When we think of being “spiritual”, there is most likely a hodgepodge of images that come up in our minds. Some may think of religious relics, some may think of Buddhist monks sitting in meditation, and some may think of a new-age hippie type surrounded by their crystals and burning incense. Regardless of which type you think most fits the definition, there is undoubtedly a large part of society that runs from the label “spiritual” at all costs.
The misconception or fear is that in order to bring spirituality into their life they are going to have to sell all of their belongings, quit their job, move to India and sit in meditation for the rest of their lives.
Or maybe they think they’re going to have to start memorizing Bible verses and stand on street corners with signs that say “Jesus loves you.” However, what most people don’t realize is that they’ve been on the spiritual path their entire lives, now whether they realized it or not, is the question.
There has never been one second in their waking existence that they were separate from their spirit or soul, in fact, it would be impossible to be separate from it, because we are it. With that being said, there are so many who have not only lost connection with their spirit, but they are trying to get in connection with pretty much anything but their spirit in order to find peace, happiness, or change in their lives.
These are the types that throw themselves into more activities, relationships, or obtaining more material possessions just to escape their anxiety or uneasiness. The thought of having to be spiritual either seems too weird, or too hard or too much effort that they don’t have time for.
For those who have taken the time to get in connection with their soul a realization emerges. The connection with our soul is not only the quickest way to find happiness and true lasting peace in our lives, but it is in fact the only way.
Yes, the only way out of sadness, anger, resentment, guilt, addiction, misery, and any other terrible circumstance you can think of, is to get back in connection with our spirit… to be spiritual. Now, the only question that remains is: what does it truly mean to be spiritual?
“The spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it” – Henri J. M. Nouwen
Anyone can be spiritual. It doesn’t matter if you are a CEO of a huge company, homeless, in jail, a comedian, or an athlete, the connection with spirit can be brought into all of these. Not only can anyone be spiritual, but also anything and any activity can be spiritual.
Looking at the stars, learning about science, gardening, cooking, making art, even going to work and making money, being ambitious and setting goals can all be a spiritual experience if we allow it to be. It all comes down to one thing…presence (also called awareness, mindfulness, consciousness and probably a million other things).
How “present” a person is while performing their day to day activities will translate to the amount of love and passion they put into these things. When we are present, we are in the moment.
We are not in our heads, thinking about yesterday, or tomorrow, or what we’re going to have for dinner, we are literally doing whatever we are doing without building up a story in our heads about it or in thoughts of some distant past or future.
This presence leads us deeper into the world we experience. We see things more vividly, we taste things more richly, music brings us more joy, and even supposed “painful” experiences bring an element of joy because instead of listening to the mind chatter that is telling us how horrible an experience is, we can just sit in the feeling and it soon dissipates on its own.
After some time of practicing presence in our lives we start to automatically be in this place a majority of the time, which consequently begins to quiet our mind chatter.
Without the mind labeling every single situation as “good” or “bad” we are more easily able to go with the flow of our life experiences instead of resisting them because we believe it’s something we don’t want. When we replace the word presence for spirituality we realize that technically, anyone anywhere doing anything can be a “spiritual” experience.
Now yes it is true, the more present a person becomes, they are more likely to steer away from unhealthy behaviors, habits, and activities, but in all technicality, presence can be brought into any situation. “The great awareness comes slowly, piece by piece. The path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong learning. The experience of spiritual power is basically a joyful one.” – M. Scott Peck
Whether or not we choose religion, meditation, reading self-help books, cultivating a hobby or passion, or maybe just starting a new healthy lifestyle, one thing is for sure… spirituality and finding our presence is a unique experience for every single person. It is probably one of the only things in life that includes everything yet is exclusive to nothing.
And even though there is technically no finish line to the spiritual journey, the sooner a person does get in connection with their own presence and consciousness, (whether they choose to label themselves as “spiritual” or not) the sooner they start seeing through the illusion of their unhappiness, stress and misery and start finding love, happiness, peace and passion…which is always a good thing.