What does being “Spiritual” mean to you?

I read a comment online by someone, referencing “Spiritual people.” I paused at this statement, thinking about what that even means. I recalled a funny skit about being Ultra-Spiritual by JP Sears: “…being ultra-spiritual has nothing to do with being spiritual (air quotes), because nobody actually knows what being spiritual actually is…”.

I asked my husband if he thought he was “Spiritual” and he said he was. I asked him what that meant to him. He had trouble articulating it.

After pondering a bit, I could not feel that there is such a group as “Spiritual people.” There is only us – the human race – all of it, and at various levels of evolution. We do appear to be on a journey together and we call it Life – seen and unseen. If this is Spiritual, then it applies to all of us and there is no separate group.

But there are many groups – online and in person. Bazillion groups. People are always trying to find other people with similar interests and attitudes – to do what…? Well, in some cases to hang out and have fun. Finding those who understand what we go through is calming and healing. There are many Spiritual groups who discuss diverse topics, stimulate their curiosity about life, and we go home happy. Also, asking for or being a sounding board can help us stay sane. Other people are excellent at calling insanity 😀

Groups are good, right? Well, maybe companions on the path is better. What path? The path that helps one realize that they are not the body, not the emotions, not the mind, but something that is indescribable (except maybe in Sanskrit) and is Living everything all at once.

So, I took stock and jotted down what spiritual evolution means to me at this point in time (it changed over time):

  • Identify/be aware of that which lives everything
  • Not living for “myself” (not the same as self-denial or ascetic)
  • Be humble to the vastness of our existence
  • Allow the mind and all the various grades of bodies (physical, vital, emotional, mind) to become aligned with the One Life that lives us all simultaneously
  • Bring that understanding into every thought, word, and action to serve others in whatever way I am able
  • Keep purifying the bodies in the fire, which is stoked brightly by the friction of who I Am and embodying that
  • Learn from my mistakes and do better next time
  • Take full responsibility for my life as it is and work out all that is not yet balanced
  • Learn and intently study how to discern subtle dynamics among people and events, and hone how to meet energy with the appropriate intensity of response 
  • Be open and available to constant change
  • Remain utterly fearless in the face of confusion and Darkness
  • Practice Love in its broad range of possible ways – from nice to flame-throwing stubborn and stuck energy
  • Be utterly comfortable with just how little I still know, and keep learning

I remember reading about how spiritual trials (the fire of purification) are ultimately weathered alone to build our strength and allow us to pass through the crucible. From what? The tangled web of previous experiences and imprints that are no longer valid and illusory, but linger because they have to be faced with clear consciousness. No group or person can help with that…. Burning until the flame goes out and one becomes something else altogether is a very personal act. The pain of that is real and personal, and it is our pain – until it becomes impersonal. I know about being alone with this, but it is very different from loneliness.  

People value and focus on different things. What seems to differentiate us the most is the degree of self-absorption and the resulting entitlement to getting something from life without considering others or the Whole. There is also an underlying anger that percolates through people. 

Anger is not bad when properly channelled. Sometimes it’s great for pushing through being stuck. Eventually anger morphs into a honed sense of what is appropriate vs. inappropriate, and produces just the right response. Anger is personal, the latter is not.

Spiritual teachers can sometimes act quirky and volatile around people – mine did. It took me time to understand that the teacher was responding and helping the confusion by keeping everyone on their toes and far from relaxed and complacent. What appeared as anger to an untrained eye was actually an intelligent and highly detached response that matched the need.

What is your perspective on “spiritual”? I think any definition will be a set of intentions for living, and that is profound….

4 thoughts on “What does being “Spiritual” mean to you?”

  1. I think it’s best not to try to define spirituality to specifically. Though your analysis is useful in many ways. I have taken being spiritual to mean cultivating a vivid sense and appreciation for the synergy of the Cosmos.

  2. I believe that spirituality transcends one set religious persuasion. It encompasses universal thought, and is far more breathy than what I can learn in a building. I believe a spiritual person has taken flight, and while up in the air doesn’t look down, but looks around at the light and love in all of us.

    Spirituality is intentional, and can be achieved by opening to the possibility of living in the manner for which we were all created – our highest and best!

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