By André Brito
By André Brito

There are various notions of what being spiritual is and what constitutes spirituality. Most don’t go to nearly enough depth to make a real difference in a person’s life.

Our culture has been dealing with a commodification of spirituality. Often it matters more what clothes you’re wearing, which beads you carry and how many OMs are stitched into your scarf. Having a Buddha statue and soy candles is deemed more important than what you actually practice in front of them. That photo-quote you liked on Facebook isn’t going to change your life!

Commercialization of spirituality is a problem. The real problem, however, is the inability to embrace your spirituality and give it credence. This is the single biggest obstacle to giving spirituality its rightful place in the constellation that is you.

There’s an entire cottage industry that makes products for the new age demographic. Even your phone is targeted with meditation apps. What the marketplace won’t tell you is that the only industry that counts, is the one you commit to in making spirituality real and central in your life.

Spirituality has one problem: It’s elusive, numinous, ephemeral, intangible and invisible.

It’s also within. The brain, central nervous system and the five senses are geared outwardly, at least initially.

Taken together what this means is that while spirituality is a powerhouse when embraced and wielded properly, it has to first be recognized and appreciated. For this to happen an unlearning has to take place, followed by committed engagement.

Unlearning is to surface from the mistaken identification with all external data and input as being the only reality. Engagement is to bring home to yourself that spirituality is actually quite visible and tangible.

There are a variety of reasons you may not be bringing your spirituality to the forefront:

  • You equate spirituality with religion and have had bad experiences with religion.
  • Your life partner, family, friends and peers dismiss spirituality.
  • There’s fear of the unknown.
  • The status quo has you in a loop of inertia.
  • You feel too busy.
  • You’re waiting for the ‘perfect’ time and circumstances.

Spirituality is independent of religion. It is the living essence of religion. You can think of religion as the outer cultural garb of spirituality. Some religions are no longer around. Spirituality is something that can never die.

If there are people in your life who minimize or make fun of spirituality, that takes nothing away from the life-enhancing properties of spirituality. It’s simply their opinion and in fact resistance.

The unknown is part of life in every sphere. We face unknowns all the time.

Inertia doesn’t recommend itself just by its own nature!

Busyness is a false excuse. It’s a cover for something far more significant that spirituality can resolve.

Spirituality isn’t separated from life with all of its sordid details, or its refinery and beauty. Therefore, NOW is the perfect time to engage your spirituality. Now. There’s no other time.

For most people, spirituality is a disembodied notion, one that’s not tethered to daily life or one mistakenly left to the waning hours of life.

The problem is that the search for meaning and purpose is an ancient nag that’s hardwired in our DNA—it simply doesn’t go away until there’s at least some satisfaction and fulfillment. The weight of this unresolved feeling is great and insidious. It’s defining and burdensome. It penetrates the entire constellation that is you.

What does it take to use the life we already have in order to make us wiser rather than more stuck? What is the source of wisdom at a personal, individual level?… The answer to these questions seems to have to do with bringing everything that we encounter to the path… When we realize that the path is the goal, there’s a sense of workability. Everything that occurs in our confused mind we can regard as the path. Everything is workable.

— Pema Chödrön


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