UNIVERSAL MAN – EP 10 – SPIRITUALITY
WHAT IS SPIRITUALITY?
We are all spiritual. This is the space of meaning-making, of purpose, of our deepest sense of self; who I am beyond all else. Spirituality is where and how we find meaning and purpose in our lives. It is intimately linked to our truest and deepest self; our inner chief. One could say that coming to grips with our spirituality is our ‘coming home’ to our truest self.
Too many people reject the notion of spirituality because they confuse it with religion. Religion is that system of rites and rituals, symbols and texts, beliefs and practices that certain groups have wrapped their collective efforts to engage their spirituality around. Religion only has value when it flows from spirituality. Religion without deep spiritual experience becomes hollow, meaningless, a ‘tick and flick’ and at worse cultish.
Our inner chief is that inner space of energy and being that feeds who we are and what we do ‘out there’. Spirituality is the nurturing of that inner chief.
WHY IS SPIRITUALISM IMPORTANT?
Every great tradition has had its rites and rituals, its symbols and sacred stories, its seasons and its ways of ‘telling the inner story’! But every great tradition has also at various times and in different ways ‘lost’ the truth behind these same ways to engage the heart and the meaning search.
Spirituality is most keenly felt at those deeply human times of loss and joy, intimacy and birth, death and weakness, vulnerability and commitment. There are so many times ‘beyond words’ where we need to make sense of what is going on for us – or we are invited into a space of wonder / awe / pain and just need to ‘be there’ and allow it to happen. It is at the peak human times of experience – often linked to change – that our inner chief kicks in and helps us grow through these times and to find deeper meaning.
We live in a crazily busy world. It is strange but in many ways, we have never been more connected (through IT) but at the same time never more alone and isolated. We live in a world of noise. We live in a world of rush, of deadlines, of calendar pressure. In the midst of this world, it is often so hard to hear the inner voice, feel the deeper wisdom and name the deeper learning. In the midst of noise (external AND internal noise) we need to find times and ways to listen and to listen more and more deeply; that is the role that spirituality plays.
The inner chief voice – the meaning whisper does not need a name. Whatever name you give to this energy; love, life, awe, God, Jesus, Spirit, mystery, the Universe ….is not ultimately important. It will be important to you. But the inner chief invites us to focus on the energy within and around the name; that is what is important. In some ways, the inner chief calls us to be a ‘monk’ in everyday life. When part of our holistic Universal Man is the ‘monk’ then we are more complete – we all have the monk within us.
Our spirit needs to be nourished. The rush and complexity of this world can drain our inner world dry. When we are being pushed this way and that by competing demands, competing value systems, compromise, ego clashes, successes, failures, struggles, pain and loss we can lose our way. The spiritual space and practice is that which calms the stirred up water, allows us to slow down to truly and deeply listen and nourishes us – feeds us – allows us to drink from a deeper world of wisdom and peace. We come from this space more whole and complete, more able to engage with power and positive energy in the complexities of life. The other will sense in you that deeper energy and space – there is something – an aura – about the person who is in touch with their inner chief – their spirit.
One of the key aspects of spirituality is awareness. Awareness is THE best weapon in the fight against having your life being run by the ego. Self-awareness leads you to quickly recognise the ego reaction, the ego response and to quietly and calmly respond from a deeper more whole space. You respond – you do not react.
HOW TO INCORPORATE SPIRITUALISM
- The first and most important rule is to FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. Just because someone else loves doing Bikram yoga does not mean that you have to like it. There are thousands of ‘techniques’ – that is not the important thing; ask what works for you?
- Yoga, meditation, a surf, an early morning run, sit with a coffee, nature – quiet the racing ego – quiet the racing mind – find your way to ‘go inside’.
- Begin your day with some form of centring – even as simple as five minutes of deep slow breathing
- Be Still: Simple – quiet – still – don’t go listening FOR – don’t go being still ‘waiting for something to happen’ – just be quiet – be still – then slowly – in your own spirit’s time – you will gently hear a deeper inner wisdom / voice – often you will hear it intuitively – not as a ‘voice’ as such
- One hour a day (of self-time in some way) – one day a week (one day when you are not working and reacting but recreating – turn the work phone off, only respond to personal calls / emails) – one weekend a month (have time away or quality time with loved ones) – one month a year (have a holiday and during that holiday – for a week – do a retreat).
- Find an author whose words touch your spirit – read them reflectively
- Find an outlet for your creative expression – but it must be YOU – prioritise this time of creative expression (music, art, writing etc)
- Find YOUR way to ‘name’ your inner spirit energy – journal, intimate sharing with a soul mate, a heart companion
SUMMARY & A CHALLENGE
Finally – you will know you are more in touch with your inner chief, have found the spiritual balance within your life when you are feeling more and more free; free to forgive, free to let go, free of materialism, free of being driven by needs, free even to understand and make sense of everything. Like all journeys, the spiritual journey is taken one step at a time. The true ‘monk’ is not dualistic and our growing awareness will lead us to one of the greatest gifts; not to see the world as black / white, as in / out, as accepted / not accepted – but to see and value each moment and each person before us as a gift.
On your own or with a few mates, answer the following:
- What in your life truly and deeply nurtures you? How does it do this?
- Who is someone you admire who appears to be ‘in touch’ with their inner chief?
- Think of a time in your personal or professional life when you sensed you had true balance and perspective or were truly free? Was there an element of reflection / space / your time / nurturing practices etc in it? In other words was there a ‘spiritual’ element to it? What form did this take for you?
- What is YOUR way to find space / solitude and balance?
- What ‘spiritual’ or ‘inner chief’ practice works for you? Why do you think it works for you?
Grego & Pricey