Are you one of the increasing numbers of people who consider themselves as “spiritual but not religious?”
Are you clear about what you should be doing and your goal?
If you were to ask a group of people, “What is spirituality?” you’ll likely hear various ways how spirituality can be practiced. It would generally include activities that enable them to feel inner peace, and a deeper connection to the earth and a higher power.
These activities could include practicing yoga, mindfulness, and meditation; or being kind to others and the earth by making ethical choices and eating vegetarian or vegan.
These are all different ways to feel a spiritual connection but what exactly is spirituality?
What is the core value you must know about being spiritual?
Spirituality provides the vision of life
To find the answers, I consulted a little booklet called, “The Essence of Spirituality” written by spiritual master and teacher of Vedanta, Swami Tejomayananda.
In it, he tells us that spirituality encompasses the pursuits related to understanding and unfolding our essential spiritual nature.
But he clarifies that “Spirituality is not activity-based, but attitude-based.”
Spirituality provides a vision that guides our choices and actions in life.
What is this spiritual vision? It comes from the highest spiritual truth—the truth of the oneness of existence.
The ONE thing
“Oneness” points to the fact that all things and beings come from one infinite source and are its innumerable expressions.
This source, known as Spirit, lends existence, life, energy, and movement to the entire world.
A simple way to understand this concept is to take the example of the ocean. All forms of the ocean such as big and small waves, currents, ripples, spray, froth and bubbles are various expressions of one and the same ocean.
Going deeper into this analogy, all the expressions of the ocean are essentially water in different forms.
Similarly, things and beings in creation are essentially spirit in an infinite variety of forms.
In other words, we are intrinsically one.
Transformation by applying Oneness
Allowing the truth of the oneness of all creation to sink into our minds, and using it to guide our choices and actions will transform every aspect of our lives.
At a personal level, it would eliminate the need to reinforce moral and ethical codes of conduct. We would automatically conduct ourselves in an ethical manner.
Just as you wouldn’t intentionally harm yourself, you wouldn’t think of harming another. For instance, if you accidentally bit your tongue, you’d never get angry and remove your teeth in retaliation. The tongue and teeth are all one “you.”
In the same way, we would know that what we do to others, we do to ourselves.
In our relationships, we would always be kind, helpful, and forgiving. We would bypass our superficial differences and naturally practice love, tolerance, acceptance, co-operation, patience, understanding, respect, honesty, humility, and generosity.
When interacting with the outer world, there would be no “otherness.” Therefore, there would be no guns, wars or conflicts, greed or jealousy.
In our daily lifestyle choices, we would consider the good of other beings, the environment and the planet.
We would not support businesses, organisations and governments that violate fundamental human rights or condone animal testing or cruelty of any kind.
We would buy and use “green” products that are not harmful to the environment. And we would choose a vegan lifestyle and diet.
To realise the ONE is our goal
Spiritual masters from all traditions urge us to rediscover our innate spiritual essence. Once we do, we will realise the same essence everywhere. This will bring us the absolute happiness we are all searching for because the nature of Spirit is pure bliss.
Until we gain this realisation, oneness will remain a concept, a beautiful ideal to be lived up to.
So, if you consider yourself spiritual but not religious, it’s important to understand that the goal of both is to realise the ONE in all. Spirituality calls it “Spirit” and religion calls it “God.”
The language and methods may differ, but spirituality and religion lead to the same goal.
We may start with taking the truth of oneness to heart and living up to it in all our daily interactions, choices and actions.
Vedanta tells us that as we advance spiritually, we will gradually gain greater and greater purity of mind and single-pointed focus.
As we sit in meditation with such a pure mind, we will rediscover the one spiritual essence within us and in all of creation, and thereby find total fulfilment in life.
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