Spirituality seems to be the new cool.
It is the talk of the town. Every other person you meet on the streets nowadays claims to be spiritual. It is especially common in the affluent western countries and among the upper middle class population of the world.
There is nothing inherently wrong with spirituality as such. The irritating part is that way too many people are busy “acting” spiritual rather than practicing it in real life. Everyone talks the talk but hardly anyone really walks the walk.
We all know someone who rambles on and on about their “spiritual growth” in their little “spiritual” groups. They talk endlessly about their latest spiritual retreats, some new form of spiritual process they tried, the number of hours they can meditate without taking a break, the unearthly spiritual experiences they had in the form of visions or body sensations etc. Many can’t stop arguing about why their spiritual practice is better than others. Why their guru is the best.
The search for the shortest path to the notoriously elusive “enlightenment”. As if it is some sort of a competition or a race. “Let’s see who gets there first”.
Fancy New Terms
Many fancy new terms and concepts have made their way into the vocabulary of spirituality. It is fascinating. To name a few: twin flames, indigo people, old souls, spirit guide, spirit animal, coloured auras, kundalini, chakras, past life regressions etc. These terms and concepts are just being used as tools to feed the “spiritual ego” of the person. That’s the most common and most arrogant form of ego in the present times. The spiritual ego. As Alan Watts rightly puts it:
The biggest ego trip going on nowadays is getting rid of your ego.
People have Buddha idols all over their house. It is sad to see Buddha being reduced to a decorative artifact. Different types of Buddha idols and framed pictures. People worship him but they don’t inculcate an iota of his teachings into their lives. They worship the Buddha from a distance. They give him a lot of space in their homes but not an inch in their hearts.
Avoid The Spiritual Noise
Some people get into it with the right intent and tenacity but they tend to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information about spirituality.
They are bombarded with so many different schools of thoughts, so many gurus trying to sell their spiritual pathways to innocent seekers. All this usually leads a sincere seeker astray. Deep into a “spiritual maze”, emerging from which is a task of great difficulty.
Spiritual growth is one of the best things worth pursuing, no doubt about it. When one grows spiritually, one automatically grows in other areas of life also. It is bound to be so. But using spirituality to add an extra piece of jewellery to your ego is downright ugly.
Moreover, spirituality is a personal journey. It cannot really be shared with anyone. At least not through words. Not through discussions and debates. May be we can share it through silence or art. But that’s about it. Words will always distort anything that is truly spiritual. Words are of the mind. Not of the spirit. So how can they convey something of the spirit? Whatever words convey, will be of the mind.
Spirituality And The Internet
The internet boom and the information age has contributed to this phenomenon greatly. The internet is full of information about spirituality and its umpteen types.
Youtube is flooded with videos of people claiming to be “realized” and “enlightened”. All of them with their own takes on spirituality and their own spiritual pathways. And their devotees form “spiritual” groups and forums in their wake where they can brag about their spiritual growth.
A Solitary Journey
In your spiritual journey, you have to go alone. You cannot take your best friend, your lover or your wife with you. You cannot even really take yourself. It is great to embark on the spiritual journey. But it does not need groups. It is not a group activity. It is very personal. You cannot expect a crowd to cheer you on through your journey. That’s the basic need that compels people to form groups for spiritual search. They want people to pat them on the back and they want recognition for their spiritual “efforts”. whereas effortlessness is the core principle of spirituality. What a vicious circle!
The truly spiritual person does not need words. Does not even need fancy outfits or dreadlocks. One’s spiritual maturity and growth can be felt by the power of a person’s mere presence.
A truly spiritual person has a powerful presence which is impossible to ignore. They don’t need to talk spiritual or to “look” spiritual. They don’t even need to renounce an ordinary lifestyle to become a monk. Their presence speaks volumes about their spiritual growth.
It Is That Simple…
Spiritual quest is a silent quest. Let it be a personal search. Let us not make a group activity out of it and create unnecessary difficulties in our spiritual journey. It is in fact a very simple thing. To look within and inquire about the true nature of who/what we really are. Simply to be still. And to be comfortable with the state of not doing anything. Just being. What can be simpler than just being? And this is best done alone. So let us stop wasting our time “acting” spiritual and let us have the courage to actually “be” spiritual. It is much more rewarding and fulfilling than “acting” spiritual.
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