They say religion makes you bow and spirituality sets you free. I’ve come across many people who consider themselves less religious and more spiritual. What is the difference? Religion is more of following an existing belief where as spirituality is more of self-discovery. I’ve been super religious and an atheist. Currently as an agnostic, I’d say I am clueless about Almighty affairs. I do have a sudden pang of emotion towards God and at the same time question the necessity of his existence with the way the world is running. I gave up religion long ago and tried to understand spirituality with little or no success.
I see a lot of pseudo spiritualists out there. There are self styled Gurus who claim to follow and teach the path of non-materialism, yet run a yoga and meditation centre with basic courses, intermediary courses and advanced courses with different fee structures? Why can’t you run your center for free? The message of truth, love and peace comes with a cost. Which pops the next question, are these teachings genuine? Are you actually heading towards the path of self-realization? Buddha should have set up an institute and copyrighted all of his teachings.
Anyone can embrace spirituality today. But is spirituality for losers? Are you unable to compete in this fierce and cruel world? Are you 40 and still haven’t achieved anything remarkable in life? Do you have many regrets in life and need an escape? Are you psychologically depressed and a lone soul? Then spirituality might just be for you! Because with spirituality, you don’t have to try hard anymore. You can call success and a huge bank balance nothing but ego and pride. All you have to do is disown everything and meditate under a banyan tree.
Actually none of the above is true. Spirituality is for the mature. There are successful people who have discarded their materialistic life and found bliss and peace of mind. When you realize that everything is an illusion and nothing lasts long, you embrace the path of spirituality, where you have an inner awakening. Not everyone experiences this. Spirituality is not an escape. It’s about finding inner peace.
Someone I knew had a disastrous life. Let’s call this person MissMiserable. A failed relationship, betrayed by own children, no one to take care of while growing old and embedded in an emotional turmoil, life was indeed harsh. I don’t consider MissMiserable a loser, just someone who was screwed up badly by life. One day, MissMiserable joined a reputed yoga center. After being introduced to “spirituality” and various discourses along with countless yoga and meditation sessions, MissMiserable is now considered a half yogi who has realized the truth and real knowledge of the universe. There was a complete transformation of this very person. This astonishes me. I swear I could see a halo behind her head.
I think what happened here was MissMiserable managed to find something called ‘hope’. A purpose for living was found. All this baggage of family, money, shelter, fame and status in the society were all let go. When you lose ego, you gain happiness.
To me there is nothing wrong in being materialistic. If your thing is all about fame, money and sensory pleasures, then it is your choice and no one has the rights to judge. If for someone, it is to lose his or her false sense of ego and develop a resistance towards worldly pressure, then you have taken a spiritualistic approach. I mean, whatever floats your boat.
Saints, philosophers and scriptures all talk about eternal happiness, being in a state of trance where one achieves ‘Nirvana’. In Hindu philosophy, it is termed as merging with the bramhan (highest bliss). A person achieves moksha when one attains nirvana. Moksha is liberation. This means that the soul is free. There are no desires and it is in a permanent state of bliss. Obviously a nutcase like me cannot explain what moksha or nirvana means.
As I said, it’s not for everyone. At least for me spirituality will not put a piece of bread on my plate. Unless someone teaches me how to conquer hunger, I am far away from such things. Spirituality is not for losers. It’s for finders. And finders will be keepers.