What is Spirituality and what are the common goals and their practices? What paths do they take? Do you need to follow an institutionalized religion so that you can have a spiritual life? Can a person be Spiritual but not Religious? This is not to say that you must throw out all tradition.
I feel it is far more important that an individual learn to evaluate their own relationship with God, a Higher Power, Spirit or whatever you personally call that special relationship between you and the divine. I want to assist in helping to paint an overview of the landscape of spirituality. A way to easily classify the different paths in order to help you discern the one that suits you best.
The familiar ‘yin-yang’ meaning and it’s symbol dates back to ancient times in China. It is representative of the belief that all that in in the universe originates from two different forces. They are both opposing and complimentary.
These two sides are representing the sides of our self. The contrast sees hard is to soft as love is to hate. We embrace the fullness of all that we are instead of attempting to deny the dark or the contrast. Many might refer to this as the ego and in Christianity one might call sin.
The yin yang philosophy states that the universe, all and everything in it, is constant and in nature is cyclical. One force or side may try to dominate the other but is then replace by the opposite side. This cycle continues over and over.
The black and white in conjunction represent the energy or totality of all that is within us. You cannot have one without the other.
What are the small white and black circles: Located in the opposite sides are small circles that show us that nothing is absolute. On each side there are opposite and opposing energies or forces that reside in all of us. In all of the yin there resides yang. In all of the yang there resides yin. This is true for all that is in the universe.
Example: In all females there is male energy and in all males there is female energy. In all of us there is a little good and there is also a little bad. The key is to understand that each must exist and for us to see that they are not separate parts of us and that the goal is not to get rid of any of it. The goal is to embrace these two sides of ourselves and understand how they work together as one.
Why do people need spirituality in their lives and what is the point behind it all?
Meditation is very personal and different for many people. The same goes for spirituality. I can tell you what it means to me but for each it is different. This is what makes it so unique. It is a tailor fit approach to having a personal relationship that is direct between you and Spirit.
Many that I have worked with have commonalities among the following main ideas and concepts of what spirituality means to them.
It seems that no matter where you are in life when it comes to the external items or labels you have collected along the way you are identified with them. Many try to fill themselves up by obtaining status and material items. This takes them on a never ending path always leading to emptiness. They lack feeling. Their is no sense of purpose and direction in life. Spirituality gives us a foundations to live a clear and direct approach to life in a fuller more satisfying light. It fulfills our need to have a foundation for living, a path or way of life in the light of a larger context. It seeks to become “aligned” with something larger than just our body and our mind.
As conditioned humans in this world it speaks to our need to feel complete and not separate or incomplete. In our communities and families and is self with the universe spirituality aligns us with all. We all crave love to feel unconditional love. A feeling of purpose that brings joy and happiness to be alive and awake in this world.
We all have an innate drive in us to improve, grow and reach the fullest of our potential. This drive to grow continues as we seek to understand ourselves and become more authentic to our own self and truth. We want to develop and cultivate our minds. To expand our awareness and consciousness. Where many religions felt stifled when we would explore our own individuality in it’s context we felt we could not. Being told to not question and to just have faith no longer works for many.
"Who am I?”, and “Why am I here?” We have the drive to find answers to these real questions about how life operates. How we as individuals work in this universe. This is the quest many want to take. The journey and quest that goes deeper into the knowing of their fullness. Into the reason for existing here on this planet. A real purpose and plan.
When we allow our minds to expand and ask those deeper questions that bring the harmony, balance and love we seek less for those things on the external. We start to rely on the intuition of our own greatness and internal navigation system. Seeking outside will never bring us the answers we seek. Everything outside of self is moving, inconsistent and fleeting. Suffering exist in the mind not in the spirit or natural alignment of a persons soul and spirit. Spirituality allows us to gain the balance, the independence from all things external. To have a deeper and more profound appreciation for all of life.
Various traditions have described the concept of enlightenment differently. They follow a common theme that seeks to transcend the human conditioning and create an end to future suffering. This involves a very radical shift that is permanent in a persons perception and their experience of the world. Spirituality move and goes beyond seeing the self as an individual. Beyond being just a person in this world. Independent from all things external. It desires to seek ultimate freedom and peace with self and God. To transcend the ego and merge with and align with God.
Taking a spiritual path allows the individual to dive into their own awareness and consciousness. To explore all aspects of their reality. It speaks to the individuals thirst to expand, grow, gain knowledge and adventure. To no longer be under the fog of societies conditioning. The ability to explore the mysteries of this life and nature. To explore it in a child like state of awe and wonder.
There is a deep urge to serve others on a much deeper level. It is authentic and heartfelt. No hidden agendas are attached. Serving is done in an effort to make a difference in others lives. To help and lift up humanity.
The goals of spirituality are defined differently on each path. Listed below are examples:
Achieve cessation of suffering (enlightenment or nirvana). To seek to see reality for what it really is.
Purifying the mind to achieve liberation. Unites the individuals soul with the universal soul. The goal is to become one with absolute Consciousness. To be the truest version of Self.
To realize your true self and to dissolve the knots of ego. These knots that limit access to pure consciousness of the body and mind.
Experiencing divine revelation. Surrendering to God and serving God.
Experiencing unity with God. Seeks to feel the overabundance of love from the creator.
To live in harmony with the flow or Tao. To cultivate the body, spirit and the mind.
Learning the supreme laws of this universe. Knowing the creator and self and living in accordance.
Living in harmony and in connection with all of nature. To develop the knowledge and the power to work and use invisible forces. The ability to serve the spiritual best interest and welfare of your community. Heal ones soul.
Regardless of how the goals are framed and their philosophical approaches, they each seek to offer techniques. These techniques enhance ones personal transformation. They move beyond the outer shell of the human ego and conditioning. They seek to understand self, reach and connect others in the community, to expand in love, light and awareness.
Present Centered Awareness Therapy. Seek to explore the greatness of who you are a deeper and more fulfilling level. Start the journey today.