The path of spirituality is the path of life
When we think and try to find answers about spirituality, about what a spiritual path is and what it isn’t, an interesting contrast arises. The saying “All that glitters is not gold” has a deep message. What is good, makes us noble, it shows us and directs us to the right path. On the other hand, also that which is not gold, which is less pleasant and not at all kind also shows us the right path. Through our exposure to both we meet duality, the positive and the negative, the good and the bad on our life path. Both polarities have the same source. It is up to us to choose what we will accept, nurture and spread. The fluctuation between both extremes, joy and suffering, slowly takes us onto the path of change, the path of spirituality. The inner plight forces us to search for the truth. An awakened call drives us to grow inside and it doesn’t die until we reach the Truth.
We realize that life is a path, a challenge and a game. Gradually and through various trials, we grow into an enlightened person.
Sri Aurobindo wrote: “Spirituality is in its essence an awakening to the innerreality of our being, to a spirit, self, soul which is other than our mind, life and body, an inner aspiration to know, to feel, to be that, to enter into contact with the greater Reality beyond and pervading the universe which inhabits also our own being, to be in communion with It and union with It, and a turning, a conversion, a transformation of our whole being as a result of the aspiration, the contact, the union, a growth or waking into a new becoming or new being, a new self, a new nature.”
THE INDICATOR OF SPIRITUALITY
The essence or indication of spirituality in a person is not their religious zeal or its manifestation, neither are their specific occult powers or abilities. Certain people can have any number of these capabilities, and yet it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have managed to transform their consciousness because of them.
Raising our consciousness brings us to true spirituality. We start looking at the world, our life and everything that surrounds us with different eyes. We take off our glasses of illusion. We become a different person, better, calmer, more considerate and more kind. Mere talk, as common as it is, is not enough. What counts in what we nurture, how we act in practice. What counts is the rule of acting and not the rule of talking.
The path of wisdom is the one which leads us to liberation. Concentration, meditation and contemplation are the tools. Ignorance is not an apology, merely an excuse. A wise person acts and removes ignorance from life. Our task is to control our thoughts and emotions; if we do not control them we will be controlled by them. Respect for morality, responsibility and a deep and solid faith bring us to spiritual liberation. An enlightened person understands the meaning of life, its purpose and goal.
THE PATH OF SPIRITUALITY
People find ourselves at different stages of spiritual development. We are all connected to the whole and co-dependent upon each other. Our every word, thought or action is reflected not only in ourselves, but in the whole, too. Our every thought will materialize sooner or later. Father Thaddeus said: “In the spiritual world, thoughts are as clear as speech, they can be heard. That is why the aspiration to reach the soul is more precious than all the gifts in this world.”
Paths leading to the goal are different. Some of us have a life task to walk that path alone, others with their partners or children, through various professions, or by belonging to a certain religion. True spirituality doesn’t demand that we change our religion for another but to deepen our relationship with it, try to understand it and find divinity within us. An insight into other religions gives us the understanding that in their essence all religions teach the same, unconditional love, respect, non-violence, compassion, acceptance, help, service, friendship, goodness, truth, joy, trust, serenity, peace.
The spiritual path doesn’t demand that we should leave our family, job and retreat into solitude, a desert, a cave, where all we do is meditate. Our decision for such a step is our own choice and not a condition for becoming a spiritual seeker. We are allowed to live a family life. To divorce in order to live and learn spirituality is an irresponsible and immature act. Our spiritual path directs us to a greater understanding, tolerance for ourselves and those closest to us. Through our family and relationships, we get to know ourselves, and our partner is our own mirror. A divorce means running away from ourselves and the truth. A spiritual path demands that we respect the given promises, vows and oaths. It means work, responsibility, ethics, and it should not become a temporary commitment.
The ego represents a huge obstacle on the spiritual path. Walking our spiritual path doesn’t make us immune to the tentacles of the ego and the illusion. The ego is the one that obstructs us and separates us from our soul. Everything that is done with the mind, ego and emotions is not spiritual for the true self. We need to cleanse our bad and vicious habits. To remove the ego and come into contact with the soul is our task on the spiritual path.
Using various substances, opiates and alcohol makes us experience different states of consciousness, limited to the sphere of the mind and the subconsciousness. These experiences have nothing in common with the spiritual ones. They are connected to the astral world, which is illusory. The experiences are not lasting, and we have no control over them or over ourselves. When their effect lessens, we again turn into what we were or run into an even worse confusion. Different addictions make us unreasonable, aggressive and even greater weaklings. As a consequence, we are also ruining our physical body. A true spiritual seeker evades them. If we create an even greater illusion as is the one we are living in, we gain nothing, only lose.
True spiritual experiences give us control over ourselves and our environment. True spiritual experiences have positive and long-lived consequences. A spiritual experience develops our perception of the soul and consequently makes us better people. Our spiritual progress must develop in accordance with our abilities and our physical body. It should not involve any exaggeration in any direction.
True spirituality is a way of living. It is life in practice. It is unconditional love. Spirituality is not intellectuality, religiosity, or emotional zeal. Kahlil Gibran said: “Spiritual awakening is the most important thing in the life of an individual and the only meaning of his existence. Isn’t civilization with all its tragic forms the supreme reason for a spiritual awakening?”
TRIALS OF THE PATH
Nobody guarantees it is an easy path, where everything is but good, beautiful and right. There are moments, periods that test us and consequently make us stronger.
A spiritual person has a joyful nature, filled with humour, he looks forward to each and every moment. The following words by Sathya Sai Baba are worth considering: