Published in Science of Mind magazine (June 2020)
When ideas or beliefs become a fad, the real essence often gets lost. The interpretation people make, according to their whims and fancies, has made spirituality another victim. The core of your being doesn’t need a tag of lifestyle trend even though it has always been the “in” thing.
Each of us is spiritual. It is just that we get entangled in the illusion of this labyrinthine life forgetting our true identity. Many times, a certain catastrophe in life awakens us to this core self. Sometimes, someone impacts our lives in such a way that the seeker mind gets stimulated and thus the journey begins. On this journey, do not get swayed by your own or others’ rooted beliefs and definitions. Even though each one of us is spiritual at the core, it can be very tricky to be that self as the line that separates ego from humility, self-love from narcissism and every such vice from virtue is impeccably thin. Virtues aren’t meant to impress others or attain heaven, it’s for your own blissfulness.
Myth 1: Spirituality = Superiority
Nothing makes you superior. You might be compassionate, kind, humane and contributing to this world in the best way possible; you might be a vegan; you might be meditating daily and practicing minimalism but nothing of this gives you the higher pedestal. You are unique but neither superior nor inferior to anyone. Spirituality is not an exclusive, members-only club that can set you apart. It is an all-inclusive, learning and growth path. It can only turn you into humble and benevolent.
If the so-called awakening boosted your ego size to XXL from XS, you need to lessen down on your ignorance calories.
Spirituality is not a separation from life. It is just the state of your being. It helps to comprehend the interconnectedness of each being.
Myth 2: Spirituality = Magical Pill of Positivity
Spirituality is not a panacea to the life’s situations that we loosely call troubles. It is not a magic wand that will turn the pumpkin into a carriage for Cinderella. The path of spirituality does not withhold the night. It makes you see the beauty of darkness and gives you the patience to wait for the dawn. In midst of that waiting period, you begin to fathom the darkness that is hidden within–our ignorance.
Life doesn’t become easier for people just because they decide to follow the path of spirituality. Instead, it comes with its own challenges. There are tears, frustration, anger and all other life’s emotions. The only difference is that you learn how to accept and uphold a larger picture amidst all these situations. The emotions do not drown you anymore. They are just a release to make one stronger for whatever comes next in life.
Myth 3: Spirituality = Attaining Enlightenment
There is no goal. And no, the enlightenment is not some lightning experience. Drugs might give you thunderbolt experiences and a hallucination of another world. Not enlightenment. Enlightenment is when you reach a stage of nothingness, a state where you are liberated of experiences.
You do not need to attain anything. Just be. Flow with life with the belief that every day is an opportunity to expand your consciousness. Every day is a chance to shed the layer of ignorance and open your mind a little bit more.
If you feel you are enlightened because you have read all the spirituality books and you can grasp the complex concepts of the universe unlike other lesser aware beings, congratulations! You win the ‘folie de grandeur’ award! Please go back to myth 1.
Your focus cannot be on the medal of enlightenment. Your task is just to discover the inner layers of your being. What has to become of you, it will. Let the transformation process takes its course.
Myth 4: Spirituality = Being Nice
There is a difference between being nice and being kind. Nice is when you are pretending to be good. Your inner-self feels stifled. You are being nice because you are trying hard to please others. Being spiritual doesn’t imply you will not raise the voice against wrong. It doesn’t mean you will let yourself get exploited. In this worldly world, even kindness has annexed an asterisk mark. Your awareness, mindfulness and intuitions will help you discover who really needs help or who is using that help for something dangerous. You will say no to the situations more courageously than ever because you don’t mind standing alone for what is right. You need not be nice to have compassion within. Until it flows from the divinity of your being, it is just a facade that won’t nourish your soul.
Spirituality is widening the perception
Seeing nature is a beautiful experience for everyone. But is it spiritual? When you live in the city, you are devoid of nature and hence when you visit the cascading waterfall amidst the bountiful hills, you get mesmerized. A native of that place may be mesmerized visiting the city. The point is when your perception widens, you feel enthralled in any environment. The feeling of being alive intensifies wherever you are.
Spirituality is a state of being when you are involved with everything around you. It is being in the city and distinguishing each bird’s call, feeling overjoyed by looking at the azure sky, the magnificent trees and the creations of nature with equal involvement. That’s when your life is spiritual.
Spirituality is not felt only in nature. It applies to your body, breaths, mind, spirit — the inside and the outside worlds. It is the awareness that you are a seeker and there is so much to learn in this universe; that you are both more and less of what you thought you were.
The journey is not about becoming enlightened or a preacher, a guru or anything. It will be first about unbecoming of who you thought yourself to be. The journey is about widening the perception of human consciousness while being non-judgmental about every aspect of life. You will change the world by polishing the awareness you bring to your inside world.
May the rootlets of wisdom take us closer to the light of life!