Why do some people tune out when they hear what they call ‘spiritual stuff’? There are so many differing interpretations of spirituality that they are probably confused and don’t care to hear any more.
To understand spiritual concepts, let’s start by getting a clear meaning of the words spirituality, being spiritual and Spirit from the perspective of Vedanta, the spiritual science of life.
Spirituality, Being Spiritual and Spirit
The word, spirituality has a suffix ty added it. Generally, ty is added to nouns to express a quality or a condition. The word spirituality then, comes to mean “the quality of being spiritual.”
When we are being spiritual, we are living in alignment with our essential spiritual nature. Although we live and function as human beings, Spirit is who we really are.
Which brings us to another question – what is Spirit?
Vedanta asserts that Spirit is the life-giving factor that animates matter. * It explains that the physical body and the mind are gross and subtle matter respectively. Matter doesn’t have consciousness and cannot function on its own. We are acting, feeling and thinking beings because of the animating power of Spirit.
Spirit is the unseen power that enables the senses to take in sound, taste, form, smell and touch and the mind to feel and think. A simple analogy that we can all relate to is that of electricity which enables appliances to function even as it lies unseen behind them. **
The teachings of Vedanta tell us that Spirit is the Supreme Source from which all things and beings in creation come from, are sustained in and dissolve into at the end of their existence.
Think with the Heart and Feel with the Head
To understand spiritual concepts, we can’t use only our thinking capacities.
My guru Swami Chinmayananda, a master of Vedanta, tells that that we need to think with the heart and feel with the head. What a strange thing – what does this mean?
What it means is that we cannot understand spirituality using only rational scientific observation, analysis, experimentation and results. These are the materialist’s tools to understand life. They are not the right means to gain spiritual knowledge.
The materialist doesn’t believe in anything that cannot be perceived, measured or proved. He wants the scientific proof of the facts before accepting anything.
His mantra is, I’ll believe it when I see it.
The spiritual person, on the other hand, has a totally different view.
The spiritual person says, I’ll see it when I believe it.
The spiritual person realizes that there is an inherent beauty and intelligence in the world Therefore, there must be a higher power that oversees and controls the natural laws.
Isn’t it true that much of what we see in the world cannot be explained or proven but can only be experienced?
For example, we can’t explain the intelligence that heals a finger that has been cut. Science can observe, understand and explain the processes that take place to heal it, but it cannot explain how the body innately knows what to do so.
Science can explain that tulips planted in the Fall will sprout in the spring when the weather warms up, but it cannot explain why.
We know that when we go to sleep at night, morning will be there to welcome us when we wake up. Science tells us that the earth’s rotation causes night and day. But science cannot explain what keeps the earth turning in the first place.
Albert Einstein’s take on the world
A knowledgeable and wise person realizes just how little he actually knows.
Albert Einstein once said, There is no logical way to the discovery of elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance.
There must be a willingness to keep an open mind and heart to fully comprehend and appreciate spirituality. This is the best way to understand it.
* Read What is spirit? for a better understanding.
** Read Proof that you are a spiritual being. (Part 1/3)
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