Please allow me to begin toward our topic of Spirituality with a short story from my own journey.
“She gave me a wink and I reciprocated, seeing in her eyes and feeling her need to communicate something to me. I had no difficulties living with my puppy. Jeni was with me for two years, a beautiful and happy part of my life, until the day she left me forever after suffering unknown sickness.”
Before she passed away, Jeni gave me a beautiful teaching; ie. how to be compassionate and understanding toward all other living beings, not just humans. Another aspect was thus added to my spiritual analysis.
I enjoy inner peace when I water a sapling. I feel satisfaction when a stray dog gets some food from my hand. When I see Ganga, my heart aches for knowing how abusive we are to our rivers. All those things bring me closer to feeling at one with Nature and the wonders of Creation. A new sense of connection and brotherhood grows within me. I suppose I am on my way to find the truth of life, the Law of Nature.
When we will be connected spiritually with each other, every one of us will feel the same way I am feeling. Here arises a question: What is a spiritual connection – what is spirituality?
One writer shared this view:
“Spirituality isn’t about denying the illusory world. It is about becoming more grounded in the rawness and wildness of life itself.” [Anonymous]
Thus we struggle to ascertain spirituality not as being a solitary experience, knowing oneself, but instead immersing self in fully living life, seeking out its truths as we discover what life is an attempt to answer mysteries life presents to us.
Nevertheless, knowing oneself is the first step toward beginning to understand our higher nature.
Aware of ourselves, we begin to conceive empathy other souls. We become more able to feel what another person is going through emotionally, to offer our support and to assist with their recovery. In that process we become more aware of our own personal mental strengths which nourish our spiritual growth and maturity.
Our mind is a creation of Nature and a hidden source of power manifested through inventions and discoveries of mankind since time immemorial. When mind operates with soul, one becomes more powerful spiritually.
To understand spirituality in a nutshell perhaps we could practice the idea that we need to spare our soul to guide our mind to serve fearlessly the environment around us irrespective of caste, creed, religious belief, or social taboo. Soul is the ultimate controller of our mind. So as to have our mind work like a lotus untouched by mud and dirt, by the material world, one needs to grow from the inside out. To put it another way, spiritual growth is the awakening of soul, and the beginning of purification of soul.
Practice of guiding mind and controlling thinking paves the way for a person to see through the illusions of life, asserting the individual will not be afraid of the complexities of daily living – pain of separation, grief from loss, or failure in one’s performance. Whoever develops control of mind will go on accepting the truth of life, not feeling shy or neglected, ego tamed, with strong sense of peace and harmony within.
Thus spirituality makes a human fearless, slowly achieving solitude of deep thoughts. Inner wholeness helps the spiritual person find truth of energy that flows within the Universe and controls all that happens around us.
We all know that the entire human society is hedged in by various faith and religious belief systems. Can we be spiritual while holding strong religious beliefs?
There are so many unique perspective on what is spirituality; for example:
“Spirituality is a personal relationship with the Divine. Religion is crowd control.” [Anonymous]
“Spirituality doesn’t come from religion, it comes from our soul.”
[Anthony D. Williams, “inside the Divine Pattern”]
“Religion is following the messenger. Spirituality is following the message.” [Anonymous]
All the above three quotations are hinting at the same thing which signifies that religion has not fathered spirituality. A spiritually enlightened individual may not be a follower of any particular religious movement or faith.
Giving from one’s own plate to a beggar or to a stray dog, may serves his creator. When someone smiles at seeing a tree growing, he is connecting with the spirir of another lviing being. When one restricts himself from spreading pollution, he is giving respect to the existence and wellness of all other life forms on our planet.
Control of mind and awakening of soul can be experienced through Dhanya, described as “a refined meditative practice” or “a deeper concentration of the mind”.
Buddha said, “We are the same as plants, as trees, as other people, as the rain that falls. We consist of that which is around us, we are the same as everything.
”If we destroy something around us, we destroy ourselves. If we cheat another, we cheat ourselves.
”All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.
”Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.
“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”
With the above sayings of Gautama Buddha, one can understand the value of spirituality. To bring peace and harmony to the world where everyone is busy making war plans, each man and woman of the society needs to understand about spirituality and should practice to gain it.