In my role as a teacher, life coach and trainer (a very creative one, I would add…) for women interested in mind-body-spirit balance, self improvement, healing, self-actualization and transformation, I hear very often questions like: “My friends say I’m not spiritual enough and this is the reason why I was injured/I got sick.
Should I become more spiritual to heal?”
Or: “Should I attend workshops like reiki, crystals, chakras, etc. in order to develop my spiritual self?”
Very often I see people who, after attending workshops on certain topics, believe that they are “more spiritual” than others who don’t express the same kind of interest in those topics.
But what I learned from people who play a true and acknowledged spiritual role in their communities around the world, is that spirituality is not about the knowledge of “subtle energies”, and even less about expressing interest towards spirituality by attending workshops on certain topics. We could know everything about those topics, and even experience superpowers, but this would be not enough to make our life more “spiritual”.
As a “seeker of knowledge” interested in healing and anthropology, I have been blessed by the meeting with several spiritual masters, teachers, shamans, healers, and medicine men and women from different spiritual paths, from Sufism to Native Algonquin traditions. With some of them I have been spending long time, even dozen of years, learning as much as I could.
The common factor connecting all of them is that they don’t make a difference between their lives and their spiritual path. They live their life doing their best to be “good humans”.
Spirituality doesn’t depend on what we know about the invisible realms, and not even on “special effects” we would be willing to produce (or we are able to experience), like the ability to channel information from the unseen or to read people’s chakras or auras.
Spirituality is something much more connected to being constantly committed to self improvement and “ego taming”. That means observing ourselves and our actions, and working to increase our self awareness, presence, and our sense of “community” - meaning also the impact our life makes on the environment.
In other words we could say that “spiritual development” is strictly connected with a growth mindset. Actually, from most of the spiritual traditions we learn that our “spirit” is already perfect, being divine, and it’s our consciousness that has to be developed in order to “comprehend” the wholeness beyond each single, individual point of view. This process passes necessarily through our body and our ability to “sense”, meaning that, again, it seems all about self awareness and the exercise of being present to our thoughts, emotions, body, and the perceived environment, in order to understand all the connections between these aspects, even if we perceive them separately.
Spirituality is mostly about becoming responsible of our “self” and actions, and about going beyond some reassuring believes and behaviours with which we tend to identify ourselves, and which make us feel comfortable. We could say that spirituality is related to being open to go beyond any narrow-minded kind of attitude. Spiritual individuals never judge other people, and above all never judge the spiritual level of other people - especially looking at their knowledge of matters and topics commonly defined “spiritual” or “esoteric”.
Spiritual paths are usually defined by “practices”, and a practice is something helping to develop discipline, too. Of course on a spiritual path every kind of practice is connected with a specific set of meanings and effects to be produced. But the most important fact is that discipline is something that usually our ego tend to avoid. This is why spiritual paths are based on the “tame” of our ego - meaning that our ego should become the tool, the vehicle through which we can expand our awareness, presence and consciousness of being, instead of playing the role of the driver.
Spiritual paths are never “competitive”, because spiritual masters and teachers know very well that they are working for the same purposes. There is no “best path ever”. There can be “better paths” for different individuals, because each individual has a unique structure, and so different needs.
So we could say that every action we take in order to deepen the knowledge of ourselves, to express our hidden resources and talents, and to become free from our reactions - by mastering our actions in order to improve our relationship with ourselves, with others and with our environment - can be considered a “spiritual exercise”.
Eventually, we could say that spirituality is not a competition based on the spiritual knowledges, tools or practices we have been experiencing or collecting. It’s more about making everything simple, and improve our “being a human”.
I was told by a spiritual master that half of our spiritual path is like drinking tea, and the other half…nobody can tell you what it is, because it is different for each one of us, and we are all different.
So, reassure yourself. I’m a tea lover, but if you don’t like tea, you can drink coffee, or just hot water, or water, or whatever. When you do it, seize the opportunity to practice self-awareness and awareness, being present to what you are doing - and drinking.