“I’m not into spirituality.”

What do you think people mean when they say that? If they had to replace the word spirituality to complete the sentence, “I’m not into______,” how would they finish it? 

“I am not into religion”: While religion is steeped in spirituality, spirituality isn’t religion. Additionally, if the practice is devoid of questions, critical thinking and discernment, and if it is filled with judgment, then spirituality is not being practiced. Nor is religion being practiced. Dogma is (and both are vulnerable to it). But spirituality is not religion. 

“I focus on the more practical and relevant things in life, like what’s going on in my work, my household and in my government.”

Spirituality is to know yourself. Therefore, being into spirituality means being into understanding yourself better. 

I can’t think of anything more practical and relevant that informs how you go about your day, how you take things in (especially when your buttons are pushed), and how you make decisions, than knowing yourself. Those moments of quiet space and conscious awareness, which is spiritual practice, is what connects and aligns us with who were are. They are the magic threads that make the difference between experiencing conflict in our lives and experiencing liberation.

“But the conflict is out there, and I need to fight against it. I don’t have time for philosophy.” (Yes, I’ve heard this before. I won’t go into this except to say philosophy is different from spirituality.) That very language energetically contributes towards more conflict. Say that sentence out loud and watch what your body does in response to it. It’s not open to effective communication and understanding. In history, factions that meant well who use the same level of consciousness that they are fighting against end up becoming just as tyrannical in the end. The effective leaders that history ultimately treats well didn’t “fight against others.” They understood themselves first. They understood the human condition first. When you bring yourself to believe that you and they are different, then they have won because, like them, your reactions were based from the same differences. 

Spirituality gives way to this understanding and offers a more effective and sustainable way of being. When you feel heard and understood, then you are more open to the other person. You won’t get defensive and ugly. You have an open conversation. Others respond in the same way. This gives rise to commonalities, the deeper fears get uncovered, and we have something real to work with: each other.  

It takes a lot of courage to soften the defensive posture, to understand that the other is you, and to speak from compassion, because this means that you will first need to look at yourself honestly in order to act authentically (effectively) with anyone else. It’s easier to try to fix others thinking that what’s going on inside of you has nothing to do with it. 

Being into spirituality means committing to get in the know about yourself, both the light and shadow side of you. And when you know yourself, you will realize how much better you understand others. The better you know yourself and others, the better you can affect your world. 

Sat Nam. 

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