Dr. Applebaum, who is Jewish, wanted to know what I meant by the term spiritual. Not spiritual in a religious sense, I replied, since spirituality often has a religious connotation. Look up the word in a dictionary and the second definition is "relating to religion or religious belief." My perfect chick, if she exists, need not follow a particular religion, espouse a creed or worship a deity. She doesn't even have to meditate or pray or read Tolle or decorate her house with Buddha statues like my older brother, Jay, an atheist.
After this protracted process of elimination rendered out loud for the benefit of my inquisitive interlocutor, who was still nonplussed, I recited the number one definition of the term du jour: "To me the spiritually-minded person is more concerned with her spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things." I looked around us and said, "She has to believe that something more than this," and here I gestured to the trees and the street and the nice houses and luxury cars, "something more than this exists." And that's not easy to find in Los Angeles, which you've probably heard has been called the city of lost angels.
Dr. Applebaum - or David as he lets me call him - agreed. He started to suggest something, but I could see where his mind was headed and cut him off at the pass by saying: "As for other criteria, she cannot be a 50-year old divorcee with three kids." Which would exactly describe the daughter David is always trying to set me up with, though I'm not naming any names. But only because I don't know his daughter's name.
And just what is the spirit or soul? It is consciousness. It underlies the material realm, it is the substrate of the phenomenal world. It is the currency through which daily life is experienced. It is the canvass on which the cosmic drama unfolds. It is the delightful feeling which proclaims in an eternal present, "I AM!" And nothing can happen without you here to experience it.
This is self-evident, but so often a person gets so lost in the trappings of big city life that little heed is given to her eternal nature. Which is fine to a point. It's nice if a girl identifies with her body enough to take it to the gym now and then and do some deep knee bends, which are great for the haunches. And I'm a butt man. Nice also if our lady treats her body as a temple and gives it nutritious food, adequate beauty sleep, the occasional conditioning treatment and also uses a decent exfoliant. And don't forget to floss. Man may not live on bread alone, but you can't have sex with a spirit. And sex sure feels nice.
I didn't go to such lengths there on the street corner with my doctor friend, which is why I'm doing it now, for the greater good. Because too often belief in a spirit or soul means belief that if you perform good works you will reap rewards in heaven, or be reborn to affluent parents, with a nice butt. And this is a brand of spirituality I for one have no interest in, believing neither in some extended afterlife nor in reincarnation. Individuality is a myth! But I do believe in consciousness. How could you not, when it is with us all the time. We've already covered this, but it merits reiteration, a fitting alliteration - almost. (It's actually an assonance.)
"Philosophy can do little to establish God's existence," as William James, himself a philosopher, once said. But you can attest to your own existence, and that's something! Ask a person who believes in God what she means by the term and without even knowing it she is almost sure to mention some of the very characteristics used by James. God is necessary, she will say. And absolute. He is one and only. Spiritual, immutable. Immense. Boundless. Willful. Intelligent. Eternal. All-knowing. All-powerful. Ever-present. And if you ask a girl, she may say of God, "He is not a he but, by golly, a she!"
Let's focus on two of the characteristics of God. God's unchanging quality, and his or her omnipresence. When you examine your own life and ask yourself, "What is with me wherever I go, all the time, and from my earliest memories up till the present has never changed?," your answer will come almost as fast as mine about my dream girl: "That's easy," you will say. "It's me."
Which is not to say that I'm my dream mate. But I am omnipresent. Wherever I go, whether waking or asleep, I am always here now. And at my core, as consciousness, I am always the same. So there you have it. We meet our mutually agreed upon definition of God. Did I also mention that my ideal mate usually agrees with me? And she also believes that she is more than her body, more than her thoughts, more than any role she may play at any time in her life. For she knows that she is Life Itself. She knows that she is consciousness, that this consciousness is divine. And that a great way of combining hers with mine is for us to have sex right now. Because I'm with James who said God's purpose in creating is LOVE, and by golly it's been a long ass time.