Is spirituality like falling in love?
On one fine glorious day, does one know they are now spiritual, or must one practice and follow particular virtues to become a spiritual person?
Does reading spiritual articles and meditating once a day or more makes one spiritual? Or, following a Guru, can you claim your spirituality flag?
Or if your parents are spiritual, can you get an entitlement to a spiritual path, similar to being born in any religious family?
Can you be religious and also spiritual at the same time?
My Oh My! What is this spirituality anyways? If we claim our spirituality, does that make us wiser and better than others?
Many similar questions are floating around, and more are curious about spirituality. No, I am not talking about you; you know all the answers. I am talking about everyone else but you.
Have you seen the movie “Fantastic Mr. Fox”?
Once we jump into the Spirituality world and start digging inwards away from the path, our disappointments, expectations, and time limitations (the farmers) start attacking us from above. We still keep digging deeper, rushing to find the solution. The deeper we dig, the more trouble we get into, just like Fantastic Mr. Fox. I agree that George Clooney is the best, but we don’t want to walk around the sewer hub area without our beautiful fluffy tail. So, let’s not be Mr. Fox.
What is Spirituality?
Maintaining the highest stage of your soul/self is Spirituality.
Spirituality: The Sanskrit word is Adhyatma (अध्यात्म) is combination of two words: Adhi + Atma (अधि + आत्म = अध्यात्म)
Adhi (अधि) means over and above. It is usually associated with things that note superiority. Aatm (आत्म) means the self or soul.
Shrimad Bhagwat Gita: 8.3
अक्षरं ब्रह्म परमं स्वभावोऽध्यात्ममुच्यते |
Aksharam brahma paramam swabhaavo’dhyaatmamuchyate |
Brahma is imperishable, the supreme state. The essential nature (स्वभाव Swabhav — Your own being) is self-knowledge. That same creative force of self-knowing is, being in the state of spirituality (Adhyatma).
Spirituality often involves a more intentional process of self-exploration and growth. It is a journey of personal growth and development. Practicing particular virtues or habits, such as meditation, self-reflection, and compassion for others can help you become a better spiritual person.
Reading spiritual articles and following a guru or spiritual leader can also be helpful in this process, but that doesn’t give us a shiny medal of spirituality; neither does a spiritual environment make you spiritual. So, a sainted stick in the room, wearing beads and ochre robes, won’t do the trick. It is up to each individual to engage in their spiritual journey and determine what resonates internally.
Spirituality is a deeply personal and ongoing journey; it is essential to approach it with humility, openness, and willingness to learn and grow. Ok, but what does that even mean in day-to-day lifestyle?
We feel spiritual in our minds and thoughts, but how would we know we are spiritual? Here is an excellent start for a spiritual lifestyle checklist.
Let’s start with simple steps. One state of Guna at a time.
Step 1: Anger management
When everything is going according to our expectations, everything around us is just perfect. When we come across something that doesn’t meet our expectations, we develop emotions of rage, which we call anger. It could be as little as heavy traffic or as big as an unfaithful partner. The emotions behind both situations are the same, just different intensities; “someone violated our expectations.”
Our rage is boiling up, and our mind is ready to react. Most of the time, before we notice, we have already responded. All that hours of meditation, voluntary work of help in need, YouTube Binge-watching on spirituality, and endless book readings all go down the drain, and we find ourselves being a Mr. Fox in the sewer hub without a tail.
Here I will quote directly from the source:
Shrimad Bhagwat Gita: C2 — V63
क्रोधाद्भवति संमोहः संमोहात्स्मृतिविभ्रमः।
स्मृतिभ्रंशाद् बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात्प्रणश्यति।
Meaning: From anger comes delusion; it leads to perplex, which leads to the destruction of the intellect; when the intellect is wrecked, logic is impaired (here, you lose the capacity to think calmly); the individual’s downfall occurs when logic is damaged.
In other words, the verse explains how the emotion of anger can lead to delusion in mind, and that delusion can then cause confusion in memory. This cycle can create a state of mental disturbance and clouded judgment, leading to poor decision-making and actions. Our negativity, disapproval of others’ actions, and unkind words lead to our actions pouring out like a massive volcano.
In anger, we lose our ability to understand situations and drop the power to make decisions based on knowledge and wisdom. As a result, we may make poor choices that lead to negative consequences. Loss of understanding and poor decision-making can lead to physical and spiritual destruction. When our awareness is lost, we disconnect from reality and make unhealthy choices for ourselves and others.
Reject this anger as soon as it hits you and replace is with compassion. Yes, I know, easy said than done! But now that we are determined to be on a spiritual path and know that we are better and wiser than animals let’s try our best.
How do we control our anger?
It is essential to overcome negative emotions such as anger and cultivate a calm and peaceful mind. Avoid the cycle of confusion and delusion and achieve greater clarity and understanding. Don’t just reject the anger; replace it with kindness and compassion. Our mind doesn’t understand rejection, so replace the emotion with something useful. Let’s offer our mind something positive when it is about to lose its temper. If we can’t at the right moment, it’s OK. Let it go. The mind will get angry for some silly thing soon. We must not blame or disappoint our minds and thoughts for a mistake.
Practice…. Practice and more practice.
Maintain a clear and focused mind to avoid the negative consequences of anger and other destructive emotions. Here self-awareness and mindfulness come in handy to achieve mental clarity and calmness in spiritual and worldly success.
How do we achieve this complicated task?
The spiritual discipline of Kindness and compassion
Doing so can avoid negative consequences and poor decision-making. Spiritual practice will lead you to achieve happiness and fulfillment.
Good news! We don’t have to wait till we master the spiritual discipline in life, but we can certainly try our best to be mindful and watch our reactions. This will eventually lead to better mindfulness to control our responses before we hit bottom.
Know that we always have the Divine with us. The Divine in me and the Divine in you.
Where is the Divine coming from to help us?
Our divinity rises from the fire of our consciousness.
क्रोधाकाराङ्कुशोज्ज्वला ॥ २॥ — Krodha-karan-kushojvala
The Divine uses an elephant hook to destroy the hatred and anger developed in us and gives us knowledge.
This is our first step towards spirituality. Hang in there; you are going to love it.