Sunday, May 18, 2008

My spiritual journey

I had a realisation today about my evolving spirituality. I realised that I have travelled through and beyond a number of traditions and spiritual spheres, which have each served me at the time and have led to the next, and that each successive shift has happened naturally and in its own time, without me consciously thinking about it. This process has been taking place over the last twelve years or so. I started with yoga and hinduism, and spent a lot of time studying yoga philosophy as well as actually practicing meditation and physical yoga practice, and then moved on to Buddhism and Vipassana meditation, again with lots of study of buddhist philosophy and taking part in ten day silent retreats, then went all New Age with tarot and reiki and manifestation and the like.
So then I wondered - where I am now? It's hard to say.
I don't meditate or do yoga in the classical sense at all. I rarely do reiki, except with my cat Dr Chops, who is a reiki master and loves to receive it also. I don't agree with a lot of Buddhist philosophy these days as it is based on the cessation of suffering as the road to enlightenment, which I find ties in with my problems with the New Age movement and it's focus on rainbows and light and its tendency to shy away from the dark. This is the case with yoga also, there is a lot of repression of the darker parts of ourselves, and an insistence on feeling good. I think the dark parts of ourselves and of the universe are important. The dark is an essential element in a balanced system in my opinion, one half of the yin yang. Although Buddhism acknowledges the dark, it seeks to eliminate it, whereas I believe that dark times and difficulty are actually an intrinsic element of an evolving consciousness, and that the seeds of hardship bear the sweetest fruit in the end. Not that I go about looking for trouble, don't get me wrong, I think life tends to hand you your fair share of difficult trials quite naturally (in a karmic sort of way mostly, but not always) and it's our job to look for the lessons and to grow and evolve as a result of living through the hard times. Also, I definitely believe in natural cycles, in our own personal winters and springs and summers and autumns, and that you need to sit through the cold winter where it looks like not much is happening before you can get to the spring when your spirit blooms with a million flowers and then bears fruit in the summer which you can then harvest in the autumn.
What I do on a spiritual level is kind of hard to describe, very hard to describe actually, and also quite personal. I have learned over the years to keep sacred areas a bit secret. I used to go shouting from the rooftops whenever I had a spiritual breakthrough, I was always so excited, but it took me a surprisingly long time to figure out that I would always burst my precious bubbles of delight by making a big song and dance about things. These days my spiritual experiences barely get spoken about, they live in a private room in my heart, and it feels so much better that way.
But even if I wanted to go into detail about what I actually DO as a spiritual practice, I would be hard pressed to list anything, or describe an actual process. But my spirituality is a huge part of my life, and gives me untold joy and fulfillment. It is one of the best things in my life, alongside my relationship with my beautiful man and my amazing heartstoppingly gorgeous child. And my cats. And my sisters. Oh alright, my mum too. My spirituality enriches my life so much, it is where I grow, and get closer to the best me that I can be, the me I am working towards bringing into my daily life. I am so thankful that I have this cosmic space to loll about in.
That reminds me, gratitude is one of the biggest parts of my spirituality. Being grateful is one thing that I do do on a regular basis that I could comfortably call a solid element of my spiritual practice. I think it is an essential part of a happy and harmonious life, and paves the way for you to work in harmony with the universe. I'm not sure about the actual mechanism, but I do know that it works. Being grateful is a powerful force, and should be practiced regularly!
So I'm left with more questions than answers today - Where is my spirituality now? What does it involve? How do I speak about it? Do I speak about it?
There is a part of me that thinks some questions are better left unanswered, and some things better enjoyed than over-analysed.


Mary said...

Oh Nalin, what an awesome post! I've written numerous drafts of similar posts in the last couple of weeks but haven't been able to get what I want to say into the right words.

I've only just begun consciously exploring my spirituality this year but what you have written totally resonates with me, and I don't talk about it either. :P

Nalin said...

Mary I'm so glad it resonated with you!
It's funny how we are having a shared experience about something we don't talk about... but yeah, it's good to keep things under wraps sometimes eh? Like a delicious and powerful secret.