“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. 

What happens first

The idiom, “I’ll believe it when I see it” might better serve said: “I’ll see it when I believe it.”

It’s when you believe something that seeing happens. This is why everything around us tend to support our beliefs. This is why we are always right. We see what we want to see. Or, we see what we want to believe.

Likewise, trying to understand someone after thinking “I don’t understand them,” might better serve by beginning with, “I understand.”

I understand that I’m looking at this through my own lens, through my own experiences, capacities and limitations.

I understand that I don’t know their inner world, experiences, capacities and limitations, even if I’ve known them for an entire lifetime, because I don’t live in their skin, and I won’t pretend to.

I understand that sitting where I am doesn’t mean that I know better.

I understand that their experience is real for them, and I am not here to tell them they are wrong.

Might I point out, the key word in trying to understand is TRYING? How often has trying to understand taken you out of frustration? It’s not until you decide to understand, or that you are open to understanding, that understanding happens. This is when those around you feel understood, soften their armor, and offer the possibilities of being understood as a two-way street. Because you have done it first.

Engaging with Community

Depression and feelings of isolation is common these days. It doesn’t seem enough just to do yoga. Regular engagement with a community that elevates and nourishes makes a big difference. It gives you a chance to serve and be served, which is incredibly fulfilling, and what the Spirit needs. To experience regularly the feeling that others sincerely care about you, want to hear what’s going on with you, and ask about you when you go MIA. It reminds you that you are not alone in the crazy things that your thoughts cause you to believe about you. And when you see that others experience similar thoughts, and you see that they are amazing people, then your capacity to elevate your own sense of self becomes easier. Together, you forklift each other into wholeness, and with wholeness comes a greater sense of peace and wellness.

But that’s life.

Years ago, I was telling one of my spiritual teachers (I’m lucky to have a number of them) all about how I started working with a whole foods chef to learn how to cook healing foods; it was very exciting. But I also had a complaint: that it took so much time in the day. I had to decide what I was going to have, go grocery shopping for the ingredients, prep the vegetables (wash, peel, chop, etc), then cook. Then eat, which took all of 20 minutes, then clean up. And then possibly do it again two more times in a day, every day. That’s a lot of time dedicated to food.

He said, “but that’s life.”

Asked I: “what is?”

Said he: “that which nourishes. Everything else if busy-ness.”

Delving in the realm of possibility

I know that the spiritual and wellness practices that I’ve embraced work. For me. And I’ve witnessed them work for the teachers around me, and I suppose this is why we have chosen this path– because these practices have been a game changer for us, and good things need to be shared, and callings need to be answered.

I’ve had the blessing also to witness transformation in many of my students and private clients. But also, I’ve seen these tools not work for others.

The effects of anything relies on the Doer.

I’ve witnessed Doers work so hard at their practices but unable to detach themselves from their story. One must let go of one branch in order to grab on to the next one.

They say that seeing is believing. In truth, believing is seeing. Our beliefs determine our experiences. It may be that holding on to our old (or current) belief(s) is where we need to be, for now, because there is more experience there to be had… until it is time to let go and experience something else. Then, the realm of possibilities become informed by our willingness to go there.

What it means to be a friend

Friends don’t make each other feel bad when one is working to become a better version of themself. Friends uplift each other. They don’t waste each other’s time commiserating, saying only what the other person wants to hear, or diminishing others to feel better about themselves. They see the best in each other and hold vision for others to step into their next best Self. 

At some level, many of us know this and feel done with the loosely termed friendships that engage in nothing more than crab mentality, dampening our spirit. Each in a bucket of crabs has the capability of crawling out, but the moment one tries, the rest pulls them back down. 

As social beings, we are ready to move on from that bucket to a more meaningful way of relating. We want to be inspired, uplifted, challenged to rise to new levels, and we want the support, encouragement, the honest truth, and some prodding to go along with it; that we may wake up and feel alive, aligned and fulfilled. We want to be able to be fully ourselves and know that that will be celebrated.
When we experience difficulty finding this, we become tired, anxious, or angry, and we feel isolated. We don’t want to be with our friends, nor do we not want to be with them. 

We can choose to be in community with those that are highly intentioned to become forklifts for others as they elevate themselves. We can choose to engage and invest our energy towards lifestyle choices that make us feel lighter on our feet and clearer in our decisions. We can choose to take risks rather than to stay safe. We can choose to step forward rather than to make justifications for holding back.  

They say you are the average of the 5 people closest to you. I’ve seen this in action as I meet weekly with 3 others, and I’ve witnessed that as one moves forward, the rest are inspired to do the same. It’s a contagious and exciting way of being. 

Choose community. Choose wisely. Consider KYTT. Ours start in less than 2 weeks, and our emphasis is on prosperous community building. 

With love, grit and gratitude, 

Savitree Kaur