A question I’m often asked is “is there an easy path to becoming spiritual?” or “do I have to be religious in order to be spiritual?”
I also often hear statements like “I’m not religious like you so, therefore, I cannot be spiritual”. Or, “I don’t believe in God or religion, therefore, spirituality is not for me”.
Religion and Spirituality
My response to the above question and statements is a series of my own questions:
- What does spirituality mean to you? Why do you think you are not spiritual already?
- Why do you feel that you have to be religious or believe in God to be spiritual?
- If you are religious or believe in God, then does that mean that you are also spiritual?
Most people begin to ponder long and hard over these questions. Others don’t appreciate my questions because there isn’t a straight-forward answer. For some, the questions I ask above also raises uncertainty about their beliefs in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
This article outlines the easy easy path to become spiritual if you not already. It is not about religion or God. People can choose whatever religion or organization they wish to belong to. People’s religious affiliation might even change over their lifetime depending on their beliefs.
First, let’s define what spirituality is and then consider the easy path to becoming spiritual.
Why People Think They Are Not Spiritual
There are many reasons why people may think they are not spiritual, and I cannot speculate why they might think or feel the way they do. I will say, however, that for most people they struggle with the ideas of spirituality, and God is because of one thing… their ego.
So, what exactly is the ego? I’ve already written an article on ego, so I won’t repeat it here but it’s important to understand that there is a mystical, never-ending source of intelligence and creativity that exists. The way to know this is to consider the following:
- How is it that the planets are perfectly aligned?
- What makes the earth spin around its axis at a steady rate?
- How is it that the sun never loses its ability to warm our bones?
- What is it that created our body and the organs within, that constantly beats our hearts, that continually grows our nails?
I know what you’re thinking… more questions! Ego is born when you become separated from this magical source.
What does it mean to be spiritual?
There are many dictionary definitions for the word “spiritual” but none of them are useful in the context in which we want to consider spirituality.
Spirituality is a practice that means that being spiritual is not belonging to an organization or subscribing to a set of religious beliefs. It’s not even necessarily about believing in God. Rather, it is a way of being.
For me, Dr. Wayne Dyer made this very clear many years ago when he described this very idea as “it’s not that you must be a Buddhist but be Buddha-like, not that you must be Christian but be Christ-like, not that you must be Muslim but be Mohamed-like”.
It’s not that you must be a Hindu but be Krishna-like.
This for me is an easy concept to understand because it separates religion, God, and spirituality. Spirituality does not discriminate – you can become a spiritual regardless of race, gender, age, religion, or belief in God.
Now, lets delve deeper to determine if there is indeed an easy path to becoming spiritual.
The Path to Spirituality
Below is a quote from a famous poet, Rumi:
“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment”– Jalaluddin Rumi
This quote, in the context of spirituality, is interesting and powerful because it not only explains why people may believe that they are not spiritual but also shows a clear path to becoming a spiritual practitioner.
Below is my interpretation of Rumi’s quote:
Sell your Cleverness
“Cleverness” in this perspective means knowledge that we pick from the time we’re born. This knowledge comes from parents, teachers, families, society, and, of course, social media. This knowledge resides in our logical or conscious minds.
Selling cleverness means becoming aware of this knowledge and letting go of the logical mind. The logical mind is the one that accumulates thoughts and emotions over time that influences the way we see ourselves and the world around us. It generally creates a reality that is not reflective of how things really are.
The raw dictionary definition of bewilderment does not help us here. I think of bewilderment as a state of joy – the kind of joy we all experienced when we were young where everything was fun and magical.
As adults, if we are fortunate, we may experience bewilderment when we are totally consumed and fascinated by something to a point where even though we don’t have all the answers, we’re in a complete state of joy and delight.
Joy and Delight is the key
For example, we may feel this way when we witness something of incredible beauty such as a black swan. But it does not have to be one of these rare events for you to feel bewilderment. We just have to look at nature to understand this – have you ever noticed how the birds are always singing? Each day these birds don’t know where their food will come from but have you ever seen a depressed bird? A bird that doesn’t sing?
As human beings, we sometimes, through our “cleverness” miss out on bewilderment. A little dose of bewilderment combined with a little wisdom makes us Krishna-like.
Rumi’s quote is very powerful but, in practical terms, how do we sell “cleverness” and purchase “bewilderment”. Keep reading to find out.
The Path to Spirituality: Practicing Spirituality
There are few things you can do in order to start practicing spirituality and becoming spiritual:
Still your Mind
The best way to sell your cleverness is to keep an open mind… and then make it still. Not everything has to be loud! Being able to still your mind is the essence of meditation and will allow you to find your true self.
Meditation in and of itself will not allow you to become spiritual. Rather it is a vehicle that will allow you to get to a place within yourself where you can connect with spirituality.
Start practicing meditation by focusing on either your breathing or an object which represents happiness for you.
You may think that you don’t have time in your busy schedule to meditate. This is not the right way to think about this. You can always find 1 or 2 minutes during the day to practice meditation. I routinely meditate on the train during my daily commutes.
Being able to still your mind will allow you to momentarily let go of your conscious mind and reach your true self.
How much time do you spend being happy or are in a state of bewilderment or cheerfulness?
If you have negative thoughts or emotions, they will only expand and get bigger bringing you more of what you don’t want. There can be no misery or doubts when you are in a state of bewilderment.
What is the extent you feel connected to other people? The ego, by nature, thinks you are separate from others.
Being spiritual means that you understand and feel connected to everything and everyone. Even though we have separate bodies, as human beings we are connected at some level to each other and to all the things around us.
Become a Better You
It is important to understand the difference between self-contest and competition. Self-contest or cooperation is about becoming better than you were in everything you do daily – as a parent, as a student, as a son or daughter, friend, and in your job.
We need not compete for everything all the time. This is difficult to understand and practice because being competitive is drummed into us from a very young age through our parenting, schooling, and society.
Give up being better than others, instead, try to become better today than you were yesterday.
Help those that are suffering or those that simply need our help in understanding something or getting something done. This could be as simple as helping someone cross the road. Helping a stray pet its owner. Helping someone with directions. Even picking up litter helps!
Just picking up litter one time does not make you spiritual! Spirituality is a way of being. It’s a life-long, rewarding practice.
I expect you routinely do some or all the above. So it’ll be no big surprise that the easy path to becoming spiritual is actually quite… easy.
A better question to now ask yourself is not if you are spiritual, but instead how spiritual are you?
You might find it useful to return to this article perhaps at the beginning of each month to have a quick read.
We all need reminders from time to time of things that we already know but seem to forget with busy lifestyles and unnecessary distractions.