What would be the major features of spirituality for the 21st century?

I am particularly interested in spirituality that works individually and collectively (on a larger scale) not only an intellectual model.

Love Ken Wilber’s book “The Future of Religion,” it certainly opened me into looking at religions in general with a more compassionate and deeper | wider willingness to understand. Observing how that understanding translates itself in my present life circumstances is sometimes a surprise. One is the ability to listen to others who are deeply involved in their religious rituals and doctrines with compassion and thoughtfulness…instead of fear of “other.” This is a new response for me. Ken’s book explores bridges of understanding between different interpretations of spirituality that I find most helpful in my personal life as well as how I’m able to respond to others.


Yes, releasing the fear of the other when it comes to spirituality and religion is one of the keys. I just feel that it is time for a global, integral, meta form of spirituality to emerge on this planet. I certainly meet people on daily basis who are in the need for it. Ken’s Religion of Tomorrow offers a lot - I just hope it produces some practical and effective realizations and results.

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Yes I agree that The Religion of Tomorrow doesn’t offer too much in the way of practicality. It’s such a huge question you ask, and I think one that is somewhat contextualized for different settings.

I’ve found a lot of insight from a group out of Harvard Divinity School studying the future of spiritual gatherings. Not sure how integrally informed they are–but some really good examples in their findings of alternative approaches (though perhaps primarily postmodern).



I hear you. My take on that would be that in order for an integral global meta form of spirituality to emerge, with practical and effective realizations and results, religions will have to embrace change. For me it has been to find the common ground of spirituality in myself and others. It starts with us, as a group of integrally minded individuals and how we chose to participate in the world. The transformations I’ve experienced through my willingness to be open to change have certainly made a vast difference in my life and in how I participate with others. A book does not make practical applications; you do, and how you translate that into your life.


Thanks, Luke. I will check it out. Some other folks recommended to me the same group.


Angelika, in my experience, some religious systems are capable of embracing change and some not. The thing is, everything is accelerating, fast is faster, worse is worse and better is better. And we need a spiritual teaching which is aligned with that and which creatively responds to that. That’s why I am hoping for meta spirituality which is highly effective (without spiritual bypassing). Speed is becoming a major criterion (especially in the domain of the collective).


Ananda, using the 4 quadrants as a guide…I am curious how an integral meta form of spirituality looks speeded up…to you?

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Angelika, my feeling is that the major thing that has to happen in spiritual circles is that practitioners dissolve the boundary between spiritual practice and life. And another key is to speed up the process of spiritual growth by upgrading the Dharma. As of the quadrants, we need more effective practices for re-discovering our True Self (I), for connecting with each other on a deeper level (We) and, say, using nature and especially technology for our transformation and awakening (It).

I’m honestly not sure there is a need for a reinventing of the major current religions outside of some of the outright claims about encouraging sacrifice, anit-gay interpretations, killing in the name of ones god (although killing in the name of a obvious better for the whole may be needed, and yes things get dicey here), and a few other I can’t recall (but not much). I think whats lacking is a vulnerability and a internal slowing down of some sort, that allows one to hear and feel the already current religions underlying good/message.


Mu1, I agree about internal slowing down and vulnerability. My concern with religions is that they come with a lot of cultural and historical luggage and a lot or practitioners are not even able to discern between what is a luggage and what not. Also, some other legacies such as science and technology can be used much more for spiritual growth and awakening. The key is including other legacies into spirituality.

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What are the specific way’s you feel or understand science and technology can be used for spiritual growth and awakening? I agree with what you are saying about religion and its luggage, but it may be more realistic/efficient to amend the current structures on a case by case basis from those within. To me it seems formulating a new religion/spiritual text that you want to get out the masses is a gargantuan step (new religions/spirituality to small communities is more realistic I feel), one I could only imagine happening after a catastrophe in which the old models didn’t help the culture/believers through or prevent and as a result people are vulnerable and face to face with death, mortality and perhaps aching at their core for answers. In this space I could see a real 21st century religion being adopted. But what would it look like which was your question to begin with, lol, I’ll have to give that some thought now that my interest is peaked.


Something I’ve thought about is that spirituality is often a part of communities that build monumental structures. Sometimes spiritual communities manage to create something that transcends typical human experience - something that presents people with experiences that encode spiritual wisdom, and fills them with a love for humanity.

Cathedrals and temples have played this role in the past. Perhaps future spiritual communities will commit themselves to centuries long projects to build mega-structures, space colonies, or virtual reality habitats for disembodied nervous systems that can live for phenomenal amounts of time.


Mu1, as practitioner and teacher I used neurofeedback, IAwake Technologies products and virtual reality. Adding a layer of science and technology to my events and retreats was quite a discovery and a positive surprise for me. Practitioners really responded well and reported great results when it comes to spirituality… As of the second part of your question - I just feel that old religions systems need to upgrade and that it is time that we have a global spirituality in global time and age.

Jason, I agree about importance of monumental structures for religious and spiritual life. And I am looking forward to seeing what that may evolve into (virtual reality habitats). However, the key for any honest spiritual system will always be fairly simple: the direct experience of Spirit. That plus structures is a winning combination.

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Not needing a physical master.

How about an AI knowing intgral theory and giving instructions on how best clean up show up wake up grow up?
The AI becomes a holy spirit. Go to this party, talk to this girl, eat this food, etc.


There is a episode of Black Mirror, that is kinda like this. You should watch it on netflix. Episode is called Hang The Dj.

Dear Ananda, your name means bliss or ecstacy doesn’t it? Very cool.

you ask a very good question. We all recognise the potential for integral philosophy to either evolve itself into a new religion or influence existing religions to evolve into less fundamental forms. One thing that existing religions have down is the ritual and spirituality part. Whereas Integral in its current form has the academic philosophy down.

We have so many religions because humankind is so naturally inclined to schism or separate when there are substantial or even slight disagreements. And now we begin to see some uniting and unification groups saying hey were not that different. Lets merge into larger groups. Imagine all religions merging into one. I sound like John Lennon. Revolution.

Seriously as an imterfaith practioner now. Really at least all the Christian churches should merge. Shia and Shiite should merge. All hindu sects could merge. Buddhism isnt classified as a religion. Then if these four merged we’d have one vanilla homogenised religion all singing the same songs, eating the same cake and singing the same Kum-ba-yar. What an absolute catastrophe that would be.

But even if we could get far enough to eradicate cultural violence and corruption, I’d be over the moon.

Short of a second or is it a third coming, we’ll just have to be patient for it to evolve organically. As some of you have said.things are accelerating. There has been so much change in the ladt ten years and the ssme amount of change will occur again in the next 5 years. Technology like this is delivering that speed.

To survive this we each need to go off-line for few hours each week and be alone as well as fellowship with like minded pals and look one another in the eye as we share our life events and thoughts. That to me is a key ingredient of spirituality. At the moment I find that at my local interfaith gathering. My vivid relationships with a handfull of people more than make up for the lower level of traditional ritual pomp and ceremony.

Mt thoughts on Faith of the Future here c. 2016.