Before we examine whether someone should strive to be “spiritual” or not, we should try to reach an understanding of what is meant by being spiritual.
Spirituality (being spiritual) implies different things to different people. For some people it may mean becoming more religious (religion generally referring to the worship of “God” and/or the various teachings of their accepted faith). When addressing religion, first it should be understood that performing ceremonies and customs is the ritualistic aspect of the religion and not the spiritualistic part, but some people have an inherent need for ceremony, ritual and dogma in their lives.Religion typically places more emphasis on outer forms and outer rituals. Religion often involves a congregation or community of followers that share common beliefs.
Spirituality is less concerned with outer forms and rituals. It tends to be much more private and personal. In its simplest form, spirituality means to look within. For one who is spiritual even the act of worship (or connecting with the Divine) is actually a form of going within, of connecting with one’s own perception, experience and awareness of the Divine (or God).
We often hear reference to “going within” what is actually meant by going within? Going within is basically establishing some sort of connection with something that provides us with an unending source of energy, irrespective of happenings in the outside world. Going within furthers the realization that there is no separation between you and the Divine/God/Spirit/Creator. And there never has been, ever! No matter what’s going on in your life, no matter what you did or haven’t done. You realize that you don’t have to “go somewhere” to be with God (or whatever you choose to call the Divine, Absolute or Supreme).
So why seek to be spiritual?The beauty of spirituality is that when you commit to it, a world of opportunity and new experiences open up for you. The moment you decide that spirituality is for you, it’s as if the doors of enlightenment begin to open and you finally start to see the light.
The truth is that humans beings; in fact, all sentient beings, are inherently spiritual. They just aren’t aware of it yet. One of the saddest and most persistent beliefs in the modern world is that we are merely flesh and bone and that once we die, we go to heaven, or we go to hell or we become extinct. Well, whether you believe it or not, nothing could be further from the truth from a truly spiritual perspective. By aligning yourself with truth, the meaning of life becomes crystal clear, and that life is all about spiritual maturation.
Embarking on a spiritual journey is not about blindly believing in any dogmatic theories or stories that your own personal experience can’t support. Instead, it’s a process; integrating the practice open-mindedness, testing things for yourself, and aligning yourself with truth as closely as you can, all leading to Self-realization.
Spirituality also offers us a way to avoid accumulating stress and emotion (and more karma). Spiritual insights are not dependent on external objects and/or situations. By remaining non-dependent on anything external we prevent any energy dissipation.
When we start being more spiritual, we naturally begin to realize the meaninglessness of most things or issues that we would usually pay undue attention to. We start seeing the impermanence behind superficial material pursuits and their outcomes, and this happens in such a way, that we begin to enjoy the process without building excess mental and emotional baggage.
The impermanence of and meaninglessness behind the search for secular gains becomes a growing realization which, in turn, conserves our finer (subtle) energies that we would otherwise dissipate. The quality of our wants and desires improves from the gross to the subtle level and this establishes a virtuous cycle with every passing day, culminating in an ocean of peace and supreme bliss.
Spirituality offers us the realization that this world and everything in it is constantly changing. This change itself is constant and inevitable, but spirituality provides us with an invisible, yet stable anchor that helps us find our bearings, even during the most challenging times.
This alone, is a sufficient reason to find supreme merit in the spiritual path.The longer you practice spirituality, and the more devoted to it you become, the more it becomes the central part of your life, eventually becoming your very reason for living.
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