What does it mean to be spiritual, really?
In my earlier years, I was certain I knew. I was certain I understood. At least, I knew what it meant to me.
Being spiritual, for me, was about energy. After all, if everything is energy, as Einstein’s equation tells us, then that ‘everything,’ having been Divinely created… must be sacred.
I can’t say this was ever a direct, articulated thought in my mind, but it was how I lived my life. I believed in energy. In the unseen forces at work behind the outer appearance, and it was that which I sought to investigate and understand.
In my younger days, my health was fragile, so I studied energy in the form of alternative medicine. This included Ayurveda, Polarity Therapy, and Cranio-sacral Therapy, among many other energy-based healing modalities. I ate organic food and practiced yoga. For a long period of time, I ate only fresh raw greens. I meditated, journaled, and dug deep in my inner investigations. I involved myself in so many inner and outer disciplines, all reflecting an alignment and an overall gestalt and worldview that, while understandable, was actually taking me further and further away from true north. Away from true spirituality.
You may very well be wondering (and getting your arguments ready for…) what I mean when I infer that meditation, energy healing modalities, journaling, and inner investigations aren’t spiritual.
Well, they certainly can be, but it depends upon where one is standing.
I had the untenable idea that where I stood was the beginning marker, and enlightenment was on the horizon (or beyond the horizon, depending on my mood). And spirituality was my journey from here to there, with all of my practices intended to advance me toward that elusive horizon.
Except it doesn’t work that way.
That is the mind’s interpretation of spirituality, the mind’s attempt to understand without letting go of its moorings. It is the ego’s version of spirituality.
It has often been said that when the student is ready, the master appears. I believe that to be true, and in fact, it is my direct experience. I also would humbly put forth that when we are correctly aligned, the doorway simply appears around us and we realize we are standing on the threshold. Our transformation is not off in the distance, on the horizon, or ‘over there.’ In this quantum, profoundly multi-dimensional universe, the doorways for transcendance are all around us all the time.
The question is whether we are able to align ourselves in order to perceive them, engage at that level, and make the step necessary to pass over the threshold.
What if being spiritual is as simple, and as profound, as following our spirit instead of our mind? Following our deepest connection to the God of our own understanding instead of the mental and emotional constructs of our upbringing and society?
This may sound like a simple idea—but it’s also a revolutionary one.
Because spirit follows its own rules, its own Divine law. This might include studying Ayurveda and meditating every day. Or it might invite me to sell everything and live as a mountain hermit. Guidance from spirit doesn’t come from any pre-conceived idea, technique, practice, or tactic, which is terrifying for the mind and for the ego.
To follow one’s spirit means having the willingness and the faith to not only step forward through new doorways, but to also leave everything else behind. Everything we’ve been taught, everything we’ve been comfortable with, everything we thought was true and real. Every belief system (otherwise known as BS) up until that point.
All of it must go in order to step through the eye of that needle.
To follow spirit means to sacrifice the familiar, the comfortable and deeply set tracks that have promised so much, but ultimately only led us in circles.
To follow spirit means to set sail on uncertain or perhaps turbulent seas for an unknown shore. At least, that is how the mind perceives it.
And yet, what else is there?
A stagnant pond will close in on itself and gather snakes, bacteria, fungi, and viruses. It cannot lead us to new life. But a fresh spring flowing from the mountain? It carries life giving minerals, oxygenated water, and negative ions. Our spirit pours forth as the very Presence of The Creator in our lives; guiding us, directing us, supporting us.
If we will only step aside from the mind and seek instead to follow our own beloved spirit.