A New Year is upon us. This is usually a time of reflection on the direction we want our life to take, what we want more of, less of, and overall how to achieve more balance.
In today’s climate of economic and political instability more and more people are turning to spirituality to find an anchor. Some of us already committed to a spiritual path feel a growing desire to "come out of the closet" so to speak and integrate our spirituality into every aspect of our lives. This can be challenging when constantly bombarded with the message that if we just buy the latest [fill in the blanks] we’ll be so much happier. Even more so when that message has sneaked into the world of yoga, now a multi-billion dollars industry. But I feel there is a much greater, yet very subtle, obstacle on the path. And that’s ideas. Yes, ideas. Ideas thrown left and right about what spirituality is, what it looks like, should look like, must look like. All of which interfere with our own organic discovery process.
The (Illusory) Divide
In my 20 years in NYC, 18 of them as a yogini , I’ve often observed spiritually-inclined people (including myself) create a divide between what they consider “spiritual” and the rest. On the “spiritual ” side we usually find things such as:
- Taking yoga classes
- Meditating and chanting
- Becoming a vegetarian, vegan, raw food eater...
- Using natural remedies and getting energy work
- Taking self-development workshops of all kinds
- Reading Tolle, Chopra, Dyer, Williamson...
- Watching “Forks over knives” or other "conscious" documentaries.
Then there’s “the rest” :
- Family gatherings
- Our “not-so-spiritual” romantic partner and sex life
- Bills to pay
- Visits to the doctor and taking prescription drugs (oh my!)
- Cleaning, shopping, partying, drinking, smoking, reading People while getting a pedicure, watching TV with Ben and Jerry...
At first sight the “spiritual” and the “non-spiritual” lists don’t seem to have much of a common thread running through them. It is easy indeed to perceive some activities as more elevating, some as less. I think we all do at some point. Unfortunately this compartmentalization of our existence is an impediment in our quest for more wholeness, unity and harmony, all defining characteristics of Spirit. So how can we reconcile those seemingly incompatible two sides, the spiritual and the mundane, and feel as connected to Source running errands than during our seated meditations? I'll let you ponder that question for now. Nothing like sitting with a dilemma for a bit to allow one's unique perspective to come through, instead of mindlessly adopting someone's else's as our own. I will share my own perspective in my next post.