Spirituality Contradicting Religion
Today, I opened my most prized possession, my Merriam-Webster dictionary, which has been a friend and a long time companion to me. It would be amusing to some that it has accompanied me to my bed as well, in my growing years. I would go on to admit that my dictionary has been a God send to me and I have every reason to state that. When everything was bleak, it showed me ray of hope; when in doubt, it had my back; when I needed perfection, it was the absolute place to dig. It was my ideal teacher that helped me discern right from wrong. However, today I was left defeated by its Lilliputianism; its meaning of spirituality spiraled around religion and clergy.
Spirit is the Mecca of spirituality
Spirit is the Mecca of spirituality, which means ‘soul’ or ‘psyche’. Spirituality in its true form is ‘connecting to thy innermost self’. Thyself, that embodies peace, harmony and tranquility. I gather spirituality from nature; the unhindered wind to whose magic, the leaves dance; the snow capped mountains, which glitter exuberantly at the first trace of sunshine; the sounds of sparkling water that harmonize with my soul; the mother earth that carries our weight uncomplainingly.
Spirituality is synonymous with religion?
How can spirituality be only synonymous with religion, as we observe in today’s world those profoundly claiming to be religious tend to bring chaos and horror? Countries fighting in the name of religion, territories formed in the name of religion, honor killing for the sake of religion, rape and torture in the name of religion, political parties banking votes in the name of religion, wars being fought in the name of religion, terrorists nurturing in the name of religion, people dying in the name of religion. Is that the quintessence of Spirituality?
What about an atheist, isn’t he a spiritual being? Is it that a person, who is not religious, lacks spirituality? My eyes have witnessed an atheist veiling the nakedness of a howling woman and also a priest heartlessly walking by a dying man. Who is more spiritual, the heartless priest or the compassionate atheist? I find myself one with Anthony Douglas Williams in his scribing, “Spirituality is not restricted to religion. It comes from our soul.”
My heart has cried over the events of doctors discarding ‘she’ fetus in trash and yet, it has crowed at the news of a lion protecting an innocent girl from devouring men. Who is more humane, the ‘godly’ doctor or the ‘brute’ lion?
Reflecting on quotes and the Speaking Tree
Swami Vivekananda elucidates, “You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher, but your own soul.”
Contemplating these lines by Swamiji, I am reminded of an excerpt that I read as a child on “Speaking Tree”, which has left an indelible mark on my soul and yet, peers have laughed at my naivety when I enthused over it. I am prepared to be a naïve again, “Once, a monk meditating by a river notices a scorpion drowning; he abandons his meditation to rescue the drowning scorpion. On saving it, the monk attempts to land it on dry surface, but before he can do that, the scorpion stings him and as the monk flinches from the sting, it drowns again. The monk again tries to save the scorpion, but is repeatedly stung by the scorpion. This spectacle is noticed by a passing hunter, who is amused at monk’s perseverance at saving a lowly life. He soon grew weary at the sight and approached the monk with best interest in his heart and addresses him deferentially, “Do you not perceive it is in a scorpion’s nature to sting even if you try and save it.” The monk replies ingenuously, “If an animal can stay true to his nature, then, being a human, why can’t I?”
Human nature and its relation to spirituality
“External nature is only internal nature writ large.”- Swami Vivekananda.
There are various examples to elaborate on the words of Swami. What we more than often tend to think is how we act and what we tend to eat is how the body gets shaped. The subject that is more inline with our passions is what we tend to find interest in learning. There's seems to be a strong link between our internal self to that of our external nature.
Internal nature, the ego and God worshippers
“Manly is he, that in all situations be a true judge to his ego himself. All worship the ego, worshippers of God are very very few.” – Rasala Roohi Sharif
A sufi saint Sultan Bahu (r) relates the human internal nature to how true a person is i.e in his worship to God. Consider example of third world countries, where the Jury can be politically influenced or be bribed to hand out unjust verdicts. Hence it can be regarded if a person is not a true judge of his own character and actions thus in real life he/she cannot be considered to be a reliable jurist for handing out case verdicts.
My Question to you?
My curiosity overpowers me and I am tempted to ask, “What does spirituality mean to you?”