Spiritual Practice – How much is enough?

I was reminded this Friday during a Spiritual Discussion about Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule in his book Outliers. Gladwell guides that it takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills and materials. Let’s take a look at what this looks for the casual spiritual aspirant and then for the serious spiritual seeker for them to achieve spiritual mastery. In the end, I will look at what other activities we can do to increase our hours to reach this 10,000 hour rule.

First of all, 10,000 hours is a guide. We may have to put much more hours in or we may have to put less hours. It is not that once you reach 10,000 hours, you will achieve spiritual enlightenment and all the secrets of the universe will be revealed in the most majestic fashion. Our honesty, intention, passion and sincerity will matter when it comes to spiritual attainment. So as I go through these scenarios for the casual spiritual aspirant and the serious spiritual seeker, I believe it is best to understand that these people are honest, compassionate, genuine, sincere and have good intentions. They are not fake in any way. To me, faith, devotion, worship and reverence means nothing if we do not have the basic decency of being honest and genuine.

Casual Spiritual Aspirant – 10,000 hours

The casual spiritual aspirant probably spends a couple hours a week. Let’s say they meditate for 30 minutes every day. They may attend a satsang or a spiritual meetup for 2-4 hours a week. They may do the occasional listening to a spiritual talk on YouTube or reading spiritual content for an hour in the week.

  • Meditation – 3.5 hours
  • Satsang/Spiritual Meetup – 2 hours
  • Watching, listening or reading spiritual content via social – 1 hour
  • Studying Scripture or Spiritual Texts –  30 minutes

The total will be 7 hours in the week. In one year, this will be a total of 364 hours. To reach the 10,000 hour level of mastery, it would take the casual spiritual aspirant around 27.5 years.

Serious Spiritual Seeker – 10,000 hours

The serious spiritual seeker will definitely be putting in more hours. Let’s say they meditate for 1 hour every day. They may attend a satsang or a spiritual meetup for 2-4 hours a week. They will most likely study scripture or read a spiritual text for a good 2 hours a day. Like the casual spiritual aspirant, they may listen to a spiritual talk between 1-2 hours a week.

  • Meditation session – 7 hours
  • Satsang/Spiritual Meetup – 4 hours
  • Watching, listening or reading spiritual content via social media – 2 hours
  • Studying Scripture or Spiritual Texts – 14 hours

This would amount to 27 hours in the week. In one year, this will be a total of 1404 hours. To reach the 10,000 hour level of mastery, it would take the serious spiritual seeker around 7.1 years.

These are basic scenarios and it will differ person to person and the above spiritual activities will be interchangeable for example, someone may meditate more or attend more spiritual meetups per week. Someone may be living in an ashram and that can change things dramatically. The below examples may be something they do instead of the activities I mentioned above.

Examples of Other Spiritual Activities

There may be other spiritual activities that I will now mention and can be added into the above examples too. For example, someone may do yoga but doesn’t do meditation.

  • Walking in Nature or Gardening
  • Being aware of the present moment
  • Jap or Kirtan – singing/listening to devotional songs or reciting mantras
  • Yoga
  • Contemplation
  • Volunteer work
  • Retreats – weekend, 3 days or 5 days
  • Writing in a journal like a gratitude journal

Consideration

As I mentioned earlier and I want to emphasize that one’s sincerity, honesty and humility is important when it comes to attaining anything spiritual. Our behavior is transformed and if we are still harboring hatred, if we lack compassion or empathy, I doubt we have attained much spiritually regardless of the hours we put into spiritual practice.

Some may even claim that they have attained the highest in spirituality because of some sacred knowledge and even if that is the case, I do believe there is still a refining process. Plus this individual would always be interested in spiritual activities so this would still apply to them. Spirituality is interwoven into their life.

Death needs to be considered here and our awareness of it. If I know that I can die at any time, then would my outlook change? Would my spiritual practice be more intense hence an increase in hours each day? Our understanding of death has a correlation with the hours we put in. If we believe we can do it in future lives, then we should consider it could take us an eternity. If we believe in one life alone, then how many years can be guaranteed that we will live to? If there is no guarantee, then all I have this moment now – so what do I want to be in awareness of during this moment?

Comments

Let me know your comments on this post below. What spiritual activities do you do that I may have missed? If you want, you can let me know how long it will take you to reach the 10,000 hours.

Pseudo-Wisdom

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It has been a long time since I have written on my blog and I will not lie but I have missed it. There is something about writing your thoughts every day and how it connects you to your own self. It’s quite an interesting way to introspect.

I have been spending time away from posting on social media too and I feel that now the likes of Instagram, Snapchat etc are more for businesses than individual content. Facebook still has it’s place as we find out news about our friends and family, or generally the political climate in our home country or abroad. However, Facebook is not something a 18 year or under runs towards now.

I have started to stay away from Instagram and I used to write poetry on their daily. Eventually, I found that the thoughts I expressed had lost it’s original voice and depth. A few may disagree but I really felt I wasn’t doing justice to the actual thoughts that I had.

I have noticed how individuals are trying to be content creators or influencers and as much as I applaud the efforts, I find that it is more narcisstic and definitely spreading more pseudo-wisdom than anything truly worth remembering. I often wonder would one find the Buddha or Lao Tzu or Krishna ever enjoying what they see on Instagram and the like? They would probably like to retreat to a cave and I must say that it may be the first time ever in my life where I find staying in a cave more interesting than going through the torture of social media.

However, I do find it funny and I do laugh at a lot of people’s attempts of being something special. It is a bit sad and I must add this, that some people on Instagram provide amazing content and it’s a little unfortunate that their talent that is screaming is being drowned by the mediocrity that has become the mainstream.

As I remain more of a spectator of social media than an active participant, it’s wonderful to find out good news on dear friends and family. It brings me a lot of joy when I see genuine happiness and that is what I really look for.

I certainly do not look for wisdom on Instagram and I must say that it is nearly impossible to find it anywhere on social media. I have resorted back to reading on my Kindle, reading about the deep hindu philosophy of advaita vedanta, reading poetry or works by great mystics and therefore increasing my concentration on focus.

In a world today that loses it’s attention span so quickly, I am doing the opposite. I am working on increasing it. This is obviously aided by meditation. Maybe this is why I see the frivolty of so-called influencers and content creators. The biggest question that they need to ask is am I going to be relevant a thousand years from now. If that is a stretch then 100 years from now? If not, then the few days of success will end up being a lifetime of failure. Which will only increase anxiety and possibly, mental illness because when someone loses relevancy, it hits really hard.

For years, I have thought about how to be relevant in today’s day and age. How can my poetry reach far? Then I remind myself of the above. My success lies in how long my work remains. Will it remain for a few years now as a fad or will it be something of an eternal nature. All I know is that I have a lot of work to do internally and on myself and that is what my focus is on.

As much as my discourse above has been based upon the state of social media from my perspective, I do appreciate the entertainment it provides even if they are trying to be serious. It is a little scary too and sometimes I have seen posts talk about mental health issues and the advice provided is not appropriate or even shows a little understanding of the actual issues that people go through. What needs to be understood that the shallowness of their thoughts or pseudo-wisdom cannot comprehend the issues that run deep in the human mind. In topics where professionals’ advice must be shared, others should either spread those professionals advice or not write about it at all.

There is a lot that I want to share with you. All that I share is what I know and whatever I feel helps, I will share that. I want to be authentic and honest and these are the basic values I strongly hold on to. As I grow in my spiritual practice, there is one thing that I am more transparent about and that is ineptness and I am quite vocal about the dangers of such matters. Being genuine and straightforward is better than sugar-coating. Although, my personal philsophy is to sugar-coat first and if someone still doesn’t get it, I just share what I feel in it’s less filtered state. After all, one has to respect the feelings of others even if their pseudo-wisdom will eventually do some harm.

At the moment, pseudo-wisdom is definitely winning and it is gaining huge popularity but the lack of real transformation will eventually lift the veil on the reality of the ‘wisdom’ that was once so inspiring. This is why I go back to the ancient folk because the Truth doesn’t belong to time and therefore, you can be in the world today and practice those pointers without worrying if it is relevant in a modern society. Being enlightened is transcendence and therefore trnascends all apparent limitations.

Anyway, this post was longer than I had anticipated and I just hope that whatever you are doing is the best for you. Keep it real. Keep it authentic. Keep it honest. May joy and happiness be with you in every step that you take.

Love.

Think before you speak

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I am very guilty of doing this. I just speak whatever is on the mind and I tend to think afterwards that I should have waited, took a few seconds to reflect and then respond. Sometimes, we get angry when we hear something and we react straight away, maybe we should think for a couple of hours before we respond.

Sometimes what we say can truly hurt someone, we don’t know what they may deal with on a day to day basis. We just assume things but to be honest, we should always gather the facts, observe and then speak about something.

We will always get crazy remarks said to us and massive assumptions will be blurted out  but that doesn’t mean that we have to start getting into an expressive battle either. Depending on the situation, we take such action.

My observation from many years has been that silence says it all. The less you speak, the more of what you say has importance unless you always do say wise words, which automatically become important. Silence is very powerful in dealing with matters. We don’t have to show the person in front of us that we are affected by their words. A simple smile, look around you and then walk away. If someone has asked a question, then you will be the judge of whether it is worth answering.

People have a tendency to put others down or when they speak, they are just always moaning and constantly expressing their pain-story, to which majority is thought-based pain over actual body pain. Of these people, I may have to listen but again, you are silent, wish the person well and walk away and forget about it. Don’t reflect on something if it isn’t going to help you.

Silence is golden. It says so much without a single sound expressed. It is the most powerful tool you have at your advantage. Just ensure that no emotion remains inside of you for more than 24 hours. Try to express your feelings in a journal or meditate upon it so it dissolves away.

The power is within you, you choose what to do with it.