Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Spirituality, religion and material comforts.

"I am spiritual, not religious" said a friend once. I wondered whether there is a relationship between the two which stands irrespective of the presence in belief in either? A brief view of what spirituality, religion interweaves and what the two of extend to concept of material things.

Spirituality is the most misunderstood and the most misused word in a religious context. Anyone anywhere can claim to its existence in himself irrespective of what he does and what he doesn't. To add to the misery if the judge, spirituality has no yardstick of measurement what so ever. Religion, morality they have yardsticks, may be different for different cultures and areas but atleast we have a context, a background over which can map and find abnormal behavior which can be marked as positive or negative. Now whatever result it may give and its connotation is purely subject to readers views but none the less we have a rudimentary measuring scale. Spirituality on the other hand is weird. Who is spiritual? Who is "unspiritual"? And worse how to plot the varying shades of grey in between?
Religious people follow their own religions. They follow the rules written in their holy books, rules made by their religious leaders and act as how they are supposed to act as a conglomeration and as a representative of the same. Muslims don't eat pork, Hindu's beef etc. This is a superficial manifestation of a real in depth idea of religion. Religion and the most important concept incorporated in it the "god" has many layers to it and thinking closely the last few layers are the ones closest to spirituality. The sense of closeness to supreme entity and a connection, a communication with him(or her or it). Religion in its purest forms is a representation of path to spirituality.
So how we go beyond the barriers of religions and judge a person as spiritual? For that a hypothesis must be made. "There exists a spirit in each living thing which is the cause of life". This assumed we can go further deeper into the depths slicing asunder the superficial layers of material "religion" ism. A person who works with his spirit is a spiritual person. A person who walks alongside his spirit is a spiritual person, a person who lets his spirit lead him to his destination is a spiritual person. It seems so simple in abstraction but what does that mean in actual world?
Simply saying, the power to separate the surroundings from your self is spirituality. To separate the material comforts from the sense of wellness is spirituality. It doesn't mean you have to donate everything and walk naked in the forest. It means to be able to be cut off from a material comfort and yet not let that void get to your psychological well being. Dish washer not working? All of us do the dishes by hand. Some get angry scream, shout, manhandle the utensils(as though it were their fault that you decided to cook in them). Some just do the job, somewhere in the mind they curse the dish washer, or the company that made it, or the person who came to deliver it or the model who advertises it. And then there are few who get upset(of course anyone would) but "LEAVE" behind the happenings and move ahead, do the dishes. This is spirituality.
The material comforts are good, they make our life easy but they shouldn't become our life. Wedding take place centered around the bride's dress? The dress is more important than the thought that another person is committing is life to you?
Extremely speaking we shouldn't be dependent on any of the material comforts at all but practically thinking that is highly impossible. We cant go out hunt animals and poo on the ground now can we? So the next best alternative is to reduce the dependency on the amenities which can be replaceable. The least we can do is not center our life around things. Fancy clothes and gadgets don't replace or enhance a spirit they just are a cause for spiritual decay.
In astrology the 4th place, the place of happiness has the most strong connection with spirituality. Strikingly it also rules the home and conveyances. How can a place rule material comforts and their dissociation at a same time? Yes it can. The place is an indicator of how a person enjoys his material comforts. There are people happily sleeping on floor while there are people who cant sleep on Egyptian cotton sheets. This ability is the function of 4th house. A benfic planet like Jupiter, moon, venus here creates a person who can sleep on floor while a malific(however be it placed) is the opposite.
So the path to spirituality may not be easy, and everyone sure cant wash dishes without making noise. The golden middle is slowly training yourself to be more and more spiritual. Make use of all the amenities that you have, just don't become a dependent wreck on them, don't get addicted to them. This maybe difficult but trials can give the ability(maybe varingly). The path to a spiritual life takes us through thorns but without thorns we never appreciate our shoes and the cobbler who made those for us.
Similarly we never appreciate life and its creator without seeing the other side of the coin.

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