I have just returned from a weekend retreat at the Global Retreat Centre run by the Brahma Kumaris. This is a non religious, NGO whose teachings I have been exposed to for many years through my parents.
Please do check out the amazing work they do.
The core of the weekend retreat was to become more spiritually aware. Being “spiritual” invokes in a lot of people the concept of religious dogma and rituals. For some, it even invokes this image of tree hugging, wheat grass sipping, chanting hippies!
“Spirituality is about acting out of your inner humanity.
If you go deeper, you’ll be acting out of inner divinity”. – Sadhguru Vasudev
What does being spiritual being to you?
Spirituality is simply about being aware – and being aware that you are aware!
Living a spiritual life is about living from your true essence of love, peace and joy. And a spiritual journey is simlpy about living more and more from this true essence.
“Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power but in character and goodness. People are just people and all people have faults and shortcomings, but all of us are born with basic goodness” – Anne Frank
One of the ways of getting aware of this true essence is through daily meditation.
How will this spiritual awareness help you on a day to day basis?
The practical aspect and beauty of gaining spiritual awareness is that you eventully get moment by moment awareness of what you are going through.
The key is to be aware that we don’t see things as they really are, but based on how we see the world.
It is as if we go through our lives wearing a mask which we thnk we must wear to get through life.
Simply be aware of your awareness and what you base it on.
At the retreat, Geoff Marlow talked eloquently about the 4 things on which we all base our awareness and then wear a mask to hide the real essence of who we are:-
1.You are not your possessions
When you believe that you are what you own, this creates a desire for more and more material accumulation.
The marketing industry very cleverly creates a never ending spiral of spending by convincing us that we must have the latest fads and fashion items such as the newest mobile phones and zippiest cars.
Check out the latest BMW adverts – BMW is no longer a car but it is joy!
What do you believe what the model of your car or where you live, says about you?
2. You are not your achievements.
When you believe that you are your achievements, you invariably end up constantly striving for the next promotion, accolade or success in your life.
You end up in a never ending spiral of striving for more success and base your happiness on external recognition from your peers, friends and family.
At the same time, there is nothing wrong with having your identity vested in possessions and achievements, but just be aware of the consequences.
“Be spiritual, own lots of things, but don’t let anything own you!”
I too love my gadgets, gizmos and the finer things in life, and am learning to not let my life revolve around them. But must get an Iphone soon. 🙂
3. You are not your relationships.
We base our status in life and happines on whether or not you in a relationship with a significant other or whether you are highly socially connected. Of course with the advent of social media people seem to be in a race to have thousands of Twitter followers and Facebook friends.
When a relationships end or you lose lose someone , you grieve the identity and role you associated with them andnot necessarily the loss of that person. For example when your marriage breaks up.
Ask yourself – how much of your identity is vested in your relationships?
And remember that you are not your relationships.
4. You are not your thoughts
Your thoughts are all about how you think and feel about things. People get so vested in their thoughts and their political and religious beliefs – they are willing to die for them.
People’s personalities are based on their core values and their recurring thoughts. But once you realise that the way you think and how you see the world is just one of many myriad ways of looking at the world, you can accept that there is no right or wring way and you can see how you are much more than your thoughts.
So to summarise, be aware that you are not your
Taking the first letter of each of these words, you get the acronym PART which is a great way of remembering that once you have true awareness, you are simply an actor playing a part in the magic of life.
If you reverse the word part, you great the word TRAP. So do not fall into the trap of basing your life on the part you play!
“Possessions are the trappings of success”.
Once you are aware that you are an actor and that others are also playing a role too as actors, then you don’t have to base your happiness on other people or on anything outside of you.
Knowing that you are far more than your possessions, achievements, relationships and thoughts, allows you to see the world in a new way in each moment.
It is actually rather liberating and allows you to live from your true essence of love, peace and joy.
From today onwards, become more and more aware of who you really are, throw away your masks, stop acting and start living.
What masks will you throw away today?
Very nice definition of spirituality. I would also add that the awareness entails finding the sacred that is in yourself and all the world around us.
Justin, by becoming aware of who you really are and realing your true essence, you will naturally realise that everything around us is truly sacred – one just has to become aware in the first place:-)
becoming aware of your inner core through meditation but also using doubt constructively by questioning what other (and you yourself) would like to sell you as truly important for happiness.
Although I like my gadgets and enjoy find dining etc., I realize those moments are empty compared to those moments with a loved person.
But even more deep are the moments (for me especially in a clear night or on early morning, when no one is awake, where everything is still – and even nature meditates, where I am all by myself. And in those moments “Me” and “I” is more than just the body standing there and watching – it is a feeling of being a part in a dream and being the dreamer all in itself.
Catching that moment – you realize the magic that is all around your existence.
And definitely get an iphone, then play with it for a while and be aware that it might not get you 😉
Patrick, my favourite time of the day is early morning before many people are around and my favourite time of the week is Sunday mornings for that very reason.
That is the time when I often go my morning walks and as you say there is magic in the air then. In fact the magic is always there and it is only by letting of the PART we all play that one can get present to it.
Also, I would love to get an Iphone but with the awareness that it will not bring me “happiness” but some temporary “excitement”.
At the weekend retreat, we all got hte distinction between happiness and excitement. Happiness is our true original state whereas excitement is really a temporary rush in adrenaline and other hormones!
I am not sure I understand. You say that a person is “far more than his/her possessions, achievements, relationships and thoughts”, so what is a human being exactly? I can acknowledge the first three, but I can’t comprehend how a person is different for his/her thoughts? What is a person ?
Thanks a million for the great post.
Zeina, we all have different thoughts, beliefs and values and this is what makes us have a different outlook on life and gives us such colourful and varied personalities.
But if you can get people to look beyond their thoughts, beliefs and values, you get to see more of their true essence.
And that is just what a person is – their core essence is one of love, peace and joy:-)
I like what you’re getting at here, Arvind, but it makes me wonder – if we’re not our thoughts, not our achievements, not our relationships, and not our possessions, then what exactly are we? What defines us? How do we choose what to value and what to do?
Because each of us clearly has an identity … and if thoughts, achievements, relationships, and possessions are not part of that identity, then what is? And where does identity come from?
Jeffrey, as I said to Zeina above, our different thoughts, beliefs and values is indeed what gives us our individual identity.
It is our own unique experiences, our surroundings and the families around us from our days as a baby that creates our identity. This is what makes us have a different outlook on life and gives us such colourful and varied idenitities.
But the point I am making here is that thought we all have our unique identities, we ar eall much more than that.
Ultimately we are simply a consciousness of love, peace and joy – and lucky are the few who get to experience themselves as this:-)
Very nice. I think that disassociating your thoughts, actions, possessions from your core self is something really powerful.
Once you manage it, you get a strong self of unconditional self worth and you experience so much more freedom in life.
Thanks for reminding me of this…
Great to meet you here Eduard – welcome!
I really look forward to experiencing that sense of unconditional self worth and freedom:-)
Maybe we shall all get there together…
Totally agree, we all need to get out of the strait jacket of our own identities based on possessions, job title and a thousand other little things that imprison us. But what, then, is left? Whats beyond this? How can I know that all that is beyond is not just emptiness? Thats a bit scary… :-).
Krishna, maybe once we have experienced the joy of emptiness we will not ever want to give it up!
Even if it sounds scary, it will be well worthwhile.
From all that I have read, that is the ultimate – enlightenment, being with source, knowing the divine etc – let us hope that we can get to that point once we learnt to stop acting and we give up our parts and traps:-)