One place to look for spiritual practices defined as
an individual practice, and has to do with (i) understanding the purpose of life, vis-à-vis the Concept of God and (ii) having a sense of peace.
would be Rupert Sheldrake's Science and Spiritual Practices. Sheldrake provides a survey of spiritual practices and a scientific justification for their value.
Aldous Huxley provides a collection of quotes from various sources illustrating the Perennial Philosophy. Some of these sources are Western. (page 1)
PHILOSOPHIA PERENNIS - the phrase was coined by Leibniz; but the thing - the metaphysic
that recognizes a divine Reality substantial to the world of things and lives and
minds; the psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical with, divine Reality; the ethic that places man's final end in the knowledge of the immanent and transcendent Ground of all being - the thing is immemorial and universal.
These views would coincide with those of Ramana Maharshi. Wikipedia says that he:
recommended self-enquiry as the principal means to remove ignorance and abide in Self-awareness,[web 2] together with bhakti (devotion) or surrender to the Self.
There are two ways to criticize this spirituality without completely rejecting its value.
- C. S. Lewis, a Christian writer, would view this spirituality as (page 100)
congenial to our minds not because it is the final stage in a slow process of enlightenment, but because it is almost as old as we are.
Lewis wants more from spirituality . He not only wants "what man says about God, but what God does about man" (page 101). This doing involves historical involvement made evident through miracles. If the spirituality does not allow for such doings, such miracles, then Lewis would consider it a primitive form of what he calls "Pantheism".
- An atheistic or naturalistic criticism of this spirituality might be that it is delusional regardless of any health benefits, or other benefits that Sheldrake mentions, that might accrue to those engaging in these practices.
One might assume that this spirituality in the West is as strong as it is in the India. In the West there are also two criticisms of it coming from Judeo-Christianity and atheistic naturalism.
Lewis, C. S. (1947). Miracles; a preliminary study. Retrieved on June 3, 2019 from Internet Archive.
Huxley, A. (1947). The perennial philosophy. Chatto and Windus, London. Retrieved on June 3, 2019 from Internet Archive at https://archive.org/details/perennialphilosp035505mbp/page/n11