Spirituality Versus Religiosity
Religion is tremendously important: it gives you identity, a sense of community; of belonging. It also teaches you right from wrong, it humanises you, socialises you. But is also inspires chauvinism, breeds intolerance and creates a sense of the ‘OTHER’.
I am not a very religious person, I am not even sure that I believe in God in the sense of a super-being who creates and controls everything and wreaks retribution swiftly and brutally. I think I am more of a pantheist, who sees God in nature and think of nature as God.
In any case I think that for there to be harmony in the world, we need less religion and more spirituality. The word spirituality is a word much bandied about, but what does it really mean? Spirituality, simply put signifies an attempt to find the good within and without, and battle negativity. The basis of spirituality is to know our true selves, to discover the real nature of consciousness.
My prayer therefore is more akin to meditation than prayer in the conventional sense. I think I really connect with myself, my spirit when I sit to do riyaaz with my taanpura. Riyaaz is when I sing (Indian classical music can produce the most uplifting sounds in the world) and the taanpura is a very simple 4 stringed instrument that provides the base notes as an accompaniment for singing. It plays no tune, but the ringing repetitive sounds of the notes have the most calming and soothing effect on me.
For all those who seek a spiritual plane, I suggest seek your own Taanpura; which is to me, the metaphor for my spirituality. It is an instrument or a channel that connects me to my inner self, gives me joy, uplifts me immeasurably and at the same time brings me peace, calm and inner contentment.
You can seek your spirituality thru anything; prayer, meditation, reading, listening to music, taking a walk, even sitting and just staring at a beautiful flower or tree. Any of these and a myriad other ways can lead to recognition of a deeper sense of and greater inner peace, an inner security and beauty.
By attaining this level of self knowledge, we become less dependent on things, possessions and how other people see us to determine our own self worth. Our sense of identity is less reliant on the outer trappings such as wealth, position, status etc. We begin to value our own selves for our intrinsic worth, not the value that others place on us.
I don’t know if I effectually conveyed all that spirituality means to me, but in a nutshell, it is about being in harmony with my inner self as well as all those around me. Nothing more complicated than that.
The Union of Religion and Spirituality: Bhajan (song of Hindu devotion) sung by Begum Parveen Sultana a Muslim artiste
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