There are many different points of views across different spiritual traditions regarding all of life, death and beyond, especially about the Self. Here are some ways to discover our inner truth based on self-introspection and deciding what feels right to you.
1. SELF CONCEPT: Is Spirituality about being Selfish or Self-centred (focusing on yourself and immediate needs) or is it about being Selfless and being a Martyr (sacrificing yourself for others)?
While some religions in the past have glorified selflessness and giving up your life for welfare of others, a few modern spiritual leaders have introduced the idea of being selfish and self-centered by putting yourself first and above all. Finding the balance between these two extreme views can feel hard to most of us.
However, the concept of Self or our True Self is all inclusive, in the sense that we care for ourself, as well as others when needed and as far as possible, while being aware that our inner consciousness can indeed expand and include in its welfare, ourself, our close family and mates, as well as our expanded universe or all that is as we learn, grow and evolve spiritually. As we learn more in our soul’s journey our idea about who we are can transform from personal or limited physicality to universal consciousness. This is however easier to appreciate intelectually than to experience holistically and most of us are still learning to heal ourself and our near ones while parallelly working on planetary and universal healing.
2. WORLD CONCEPT: Is Spirituality about being Otherworldly and disconnected from earth to the point of letting go of all things, or is it about being Worldly wise and focusing on law of attraction to have as much pleasure, wealth or success as possible?
A lot of people have wondered if our world is illusion and if there is another world which is more ‘true’ than this one over here. As such countless people believed in heaven, other-worlds, faerylands, higher dimensions where we are directly in touch wih Truth. On the opposite spectrum are people who believe in the world alone, and that whatever we have to experience happens on earth itself and because we live only once, we have to achieve as much success, fame, prosperity, enjoyment or pleasure as we can before we die. Both point of views can be hard to reconcile for most of us.
At the same time there is a new wave of realization that describes this world as well as other-worlds, as a direct manifestation of our own choices and consciousness levels. We create our universe, our heaven or hell, our life or afterlife and our next level of reality according to this point of view, and not necessarily consciously as our subconscious patterns are likely to be overwhelming. The more we meditate the more we connect with the Source of all there is and become conscious to willingly manifest or attract all our realities both worldly and other-worldly with awareness.
3. SENSITIVITY: Is Spirituality about losing all your sensitivity and being totally unaffected by anything or anyone, or is it about being super-sensitive and getting affected by everything and everyone to the point you cannot take it?
On one hand spiritual meditators say that they are detached from the world and from all thoughts, and connected with deep inner peace and bliss only, and on the other hand we have empaths and healers who can feel, sense and channel energies of people next to them or very far away, or of the planet or other beings, even if it hurts. Many of us try to walk the fine line between being detached from others and being connected with others at an emotional and heart level.
A new perscpective is that we are deeply interconnected with all beings as we are One with all and even as we feel like we are separate souls, we are all part of the One Soul or True Self. Therefore while we can feel intense emotions of others, channel energies and be able to see and feel the situations of other people, past, present or future and even other beings, we can also heal them and ourself simultaneously. As we feel the pain and suffering of others we also have the power to heal the pain and as we send healing so does a part of us receive it because the universe is within. The peace and bliss experienced as a result is the real key to liberation, instead of through detaching from everyone and being unconcerned about others.
4. YOGA: Is Spiritual Meditation about breathing techniques and exercises of the body or is it about concentration and mind?
Some spiritual churches and communities advocate concentrating or’meditating upon’ special holy words or specific images as the way to develop spiritually. Others believe in guided meditation or creative visualization for healing and manifesting a desired life, regardless of religion. At the same time there is a belief that meditation is about breathing exercises or focusing upon breath through ‘Pranayama’ , or observing our physical postures, physical exercises or ‘Hatha Yoga’ which is generally equated with Yoga, or ‘Raja yoga’ which is focused on ‘third-eye’ awakening.
The ‘inner’ view of meditation as a way of self-realization and being aware of ‘Who I Am’, or ‘I Am’ consciousness is quite different. In this point of view meditation is not about focusing on anything outside, such as words, music, images, physical sensations, mudras, eye gazing, postures, exercises, energy work or breath. Those are various other yogas, whereas meditation is about observing your True Self ‘Within’, not limited to your physicality, mind or breath, but an ‘inner consciousness ‘ which is beyond body and mind. It is a receptive state of openness through which truth can be channeled or realized without making our mind focus on a specific object or activity. If we do begin with focusing on breath, physical action or mental activity or any specific visualization we have to let go of that and focus on simply ‘being with ourself.’
5. GOD: Is Spirituality about relating with a separate being called God above, or is it about being nice and cordial to everyone and living in harmony with outside world?
The traditional ‘theistic’ ideology that there is superior being called ‘God’ who is all-powerful beyond us, and above all of creation has dominated for millenia. We are taught by these systems that spirituality is all about devotional worship of ‘God’ and that belief in ‘God’ will lead us to heaven. We are asked to relate less with the world and more with ‘God’. On the other hand we have also been taught that we must be good to others and live our life in harmony with other people so that we have a good relationship with the world. Atheistic views on the other hand are solely ‘world’ focused with no idea about God or any superior invisible being.
The new understanding of God as not a deity to be worshipped but our True Self to be realized as our own Higher Consciousness, a Higher State of Being that is within all of us Right Now is emerging through Self Realization. The basis of this rationality is that we have all emerged from the same One and therefore contain the essence or energy within and never separate from the Source. In this sense, we need not die to be with God ‘above’ in ‘heaven’ or because God within us here and now, embodied and living as all of us and awaiting realization and awakening. We can be of loving service to the universe until our last breath and therefore unite with God while alive in whichever way we can by knowing Who We Are and Being One with Our True Self.
6. STRESS: Is spirituality about avoiding stress and responsibilities by closing our eyes or is it about taking a lot of stress and solving problems with our physical or mental efforts?
The belief that spirituality is about closing our eyes and isolating ourself from the world like an ascetic or monk is an age-old one. Some people even develop a latent anger or hate towards the world and avoid any responsibility whatsoever for their own family, society, or other creatures in an attempt to be spiritually higher or ‘holier’. At the other end of the spectrum, we have people who are highly stressed out trying to live for others, serving their families at the expense of their own health, working hard for serving corporate machinery and striving through our physical efforts or mental work to solve problems. Are they the real spiritual heroes who work out there and keep our systems going?
Spirituality as inner work, which is not stressful but a state of relaxed self-awareness and inner-transformation is now in practice. We try to neither isolate ourself through cutting off from family, friends and society and being ‘superior’, or get overworked in striving for the good of others while being stressed and drained ourself. Through our inner peace and inner joy, we discover why we are here in the world, we discover our inner source of unconditional love and kindness which is not something to ‘expect’ from the world, but to ‘accept’ within your heart to share, expand and grow in loving consciousness all our life. As we share our own inner treasure of love, peace and joy, we can relax, destress and be aware that we manifest our universe and that all beings are interconnected through our inner-self.
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