Spiritual growth has always been integral to an individual’s sense of wellbeing, even before mankind has conceptualized the term and digested it in a multitude of ways that it eventually sprung up different methodologies on how one can build upon it. You name it – yoga, karma, or maybe reincarnation. There are so many that they range from the most mystical to the most practical. But whether you are already treading your own “spiritual path”, or in deep need of spiritual fulfillment, a deep understanding of what spirituality is can be very helpful in more ways than one.
To ensure that we completely understand what spirituality is, maybe it is important that we discuss the meaning of the root word itself; Spirit is an intangible property, one that refers to something incorporeal, something mysterious and never bound by the material world. The most acclaimed scholar and physicist, Albert Einstein, referred to spirituality with these words: “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious – the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science”. This brings us to the 2 things that he pointed out – science and art. Both of these have dominated human’s awareness while achieving answers to the mysteries that have confounded us about the world. These two indulgences, polar opposites as they may be, have paved the way to the development of technology and human awareness.
The search for answers is deeply rooted to our innate need to gain knowledge about ourselves, and how we are connected to everything around us. Mundane activities like fixing a car engine or observing an ant farm are unconscious manifestations of that need, and in consequence, related to spirituality. You only have to read Robert M. Pasig’s magnum opus, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, to understand what I’m talking about. While this contradicts the idea of spirituality as something not bound in the material world, these physical avenues are helpful channels that allow us to achieve that transcendence, and in turn present to us a peek into the mysterious.
Many people achieve spiritual sustenance through meditation. Meditation is a process of serious contemplation, or turning inward to attain a profound condition of peacefulness, focus and awareness. The idea of meditation came from the Eastern cultures, and it has been developed by the West as a form of prayer. Buddhist monks are astute in their belief that meditation is the best way to Enlightenment, which explains the sanguine temperament through which they deal with others.
A typical false impression many people make is having the notion that spirituality is exclusive to religion. While it’s true that religion has helped many people to lead spiritual lives, it only suggests a few aspects that constitute the whole concept of spirituality. Spirituality is a confluence, a heightened understanding of what we are and how we are connected to the whole spectrum of life, and the discernment that everything is equally important and dependent on each other.
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