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Spiritualism unraveled: Spirituality is a complex concept, and most of us have it all wrong

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Spirituality is sometimes the most misunderstood and misrepresented aspect of life. It is being presented around the world in utterly oblivious and misleading ways. A lot of it is well-meaning, but they are largely ineffective. Because of this, the first thing that comes to many minds when you mention the words spirituality or spiritual life are monks in a monastery or a yogi up on the mountains. We are living in a time when most people refrain from talking about the topic as a whole, due to its controversial nature.

Most people, it appears to me, think of a spiritual life to be one that requires sacrificing everything and allows no fun, freedom or passion. On the contrary a true spiritual life not only takes you to heights of ecstasy you have never dreamed of, it also brings you freedom you could never imagine.

In the past, spirituality was always at the core of all great ancient cultures. These cultures thrived in all aspects of life, be they from Europe, Asia or the Americas. Their systems were much more profound and intelligent than ours. These cultures respected mother earth and took each step with reverence. Their societies were ecologically sustainable; all forms of art had thrived to a peak during those times. Furthermore, these cultures birthed the most brilliant minds the world has ever known and built the most elaborate and awe inspiring structures that probably could not be imitated today if we wanted to.

The practice of spirituality breaks the boundaries that we have created and we begin to experience that at a deeper level we are not individuals at all, we are all connected by a life force or energy that pervades everything. If you look at life from a broader perspective, you realize that everyone is just a tiny part of this one living entity called Earth. Such ancient people believed that every action determines the fate of Mother Earth. With such reverence and perception, these cultures could not help but thrive in harmony. But at various points in history this way of life was destroyed by the religious wars, the conquerors and then finally the industrial revolution. Although a lot of spiritual traditions were destroyed, a few still remain.

If you look at life from a broader perspective, you realize that everyone is just a tiny part of this one living entity called Earth.

In essence spirituality is the process of exploring our full potential in all dimensions. For the most part humanity has invested all effort and attention only on one dimension, the material. We have been accustomed to believe that solutions are created by fixing things in the material world. We believe that progress in life means having more and more material things. Ultimately everyone is seeking fulfillment in life, but unfortunately we have the notion that it can be achieved through external means like money, power and status. Anyone who has all this will tell you otherwise. The truth is that we have infinite potential. The choice to be happy or sad is yours; it is only when you begin to identify yourself with the situation that you are bound by it. There are dimensions within us that we do not even imagine, but the way we think and the things we believe in creates limitations in our perception and experience.

The world is in such a bad state because we live unintelligently and our understanding of life is far from reality. We are limiting ourselves by believing that we are just our thoughts, memories, emotions, possessions, status, and nationality and so on. When the fact of the matter is, we are much more than that. By using spiritual tools like meditation, one begins to observe that things like thoughts and emotions are just happenings that occur in our experience and that we have the choice to transcend them. We have become experts at various things, but when it comes to the self, we are the worst managers. A lot of people are struggling in the world just to survive. Still there are those of us who have all the essentials for a comfortable life but still struggle because we mismanage the self. The aspects of it that we mismanage most are thoughts and emotions. They have such power over us that it confines us to live a limited life. We are not our thoughts and emotions. We are not our possessions or relationships or status. Still, we identify ourselves with them so much that after some time it becomes our reality. It has become difficult for most people to carry out life with a clear perception of what is. Does it not make sense that we should first learn to manage ourselves, this piece of life, which is our body, mind and soul, the way we want it to be before we can go about doing other things? The world we are living in is our creation, we have collectively built it. It is a reflection of what is happening within us. When there is disharmony within, naturally what we create will also be of the same nature. How can we go about making a world that we want when we cannot even make ourselves the way we want? In the spiritual process the first thing we do is explore and understand ourselves.

The world is in such a bad state because we live unintelligently and our understanding of life is far from reality.

If one desires it, the science of spirituality is still available today. I received it from Osho. He is one person who has conserved many of these spiritual sciences. He has simplified them for everyone to understand, without compromising the profoundness, in some cases even enhancing them. He has made spirituality into a fun and playful process so that we can integrate it into our lives with ease. According to him spirituality should be a natural part of life like eating or sleeping. I feel this is the only way to bring significant change to humanity’s evolutionary path. The best you can do is bring change at the personal level (you cannot change another person, you can only change yourself ) and the world will change on its own accord.

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