where most people can function without batting an eyelash. In turn, this makes me feel like I’ve made no progress. In reality, I have actually made much progress.
I’ve just been crawling out of a very deep hole.