Spirituality is no more elusive to the world. At least the word!
There comes a point in everyone’s life when we grow a nudge to seek something else; something that’s real; something that’s meaningful. Perhaps, a grief, a heart-break, a failure or just restlessness could be the spur behind this nudge. And that’s when a man begins to wander hither and thither in search of the unknown something.
During this search, he is most likely to come across some popular abstract definitions for the object that he’s searching for.
‘Find peace within. Find yourself. Everything is maya. Live in the present. Leave your ego. Travel within you…..’
In the process, he is most likely to be instructed to practice things that he might wish to do but often wonders how.
‘Sit quietly, watch your breathe, control your thoughts, relax your body, declutter your past, heal your wounds, practice forgiveness, do service to others, abstain from negative thoughts…..’
And he keeps trying through all possible sources.
‘Learn yoga, do meditation, practice pranayama, travel to spiritual destinations, meet saints, recite religious hymns, fast on auspicious days, visit temples, read spiritual books, discover past lives, understand horoscopes…..’
In the process,
A few find a Guru or an anchor and stick to it religiously.
Some remain perplexed about what the ‘search’ was and is about.
And to many, the ‘search’ gets diluted with changing life situations.
It happened to me too – the hither and thither, the complexities of abstract definitions, the instructions to practice the unknown and trials to venture something and everything into the unknown!
Well, did I find something?
During those years when I had spent long hours in meditation, when I had practiced yoga and pranayama sincerely, when I had been glued to spiritual texts, when I had contemplated on every little thing about life and when I had followed a Guru’s path, the ‘search’ had still remained elusive to me.
Today as I write this post while my little son is taking a nap to give me a break from his tantrums, questions and obsessions and when I still have house chores, cooking and another round of running around and yelling at the two souls at home, for the day to end, I am convinced about the clarity I’ve attained in the ‘search’. As a matter of fact, I hardly do my practices any longer for my sleeping son can sniff something is wrong if I do pranayama and runs hurriedly to take my hands off the nose and worse, takes all my yoga postures granted for an elephant ride. Yet, I cannot deny a profound clarity on the subject of spirituality as I head through the tight everyday schedules, day after day. Perhaps, chaos make better teachers than stillness.
So, what is the clarity about?
All the abstract definitions are going to remain abstract until we experience the meaning in them, which may or may not happen. Strangely, one can understand spirituality with or without the grasping of these abstract definitions. So, first of all, I am convinced that it is alright for certain things to remain abstract. Second, spiritual practices, including meditation can give us a push when we need one. Again, one can follow a spiritual way of life with or without doing any of the tried practices. And it doesn’t matter whether we believe in the existence of divinity or a supreme power. If it exists, it is going to, regardless of our beliefs. And if it doesn’t, again our belief cannot change it. In other words, spirituality can be an effortless and unrealized endeavour.
This is one word which has replaced the term ‘spirituality’ in my dictionary!
A thought that often rekindles my connection to self-realization is that my parents shall not remain alive forever. It is a difficult truth but the more I accept this truth, the more I understand the purpose of the ‘search’. Their role as my parents is only for a few years. So are all other roles I play. At one point, the being of Nandhini shall see its end and it has to move on. And what would matter then, is whether I evolved or not in the few years of Nandhini’s disguise.
Here, the initial thought that I began to contemplate on is where my spirituality begins. I could be cutting vegetables at that time, I could be helping my son fix his puzzles or I could be driving my bike. In other words, spirituality is not all about sitting in stillness. We can’t wait for everything around us to get quiet. We live in constant chaos and chaos has a lot to teach us. We all carry a background self which can be way different than what we appear outwardly. This self thinks, analyses and tries to reach its conclusions to the outward self. And it is in the ability of the outward self of how much it can grasp the background process that the inner chaos is put to rest.
In this instance, it was a thought to begin with. For some, an activity like meditation or bird watching or relishing music or even toileting can make the first move. It is essential, at the first place, to identify what kind of that ‘something’ can connect us to the way we feel.
What do I evolve upon?
This is what one seeks ultimately through the ‘search’ because it is partly personal, that is, all of us have individual evolutionary paths and partly whole. Defining our evolutionary paths is only going to make it seem abstract again. However, in order to do a little justification, here I try:
From an higher perspective, evolving could be undoing of emotions that lay buried in the subconsciousness without or without realizing that something like that actually exists. That is, one need not consult a therapist necessarily. The shedding of fixed patterns as we move on years after years can, in some instances, be enough. In the background, it may effect a gradual change in our attitude or thought process or in yet deeper layers of our beings.
It could be learning of something important that we have constantly denied or failed to learn. It could be fulfilling of our duties which we have been procrastinating for long. It could be offering something that we have promised to, sometime in the past. It could be simply understanding of something which we have neglected to understand. It could be clearing of any other thing that hinders our evolution.
I stress on ‘could be’ because these are just a few examples. We all have individualistic tasks, designed specifically for each of us in order to evolve. That is why none of our lives are a replica of each other. And what it is for each of us – we know at a deeper level. Again, it isn’t necessary for one to know it consciously. Still all of us keep evolving or at least given a chance to evolve. Ultimately, everyone has to evolve one day, regardless of who does it first and who makes it last.
However, evolving is not always about the big things in life. I might as well be doing it everyday. I could be getting more patient with the two souls at home day after day. I could be accepting the chaotic way of their lives day after day. I could be releasing long-term grudges on people gradually day after day. I could be taking extra efforts to complete my designated duties day after day…..evolving is happening every other day in our lives. As a matter of fact, every silly or big life situation is ordered and designed in such a way so as to help us evolve. The more we evolve, knowingly or unknowingly, be at any or all levels, the more of our spiritual selves we are transforming to!
We all know what we seek though outwardly it may seem we don’t know sometimes. The more we follow what we seek, the more we take a step forward in our evolution. The more we neglect, overlook and justify for not following what we seek, the more we lag behind. Yet, we will be given another chance in another disguise. It shall go on until we connect all the dots together.
Perhaps, connecting the dots is what we all are doing lives after lives!
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