By Richard G Harvey
You don’t become spiritual. Spirituality is your natural condition. You are already, regardless of whether you like it or not, whether you are religious or not, whether you are inclined towards spiritual practices like meditation or contemplation or not – spiritual. It is a word which describes your inner self, your essence, that essential part of you which is deeper, more profound and more original than any other part of you. It is closest of all to your source, the origins of your existence and the place from where life in you springs.
To understand life, the role of human beings and other life forms, events and circumstances we see in life, humankind has thought, depicted, drawn and painted, and created rituals and ceremonies, sung, played and composed music and countless elaborations of movement since the beginning of recorded time. In fact most or even all of the things we take for granted, like music, movies, movement and dance, wine, food, arts and crafts, singing, parties and ceremonies, rites of passage (like baby’s naming, coming of age, weddings and funerals) have their origins firmly in pagan, primitive humankind’s attempts to make sense and to honor life in a way that connected them to supra-human forces, such as the weather, the fructification of the crops, the success of the hunt, the longevity of human life, the survival of the tribe, the bonding of the relationships and the families in the tribe, the continued flourishing of life in the community: Not much has changed, because we mostly share the same kinds of concerns today.
Spirituality is all this, plus arguably everything we do, say, argue about and think. The ways in which we interact, love, fight, engage in our human roles, look after ourselves and each other, is in essence spiritual. It is who we are.
So, becoming spiritual really means becoming who you are. This rather assumes that you are not already who you are. And in a way it’s true. Not so much that you are not who you are, but that you are not yet all that you are. Life is an adventure of arriving or sometimes it is called growing up or maturing. We develop through stages of challenge, expectation and personal growth to become, or finally arrive, at a true foundation based on the reality, the truth about who we are.
An appropriate analogy is the flower. A flower begins as a seed germinating in the ground. Reaching upwards towards its intuition of the light source the seed grows a stem and finally penetrates and pushes through the surface of the earth. Once established above ground, the growing stem of the flower is wholly dependent on nourishment, not only from its roots, but also from light from the sun. It develops leaves and buds. In time the bud opens and reveals the true flower.
Becoming spiritual, becoming who you are, is vitally important. For everyone. The differences between people are never clearer than in those who take this seriously and in those who don’t. Taking our essence, our spirituality, seriously means that we know we don’t have all the time in the world, we know that we are not omnipotent, that we will not always be here, that we are just passing through and we know that we are here for a reason. The ones who do not take it seriously act like they have all the time in the world, like they will never die, will never have to face the important questions, predicaments and decisions of life; they are complacent and underneath it they are afraid.
The authentic spiritual life is the way beyond fear, because it is the path to truth and reality. It is the way to what is eternal.
How do you become spiritual?
Start with a little discipline. Feel the world, cultivate awareness, keep your eyes open wide and your heart open wider, allow yourself to be affected by the world, touched by people and events, be present and breathe – that is a good start.