What is Spirituality?

The definition of spirituality is aplenty. Some say that it is about becoming a human being, some say that it is to transcend desires, some say that it is to give comfort and peace. Many definitions but the main question for me is whether spirituality is a door that once you walk through, you can never walk back?

The way I see spirituality is very simple but ultimately complex at the same time. Spirituality is the realization of the no-self. Once one attains the state of union, there is no longer two. If there is only one, there is no need to say so. Once we give this formless, or shapeless no-self – the idea of self, even the label, we end up losing what it actually is. It is clear through Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta that there is no-self at all. The mind is not the self and the body is not the self. The only thing that remains is something that if spoken about, it would be destroyed of all it’s essence.

Many people claim to be spiritual but they have some affiliation with some concept and I guess what I am trying to say is that if there is affiliation with one, then there is a possibility of infinite affiliations. If there is no affiliation, no attachment to anything – philosophy or thought, we will find that it encompasses it all. In my head, this all makes sense and I don’t know if this is making any sense to you. I really do find that defining spirituality at its core is a dangerous path because once it is defined as a path, we can create multiple diversions.

Once we discover this no-self, I do find that we end up seeing everything as it were a great theatrical play in motion, this time the characters fail to understand that it is all an act. They have become their characters. The method is now madness. When we are able to step back and observe, the no-self within us in untouched by any of the experiences perceived.

Ultimately, what is the Formless to itself? absolutely nothing and I think this is the fear that we have, we are afraid to be nothing even if it means it leads us to be the nothing that is in everything.

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Approaching the Spiritual Master

A single moment with a (Spiritual) Master can transform your life. Recently, I read about how there are four types who approach a Master.

  1. Follower – they are more of a spectator. They visit the Master because maybe there has been a miracle that happened in their life when they first came into contact with the Master. They only arrive to meet the Master because sometimes they like the charisma, the personality and the aura of the Master. They appreciate the teachings, they love the Master too but they don’t know the Master intimately. This leads them to be followers but with no depth of spirituality. The mind is so cunning of followers that they may be able to parrot the teachings but they have no experience of it.
  2. Disciple – they listen to the message, they practice some of the teachings and they love being in the company of the Master. They listen very intently to the Master, they talk about the teachings and they serve but they have other motives at time. They can be a little political and allow their egos to sometimes get the better of them. Even though they love the Master, they have a little depth of spirituality, they possess a little of the inner experience but their heart isn’t completely for the Truth. They are totally in love with the physical form of the Master, that they have not tried to understand if there is anything more to the Master.  They will speak of the Master as what they understand the Master to be.
  3. Devotee – they listen to the message and understand the silence of the Master. They practice the teachings, they meditate and try to get rid of their ego through self-inquiry. They are not just attached to the physical form of the Master, they understand that there is an inner form of the Master. Their love to the Master is one that is close to union but there is still  a duality between the Master and devotee.  They vouch for the Truth but it is still mainly conceptual. They seek to understand more, they read more spiritual texts. They are very close to being enlightened, they are nearly there. They are great spiritual beings to be around, they will inspire because they will speak of the Master as the Master is.
  4. Mystic – they listen to the Master, understand the silence and beyond the silence too. They can look into the eyes of the Master and they lose all sense of self. They are one with the Master and there is no real difference between the two. They live and breath the Master. They are enlightened, they have understood the Truth and are consumed it. Their understanding is based on their own inner experience. They have not only the understanding of the Truth, they are able to observe all through the Truth. They live in the world, not consumed by it, they use the world to their needs over wants. They inspire everyone because of their energy, they are exactly what is expected by the Master. They are truly free from the ego and its trappings. They are in constant union with the Master, the representation of the Formless.

These are the 4 types that approach the Master and neither are good or bad, it is all based on what you want in life. All are welcome by the Master.

Mysticism – the Union

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The greatness of mysticism is it’s powerful endeavor to unite consciousness with the Universal Consciousness. The steps that are taken with mysticism are very simple. It is a constant inquiry into how can I become one with the Formless? It is a real look into the availability of such an experience and the expectation of disappointment if any concepts once held become useless and heavy baggage onto the ego.

Mysticism is the transcendence of the ego into a more human, yet divine being. The ego is not casted as some evil creature that needs to be banished. It is a friend that served its purpose and now must rest. Yet, if for whatever reason, a deviation from the path occurs, this sleeping giant (ego) can rise again to take over from the more human and divine qualities of the being. The ego despite not wanting transcendence helps us with many tools to show us of its presence. If pride of any kind appears, attachments, lust, greed or false identity then the ego is ready to take the reigns again. Otherwise, one can truly rest in spiritual awareness and enjoy a very human and divine life.

Uniting with the Universal Formless Consciousness is a time when we can experience an expanse, yet we can have a single-minded focus on that point of absolute stillness. This seemingly paradoxical realization is both empowering and a continuous source of inspiration. The more we acclimatize with this, the more spiritual awareness grows and becomes a larger part of our lives. When our spiritual growth starts to mature, when the union has laid a solid foundation, joy and bliss are around the corner. I can sense this in my own experience.

Mysticism is the way forward for a true spiritual journey. Unless you do not find the Formless Self within you, it will be a difficult and arduous journey ahead especially if honesty about your growth is in limited supply.