We do not have an appropriate English word. Spiritual has a religious connotation. Geist is the German word but without religion connotation.
Paul MacLean came up with the triune brain, I did think we actually have a quadratic function, a physical interface primitive, an old automatic emotional portion, a rational part and a geist part where we do not question the stored automatic beliefs. But now perhaps, the geist part, being automatic may just be part of emotional part. The emotional part is more consistent and powerful than the logical/rational part, hence when these are in conflict, the emotional/geist part will always win in the long run. That explains a lot of why diets (rational logical) work in the short run and fail in the long run.
Now what is geist part of the brain all about for a "god does not exist" atheist? (I need to put it that way for there are also "I do not believe in god" atheists.) We do thing automatically that has been encoded into our personality and/or genetic/epigenetic makeup. There is no agreement on where these behaviors are encoded. It is in the automatic unreasoned part, and that causes the problem.
We do not want to overeat, yet all day we are bombarded with eat eat messages in the media. Marketing works, and it is relentless. We are human, and therefore are generally cooperative with requests for a behavior, especially when we enjoy those behaviors. This cooperation and hedonic satisfaction drives resides in the emotional/automatic portions, which are stronger and more persistent than the logical/ration signal. There is the problem, as long as we are subjected to the emotional/automatic messages, we will suffer from overeating, and/or the urge to overeat. How about if we were able to move the "do not overeat" rule to the automatic/emotional portion of the brain and thereby increase the resistance? How does one do this? It it even practical? Is this what groups like Tops do with support, or just increase our investment?
The story hypothesis is a natural human response to wanting to know the why of events. We sapiens would rather have a likely wrong story that no story. Explanations in the form of hypothesis stories were told to us as children; we accepted them, and as we got older and tried to question them, were noted many adults claimed to believe these fanatic stories. Some gave up questioning and believed, others of us called bullshit under our breath, and carried on without ever getting logical answers. But is there something there in reality? The answer is found in the doing. It is easier to stay motivated in emotional belief than in knowledge driven reality. That is the difference; belief vs knowledge, and reason is the weaker force until we realize that motivation can come from truth as well. When rationally, there is no need of doing anything, there is still a need to do something so that we can be in the flow. Activity for no other reason than activity is valuable. That is not rationally obvious to some of us.
So where is this going? We atheists may need to create unquestioned emotional "truths" to deal with life where rational is not strong enough. Do not overeat at meals. Do not place ourselves in food rich environments. Do not eat between meals. And those around us who have a problem with these values, or rules will just need to accommodate us. Oh well, itewajda.