I started experimenting with spirituality when data and logic were not enough to help me heal from my adversities over the last four and half years. Not that I was not spiritual at all before – just that it was ad hoc and not consistent. Like many, I looked at spirituality as something 'unscientific'. I thought of spirituality as a 'way out there' concept and a 'buzzword'. Also, spirituality to me had religious connotations. But as my adversities piled up, thoughts of “Why Me” hounded me. I was desperate to heal my mind and spirit. I decided to do everything possible which would help me heal. The three things which helped me most were doing meditation, talking to a clinical psychologist, and starting spiritual practice. I started to look at all my adversities through the spirituality prism.
So, what did I learn Spirituality was?
It means that you realize that the universe has a larger hand in your existence. Before, I was looking at things from the prism of only 'physical activities' - actions and their effects. Spirituality, I discovered is about "mental activities" - just thinking about doing those 'physical activities' generates spiritual energy. It is a shift in your "thinking". It is a shift from "body” to "soul" consciousness. It is looking inward. Some people call it inner engineering or inner life transformation. More importantly, I discovered what spirituality is not - that you are not renouncing everything.
However, it was important for me as a strong, independent and practical person that spirituality be something feasible and pragmatic. The more I read about spiritual practices, I started to realize being spiritual has an applied side to it. I listened to many spiritual recordings from many folks such as Eckhart Tolle and Joel Osteen in the West and Sadhguru and Jiddu Krishnamurti in the East or the best of East and West – Deepak Chopra. If there were any religious connotations, I would just tune them out. It is quite astonishing how spiritual the recordings were. Many people find some of the above people controversial, but I really like their spiritual messages. I also realized that all faiths without exception have spiritual messages. But unfortunately, all of them also have extreme elements who distort the messaging. When asked 'What religion is' Sadhguru says, “Religion is just spirituality gone bad” - I totally agree.
Do not get me wrong. I am not saying in any shape or form that being spiritual is easy – you just do not flip the “being spiritual” switch on. It does not happen overnight. It is like anything you learn to do for the first time like cycling or swimming - it takes some time, patience, and practice. It certainly was not easy for me and there are still days when I question it. But those days are less frequent than when I started. Slowly but surely, I started to taste the experience of being spiritual and I realized that if I continue to shift my thinking, I will get the same result as the last time. I started to see the benefits of being increasingly more spiritual. I now wonder why spirituality is not taught in schools when we are young. But it is never too late. One can always start the spiritual journey anytime. I am living proof! If I can try to be spiritual, anyone can. Some practical things which help you become spiritual are doing meditation, praying, reading spiritual books, listening to music, journaling, volunteering, doing yoga, walking, spending time in nature, etc.
Even though I knew it will take some time to shift to spiritual life, I was expecting my shift to happen in a straight line. But the fact is it is not – it has its ups and downs. One can start on a spiritual path very quickly but will find it hard to sustain it. Just stay with it.