David Bryce Yaden is a scientific researcher who studies the psychology and neuroscience of spiritual experiences; he prepared this essay for Huffingtonpost.com. Here are the four developments he sees on the horizon:
"The spirituality of the future will be more scientifically knowledgeable and more humble about our answers to life's biggest questions."
We are glad to see that spiritual seekers of all stripes seem to have a positive view of the benefits that can accrue from cooperative efforts between science and spirituality. We have always considered the spiritual practice of X-The Mystery as one of the most important in the Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy. In the face of the future, humbly acknowledging mystery is very wise indeed.
"The spirituality of the future will be selective in its use of technology by using what enhances spiritual practice and by mindfully avoiding overuse."
Given all the technological tools that are being created to enhance our lives, there is reason for gratitude to the Most High for all these gifts. On the other hand, there is also the need for spiritual people to speak out against the ways in which many people are allowing these tools to dominate their lives and to take them away direct interaction with others.
"The spirituality of the future will make spiritual experiences more accessible and place more emphasis on serving others."
Spiritual folk within all the religions are realizing that contemplation and action belong together; that leaving the meditation cushion to serve others is the right thing to do; and serving others is at the heart of spirituality.
"The spirituality of the future will be more socially inclusive and will foster more respect for the differences between us."
Pluralism and its philosophy of "live and let live" will replace the old "hegemony" view in which a single belief system (usually mine) dominates everything. Respect for other spiritual paths will result in fresh collaborative projects as people make the most of caring and sharing together.