There are moments in life that make you feel a part of something larger than yourself. Moments that make you feel connected to nature, humanity, the universe, moments that take you outside of yourself. I have felt those moments many times, when lying on the beach staring out across the ocean, jogging in the mountains, just staring up at the heavens, listening to music, viewing an amazing piece of art, having amazing sex, helping someone in need and feeling their sincere gratitude, performing in front of an appreciative crowd, falling in love, watching the birth of a child. These moments have filled me with awe and wonder and joy. My endorphins flowed freely and dopamine flooded my bloodstream causing an immediate sense of euphoria. Some call this euphoric feeling a "spiritual" moment. I'm not so easily deluded. I recognize it as the chemical reaction it is and nothing more.
Others have achieved similar "spiritual" moments by using natural or even man-made chemicals to stimulate or simulate the production of dopamine in the human body. People who consumed hallucinogenic mushrooms believed to be experiencing spiritual moments. Some Native American tribes used peyote. Many people have used opium or LSD. These chemicals all created physical not spiritual reactions, namely intoxication. Moments and experiences of overwhelming beauty can often be as intoxicating as a hit of cocaine but that is not to suggest that they are anymore "spiritual" than snorting coke off a hooker's ass.
There are many people, including many atheists, who claim to be non-religious but to still consider themselves "spiritual". Sam Harris, author of "Letter to A Christian Nation", claims to be a spiritual atheist. But what does that even mean? Does it mean that they believe in the mind/ body duality? That there is a consciousness independent of the physical body that transcends the physical and may even survive its demise? If so then these spiritual individuals are as self-deluded as Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientologists, Mormons, Hindus, snake worshippers, New Age spiritualists, occultists, etc. They are just as in denial of reality. They are just as much victims of their own fears and desires.
If mind and body are one then the entire notion of spirituality is false. Spirituality is just a work-safe term for sensuality. You are having sensual experiences not spiritual ones. That "spiritual" feeling you get when looking out over the Grand Canyon or at the pyramids or The Sistine Chapel is sensory and mental overload also known as awe. That transcendent "spiritual" feeling you get when falling into or making love is just the body releasing dopamine into your bloodstream. It's the same rush of dopamine you get when you use cocaine or amphetamines. You're high not spiritual! It's the same thing that happens when listening to your favorite band or singer or musician. It's the same thing that you feel while walking through the art museum and viewing the works of the masters.
Extreme physical exertion or pain can also cause the release of endorphins. Runner's high is a prime example of this. When I was fighting I felt no pain during the fight because I was high on endorphins. It's the same thing masochists feel when being whipped and paddled, cut and pierced. It's the same thing yogis and monks feel when they pierce and flog themselves or when they display feats of extreme strength and endurance. They are the same chemicals that Zen monks who can take a punch to the gut or throat without flinching or walk on hot coals or hang weights from their nuts experience. They are called endorphins folks! They feel damn good but there's nothing mystical about them. So stop all this nonsense about spirituality and admit that you eat poison mushrooms and suspend yourself from hooks because that dopamine feels damn good not because it brings you closer to God. There are even endorphins that are released during meditation and prayer, the same ones released when you relax in your favorite chair with a cold drink on a hot day. Ancient Indian meditation rituals, Kama Sutra and Tantric rituals for instance, often involved sex because of the obvious endorphin rush and that flood of dopamine you get when properly stimulated. Just like love, it causes a state of euphoria. I should know because I was once addicted to that particular rush.
All those things that people do to create a spiritual experience are all just attempts to get the brain to produce dopamine. You meditate or do Yoga or hike in the woods. I had sex. Others smoke meth, snort Coke, or take LSD. You're not fucking spiritual. You're just an endorphin junkie.