Greetings.   If   you’re   reading   this,   you   may   be   on   a   sincere   spiritual   search,   wondering   about   a path    that    is    right    for    you.    Briefly,    the    9-point    system    is    a    way    of    enhancing    a    person’s spirituality    in    up    to    nine    different    ways,    by    fine-tuning    things    to    fit    one’s    individual dispositions    and    interests.    This    can    involve    any    number    or    combination    of    established religious    traditions,    or    none    of    them.    Religious    training    is    not    necessary    to    follow    one’s spirituality,   because   the   basic   deep   forms   of   all   spiritual   practices   are   universal.   This   means that   they   are   the   same   for   all   the   religions.   In   other   words,   you   don’t   need   to   follow   this   or   that religion in order to learn these practices. THEISM AND ATHEISM A crucial thing to understand about all the major spiritual traditions is that they have both personal and impersonal aspects of God developed in their philosophies. For some, the personal aspect of God is important, since that is what renders God human and relatable.  For others, the impersonal aspect of God is important, because it allows them to relate to God agnostically, or even atheistically. Such seekers prefer terms like “the one,“ the absolute,” “great void,” or “cosmic mystery.”  Again,   by   spirituality   I   mean   the   more   profound   aspects   of   religion   which   all   religions   share.   A person   who   follows   one   of   the   faiths   may   have   the   same   level   of   deep   spirituality   we   are talking   about.   Many   devotees   in   the   religions,   however,   prefer   a   more   superficial   spirituality connected   with   “the   basics”   of   their   faith.   That’s   fine   for   them.   Others   feel   compelled   to   go deeper.   This   deeper   aspect   of   spirituality   may   or   may   not   involve   the   personal   aspect   of   God usually   associated   with   orthodox   religion.   What   this   means   is   that   agnostics   and   atheists   can also pursue a spirituality, even if they don’t know where it will take them.   SPIRITUAL DISSATISFACTION, TRANSITION AND CHANGE If   you’ve   had   any   involvement   with   the   religions,   you   may   have   experienced   years   of   spiritual satisfaction,    only    to    become    disenchanted    later    for    personal    reasons,    domestic    reasons, doctrinal   reasons,   reasons   relating   to   that   faith   community   specifically,   or   even   issues   relating to the faith as a whole and its involvements in world affairs.  You    may    also    be    dissatisfied    with    your    efforts    in    various    secular    realms    of    seeking.    Your initiatives   in   self-help,   types   of   therapy   and   healing,   personal   enrichment,   career   training   and the   like,   may   all   have   left   you   at   loose   ends.   Working   on   personal   issues   may   be   fruitful,   but   it often    does    not    address    deeper    spiritual    questions.    You    may    still    experience    a    sense    that “something is missing.” EVERYONE IS THE SAME You   may   have   achieved   a   very   important   understanding   in   your   seeking.   All   human   beings   are after    the    same    kind    of    greatest    happiness,    the    same    personal    fulfillment    of    the    most wholesome   and   meaningful   kind.   This   is   true   whether   they   are   into   religious   seeking,   secular seeking,   or   just   trying   to   handle   ordinary   life   as   best   they   can.   Each   of   those   situations   is appropriate   for   different   people.   To   understand   the   9-Point   System,   however,   we   must   talk   a little   more   about   religion,   because   most   of   us   associate   spirituality   primarily   with   religion,   and also because people enact their spirituality most elaborately in the religions. INTERNAL DIMENSIONS OF RELIGION On    the    outside,    the    major    religions    are    cultural    systems,    with    various    social    and    political involvements.   These   external   dramas   have   nothing   to   do   with   what   I   call   the   nine   points,   or internal   dimensions   of   religion.   Again,   these   fall   within   the   realm   of   spirituality,   because   all   the faiths   have   them.   This   means   that   each   of   these   dimensions   has   a   more   profound   aspect,   which our   language   and   culture   cannot   help   us   to   understand.   Finally,   almost   all   of   these   internal dimensions   occur   in   a   person’s   life   anyway,   even   if   they’ve   never   been   involved   with   any religion. These    internal    consistencies    are    the    same    regardless    of    the    cultural,    linguistic    and    even psychological   contexts   of   the   seeker’s   religious   or   personal   background.   The   inner   feelings surrounding   these   nine   dimensions   are   what   is   responsible   for   the   actual   spirituality   a   devotee experiences. SMOTHERED EXPRESSIONS    As   human   beings,   we   are   embodied   creatures   naturally   conditioned   by   our   society’s   culture, and   this   need   not   conflict   with   good   spiritual   development.   More   often   that   not,   however,   this ideal   development   is   smothered,   or   covered   over,   by   two   different   conditionings.   First   is   the fact   that   religion   is   usually   corporate,   meant   for   a   large   group,   which   inevitably   confines   and misdirects   the   individual’s   expression   of   it,   if   only   slightly.   Second   is   the   secular   society’s inherent   disrespect   of,   and   frequent   opposition   to,   religion,   often   inhibiting   any   expression   of spiritual   feelings   and   sentiments.   This   second   aspect   often   manifests   from   our   loved   ones,   as well as from the larger culture. In   both   cases,   a   “herd   mentality”   often   takes   over   which   further   inures   the   individual   against his   or   her   ideal   spiritual   path   and   expression.   As   a   result,   there   is   frequently   a   “drying   up”   of inner   experience.   In   seeking   a   spiritual   life,   we   therefore   often   find   ourselves   in   surroundings that don’t really suit us. THE NINE POINTS The nine dimensions of that all the faiths have in common are: --Ritual and Sacred Space --Listening and Study --Prayer and Contemplation --Song and Chant --Movement and Rhythm --Ceremony and celebration --Service and Charity --Socializing and Fellowship --Meditation and other mystical practices Again,    these    nine    things    are    the    same    for    all    human    beings    insofar    as    they    exist    as    pure concepts. We express most of them already anyway, whether we know it or not. This   is   key   to   understanding   the   9-Point   System.   As   you   think   about   this,   please   make   a   careful distinction   between   the   concept   of   (for   example)   ritual,   and   any   given   example   of   a   ritual. Close   your   eyes   for   a   moment,   and   you   can   visualize   or   imagine   various   examples   of   rituals, but ritual itself you cannot visualize. But it is there. The concept is inside you. YOUR PATH EXPRESSED IN YOUR LIFE To   repeat,   each   of   these   dimensions   has   a   deeper   dimension   within   us   as   pure   concepts, underneath   language   and   culture   and   deeper   than   our   usual   thinking   process.   Again,   this means   that   the   physical   expressions   of   these   things   is   not   only   unique   to   each   of   us,   but   can take   place   outside   religious   settings.   We   don’t   need   to   be   in   a   church,   synagogue,   mosque   or temple   in   order   to   do   most   of   them,   because   we   do   them   anyway,   although   usually   without knowing it. If    this    piques    your    curiosity    about    the    9-Point    System,    I    can    work    with    you    to    better understand   these   “9   points.”   You’ll   see   how   they   are   already   occurring   in   your   life,   and   learn specific   things   you   can   do   to   tweak   or   modify   your   life   routines   to   enhance   your   spirituality. We   will   map   out   an   individualized   regimen,   or   system   of   practices,   for   you   to   pursue   in   all areas   of   your   life.   This   regimen   may   or   may   not   be   rigorous,   formal,   difficult,   or   challenging.   It’s up   to   you—the   seeker   that   we   shall   discover   together   in   our   sessions,   if   we   work   together. Everyone   is   different;   no   two   paths   to   God,   to   greater   fulfillment   and   happiness,   are   quite   the same.

David Low MS, PhD
If   you   are   curious   about spirituality   and   want   to develop   yours   more,   my Nine-Point     System     can help.    The    “nine    points” are 1) Prayer/contemplation  2) Study/ listening 3) Ritual/sacred space 4) Song/chant 5) Movement/rhythm 6) Celebration/ceremony 7) Service/charity 8) Socializing/ fellowship 9) Meditation/mystical practices    These   nine   aspects   are   inherent   human activities   and   independent   of   any   religion. You    are    already    doing    them,    although perhaps only in a subtle way. A   particular   combination   of   these   can   be “customized”    with    influences    from    any number   of   faiths—or   none.   Allow   me   to help   you   more   consciously   and   powerfully pursue your unique path to fulfillment.