Living a spiritual life in a material world

Living a spiritual life in a material world
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Living a spiritual life in a material world

Highlights

What is it to be spiritual in this world of ours? What is a spiritual life? Does it mean that one has to give up all the pleasures and joys of the world? Does that one live an ascetic life in a forest or cave? To be spiritual, do we have to change how we look or what we wear? Do we have to wear saffron or white robes, carry a rosary in hand or grow our hair? Some people also wonder whether we can be spiritual yet have a family or manage a business.

What is it to be spiritual in this world of ours? What is a spiritual life? Does it mean that one has to give up all the pleasures and joys of the world? Does that one live an ascetic life in a forest or cave? To be spiritual, do we have to change how we look or what we wear? Do we have to wear saffron or white robes, carry a rosary in hand or grow our hair? Some people also wonder whether we can be spiritual yet have a family or manage a business.

Because of the myths associated with spirituality and hearsay, people are baffled. Rituals and superstitions of religions are considered a part of spirituality. For example, spirituality is advocated as that state where a man gives up all his pleasures and possessions to become a renunciate. But is it true that we must give up everything, possessions, and worldly duties to pursue a spiritual life? Is this what spiritual life is? In fact, is this what spirituality is about?

Spirituality is a Divine way of overcoming all suffering. It is the way to eternal bliss, peace, and joy. Anybody can choose to live a spiritual life; one does not have to give up this world to be spiritual. This world is the only world we have. Therefore, whatever needs to be done, has to be done in this world.

What then is the true meaning of spirituality? Many people think that they are spiritual when in reality, they are religious. Let us consider some of our beliefs. We feel God as a deity who resides in heaven. We also believe in Divine Spirits, angels, and ghosts. Spirituality does away with such myths and reveals the Truth. It helps us realise that there are no ghosts and spirits. All these are only a figment of our imagination, resulting from the stories we read and the folklore we hear. The spiritual world is not about 'spirits', ghosts or angels. It is about Enlightenment. It is about overcoming ignorance and realising the truth.

So, is it possible to live a spiritual life in this world, surrounded by people, goods, gadgets, and gizmos? Indeed, it is. Spirituality is not about giving up the world and going into a forest. It is not about leaving the world, but living in this world with the Realisation of the Truth of who we are. It is about discovering the Divine Spirit within and living a life of eternal bliss and everlasting peace. It is about transcending the triple suffering: the body's pain, the mind's misery, and the ego's agony. It is not craving and desiring, being a prisoner of the mind, and enslaved by the body senses. To live a spiritual life, we must go on a quest, an inner spiritual journey, to realise the Truth of who we are. We must ask questions — who are we, and why are we here? We must live with discipline, dispassion, discrimination, and the desire for the Supreme Immortal Power we call God. We must live in Yoga - in constant union with God. How does a spiritual life give us ultimate happiness? First, man lives as the body. He gives in to the pleasures of his senses. However, he also suffers from physical pain. Then, man lives as the mind and lives his fantasies. But in fulfilling his dreams, he is tormented by fear, worry, stress, and anxiety. Finally, man lives as the ego and relishes his success and fame. But at the same time, he suffers the agony of anger, hate, revenge, and jealousy. When a man discovers who he is, the Divine Soul, and not the body, mind, and ego, he is liberated from suffering and enjoys Divine peace and bliss. Let us not delay our spiritual voyage to a tomorrow that will never come. Instead, let us go on a quest today. Let us realise the truth and discover how to live a spiritual life in a material world.

(The writer is a spiritual leader and founder of AiR Institute of Realization and AiR Center of Enlightenment)

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