Does my claim against spirituality offend you?
Does it drive you away from reading any further because you sense a negative rant coming your way?
We are flawed in several ways – our mind and body constantly requires nurturing to be healthy. It demands challenges, relaxation, entertainment, adventure and most of all peace. In spite of all the flaws, we survive and prosper inexplicably to reach new highs. Our imperfections often lead us to questioning our purpose and we seek to find the answers through spirituality.
A popular notion developed in the spiritual world is to relinquish one’s identity or sense of self. While the idea is to enhance our mind to perceive beyond ourselves, it has often been misconstrued as a suggestion to obstruct our thoughts completely.
Are you still with me?
Rather than debate our beliefs on the theory of evolution, let’s keep it simple and agree that humans have come a long way to be where we are today. What separates us humans from animals? Some of the first reactions might be the ability to walk upright, the power to communicate with speech due to the possession of an enhanced vocal system and the unique potential to observe various things and learn from them. However, the most important difference between man and beast is the power to self-reflect. Humans can experience things beyond their own perspective, we can imagine beyond our self and can consciously realize the feeling of being alive! Simply put, we have the ability to THINK!
Play catch with your dog and he will be uncomplainingly happy for the rest of his life, but a human mind will be tired soon and figure out a way to improve this way of living and build a ball launcher machine. Our minds are inherently never satisfied with our current state of being and we keep seeking for improvements and adjustments to somehow attain that magical state. We look forward to new experiences, new ideas and new people to stimulate our minds. Unlike animals, a mundane daily routine often starts to creep into our minds, nudging constantly to break free from the repetitive chain and we attempt to augment our existence, by gaining either material possessions or spiritual experiences.
It is this cognizance that has allowed us to revolutionize our entire existence from being hunters to farmers to pave the way for industrial and technological revolutions. This power has enabled us to extend our lifetime with innovations to prevent and cure the human body. We live in the age of globalization where access to information is a few clicks away and our mind still continues to bridge this gap with continuous improvements. With each passing day, our ability to think has enhanced our existence, that we often take for granted and ignore to acknowledge the power we possess.
However, in recent times where spirituality is our solution to imperfections and suffering, we are faced with contradicting notions about the power of our mind. I am a spiritual person and often spend a lot of time wondering and questioning various aspects of existence to reflect upon myself. While I have nothing against the new age leaders, it is the misinterpretation that needs clarification.
The fallacy lies in the idea of spirituality, where this unique ability to think is sometimes portrayed as an enemy. Suggestions from leaders that encourage you to stop thinking or to avoid the constant chatter of your mind have created a notion that your mind and its manifestations are flawed leading to your state of unhappiness. It is misleading and abstract when you are told to simply shut the mind which thereby nullifies the entire principle of being a human. We are humans because we think, and if we do not, what are we?
You will often hear suggestions from friends and family when you are going through a crisis in life “Just don’t think about it, it will be fine.” The more you hear it, the more you think about it! What drives you away from thinking about your crisis? We tend to revert to activities that help divert our attention from the thoughts that destroy us. However, the ability to select and perform that activity stems from another thought! If you simply stopped thinking, you will be stuck at your last thought forever. New thoughts bring the necessary change required to conquer your past, just like new relations often erase the memory of past painful experiences.
Spirituality isn’t about blocking away your thoughts, but it is about embracing new thoughts while taking control over old ones. Being aware of your minds chatter and channelizing it appropriately in the best possible productive manner, is the simplest summation of all of spirituality. It may not require you to travel to mountain tops, or to chant hymns or even sit aimlessly trying to stop your mind from thinking. Forcing your mind to do so is a thought itself, and believing this flawed notion can leave you devoid of achieving greater things.
To be alive and to live in the present moment, our mind requires awareness and acceptance of all forms of thoughts about the past or the future, but the strength to reject its interference with our reality NOW!
Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts ~Buddha