We all need antidotes of various kinds to ward off the day to day inanity that the world dishes up. The only person who doesn’t is living in a cave up in the Hindu Kush. And I gather that is not you.
As I have said it before in my jottings, the world seems to be going more and more potty by the day. What to do?
Well, there is not much we can do for the world, but there is one thing we can do for ourselves: get a grip on our spirituality and don’t let go. And if you have to let go, it’s to get a better grip — a better conception of your spiritual being-ness and how that is working out for you.
I understand that day to day we weave our way through life pragmatically, we don’t have to be constantly thinking if we are being spiritual or not.
Spirituality doesn’t have to be your default setting but it’s good to call on it daily. And that happens through ritual (you may have prayer or meditation) or simply noticing your thoughts from time to time and as much as possible bringing them back to broad sweeping, even heavenly or celestial thoughts.
The core of spirituality is an enduring connection to something that is beyond our mind, beyond our understanding or comprehension. It is the loving embrace of a boundless outlook. But how do we hold on to the spiritual vibe that everyone rattles on about?
Spirituality is not just ‘oming your oms’ but encompasses all things. It can be the relationships we have, including our cat or our snowmobile. Spirituality can be about getting along with your neighbours, about feeling or thinking good thoughts for yourself and others, about affirming your life in general. But these things are really only peripheral aspects of a spiritual life. They are not enduring. Thoughts and feelings come and go. The cat disappears one day and the snowmobile takes a leave of absence — someone absconded with it — they needed a snowmobile more than you.
We can go on to ask: why then is our spirituality an antidote to an abrasive world that impinges on us? Well I believe because it ties in with our liberty and freedom.
The dull conformist society destroys spirituality because it destroys uniqueness, peculiarity, wildness. The family unit, the institution, the society, demands conformism for survival, shaping and categorising people into units through penalties and rewards in an effort to band us together. The individual wants to express and move out of restriction but society becomes a dead weight, like dragging a hippopotamus around clipped to your leg.
A society that celebrates individualism with a cohesive sense of fairness allows space for people to find deep spirituality because when we truly feel freedom, we connect more readily to all things. It’s natural and we are not leaning on society, we are not trying to perform a particular role or justify our existence, we are not running around cheering and shouting out our uniqueness. Genuine individuality is not a reality TV show.
In fact somewhat paradoxically, spiritual individuality links us together and our boundaries become diffuse. Many people find that scary because they lose their identity — which is why people prefer their spirituality to be tied up in a religion or cult.
But the society we truly know ourselves is the one we create; the one we inhabit day to day, not the one we see on the news. And that means within our rituals, our walks in nature and mixing with the supporting people in our lives; for few minutes each day, we acknowledge that we are not the centre of the universe. We give over our energy to the greater good and don’t pray for ourselves but pray for humanity and all life. We take the focus from ourselves and put it out into the cosmos. Sounds all Eckart Toll-ie but it will do me.
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