I’m just driving back from a weekend trip in Byron, which was wonderful and beautiful. Obviously, I’m not the one in the driver seat, but am frantically typing on my iPad, willing this idea that I’ve got, to form in a way that’s communicable.
This little trip has brought me some beautiful clarity on my own journey, which I can thank the souls and companions that I’ve had by my side over the last few days for.
I’ve always erred on the side of spiritual growth and guidance. This is one of those things that didn’t feel like a conscious choice, but rather something that was encrypted in my soul. In my early 20’s it grabbed me, shook me up, threw me around a few times and shattered any proportional illusions that I might have had about life.
I came out the other side of that experience, a completely different human being. One that now, I am really proud of, and I love. Not because I’ve got it all figured out, because really, it’s far from that. But because I understand the messiness, the holiness, the all-ness of life, and accept it in its entirety.
My biggest lesson was to experience life from the perspective of an observer. To interact in life, as well as simply observe those interactions without expectations, without attachment. Just to watch. This position of the observer, brings an infinite, constant state of joy with it. An exhilaration which makes every sensation and emotion ecstatic.
Happiness and sadness might be two end of the spectrum – as are love and fear– but they are only experiences for the soul part of us, neither judged as good nor bad. Simply the experience of life in the form of a human body, and all that comes with it. Which is what we are here for. So our souls can have a body to play in.
This state of experiencing life not just as an active participant but also as an observer, means the highs are higher, and the lows are lower. Our senses are imperceptibly heightened and everything feel so strong, so powerful, so all-encompassing. And yet the inner part of us, is always still. Always overjoyed simply by being able to have these experiences. What fun it is, to have such a wide range of emotions, of sensual perceptions, of interactions and relations.
There have been many times in my life, where I have been in my knees, not wanting to go on. Wishing for all the pain and suffering to stop. And even those darkest moments sparkle in a shade-of-night beauty. Even those times of deep human hurt, are something that our soul delights in. Because with it, we grow, and we feel in a way that is otherwise, impossible.
Being in Byron, I brought into my experience a beautiful Ashram hidden in the hinterland, which attracts many people who consider themselves spiritual seekers, all on their own journey to understand and experience this life. I think this is a beautiful thing – I believe inner growth and soul development is a powerful facilitator to compassion, love, and true inner peace and freedom.
I also believe there’s no separation between the “seekers” and the layperson. I think we are all on the same path – however on different parts of it – with journeys that reflect how and what we each need in this time.
So I feel compelled to counter any suggestions that people who actively seek out spiritual growth are in any way superior than anyone else. The most connected, spiritual people have most often been people who didn’t consider themselves spiritual in their minds, but rather just had an intense appreciation for nature, life and each momentary experience.
Spirituality is a four letter word that has been thrown around as a shield, as an excuse for bad behaviour, a “holier than thou” attitude, and a myriad of other things. Under the guise of spirituality, there has been control, manipulation, people not taking responsibility for themselves and their actions, disempowerment, power games, and as we have seen across religions, even mass-murders and war.
It is the nature of anything that has been separated from its original context that its significance can be twisted and turned to suit the egos of our human pitfalls. Pitfalls which are also the poignant springboards to our greatest growth, if we allow it.
Being spiritual, is part of being human. How we choose to use that aspect of ourself is each individual’s sacred choice. But using spirituality as a form of separating yourself is again, creating the problem that we are learning through our inner soul growth to overcome. The illusion of separation is the only thing keeping us from being at one with all there is and what we are.
Spirituality therefore, is recognising the unity of all things, at all times. Nothing more. Nothing less. It is not the amount of mantras that you sing before 6 in the morning, or the number of flagellation’s your body can withstand. Those are tools and distractions on the path, which are easily misused like so many others.
Spirituality lies in the constant practice of unity. Instead of gaining power from the separation of self from soul. From you and me. Rather, we recognise in each moment, what makes us all one and the same.