27 January 2017

Creating a more spiritual life in society

                 Image result for hafiz spiritual

 How can we be more spiritual? 

It is easier than you think. The thing about spirituality, is that it can grow. We don't just suddenly become deeply spiritual. It's a process whereby we grow into being more and more spiritual.

Let go of previous concepts

I know from many years of immersing myself in living a spiritual life, that we often have lofty ideals of what being spiritual is. I know that my ideas have certainly changed over the years. 

I thought for a long time, that one had to live in an ashram environment, get up between 3.30 to 4.30 am each morning for strong yoga practices including advanced techniques and long meditation. But in some yoga ashrams, very little yoga practice is actually done by the residents. 

And practicing a lot of yoga does not in itself, make us spiritual, although it can and definitely does, increase the building blocks of spirituality. 

You will have your own ideas of what being spiritual is all about. and many of these ideas will be quite valid. I really think that part of my own spiritual path was that I did have a lot to learn regarding concepts, dreams, and reality.

Find our own way in society

Most of us have to learn how to be spiritual within society. It is easy to "be more spiritual" in an environment which supports that, like an ashram, or a retreat. Living in society is definitely harder. If we are up all hours studying, or tending to children, or doing shift work, for example, then getting up before dawn ends up being an impossible mission. 

Often it works better, to do less, but be more consistent. Shorter posture sessions. Shorter meditation. Just be more regular. If you read over my previous posts you will see that I am a great fan of regularity. More or less the same things at roughly the same times, each day, as best as one can manage. Obviously there will be times when it just doesn't happen, and that's fine too.

This way we can gradually keep increasing our pranic levels, and having high prana (also known as chi, or mauri) is one of the keys to keep evolving on the mystical system of chakras and such. 

We may have to change our attitude 

One of the things about being in an ashram, is that one does all of one's work as an expression of devotion (bhakti), and as service to others (seva). And this is truly wonderful. How spiritual all our lives would be if everything was done in this spirit by everyone!

But....it is really hard to do this in society (as I found out!)

I originally learnt another way of working: the path of karma yoga. In this context it means that we just do what we need to do, for example if you are a parent then you do parenting, if you are a student, then you study, an artist paints.

In an ashram, all work is done like volunteer labour, without expectation of the fruits of one's labour. And, ideally, everything is done with one-pointedness, which means that we are aware of what we are doing. And, rather than focus on our thoughts and feelings, loves and hates, whilst we are in karma yoga mode, get into the habit of doing what you have to do with relaxed one-pointedness, and allow those thoughts, those feelings, let them move into the background and don't stop them...just let them flow. Of course, from time to time, you will find yourself getting caught up in your thoughts. We are all like that.

Return your focus to what you are doing, and as you get into the swing of all this, over a period of time, you will find that distressing emotions and thoughts, will subside. Karma yoga is truly wonderful and can be done anywhere.

For those same old thoughts and feelings that keep coming up, keep upsetting us.....they are giving us messages. Our psyche is trying to tell us that these are issues that we need to do something about.

We have to do some things to be spiritual

But there are so many things that we are advised to do to be spiritual! What do we choose? The most important thing that I found that consistently works, is to follow your heart. In regards to right and wrong, our heart is always trying to whisper to us, and it can take a while to learn how to listen to it, and how to interpret the messages that it is sending us. 

The physical heart is the bridge between our everyday life and deep spirituality. If you want to be spiritual, to experience joy, light, the Divine, learn to be one with your heart. 

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