As I was cruising around the internet today, I saw many interesting articles that talked about how to attain spiritual growth. They talked about being disciplined, setting goals, and creating to do lists. The tasks varied from things you do every day to bigger things that required planning and time to accomplish like reading the Bible, praying, attending church regularly, visiting (insert holy place), and memorizing (some famous spiritual writing). The less religious tasks were things like attending a sweat lodge, doing a silent retreat, learning yoga, practicing gratitude, obtaining a rosary that was blessed by the Pope, going on a pilgrimage, or becoming a student of a famous guru.
To my understanding all those things miss the mark completely. As a leader of spiritual travel tours, I meet a lot of people who are searching for something. They have been to many places. Some have experienced interesting things, some have just had a good time and seen some cool scenery (their descriptions, not mine). So, I can tell you that doing something – anything – isn’t going to create spirituality within you. The one thing you need for spiritual growth is a sense of being.
Think about it. You are (“are” is a form of the verb “to be”) spiritual. You don’t do spiritual. So all you have to do to feel that is be. It’s not somewhere “out there.” It’s not something that you buy. It’s not something that you learn. It’s not something that someone can give you. It’s already within you. It’s your natural state of being.
Yes, someone can teach you skills that will help you to get closer such as meditation so that you can learn how to be still. Yes, spiritual places may help you tune into the energy that is within you and around you. Yes, inspirational writings can help you to see what others have already discovered. Yes, enlightenment can come in a moment from reading, seeing, or experiencing something profound. There is nothing wrong with any of that, but none of that is necessary.
All you have to do is Be. And you can do that right now, where you are, with whatever problems that you have, no matter how much money you have or don’t have, no matter how much peace you have or don’t have. no matter what religion you are. It’s available to everyone right now.
I know that for some of you, that’ s a very scary thought. You’re not ready to embrace it, and that’s okay. For others, it might be something you can accept intellectually, but something stands in the way of your heart fully accepting it. Some of you totally accept it, want it, and still don’t know how to do it. I am sure there are some of you who think what I am saying is total nonsense. It’s okay. I urge you to give it a try anyway.
Just be. Notice where you are right this moment. Notice what’s going on with your body. Are you relaxed? How’s your breath? How are your muscles? What is your mind doing? What is the air around you doing? How’s your stomach? What do you see? How about what you smell, taste, feel, or hear? Take it all in and slow it down. Really be present. If it gets uncomfortable, stay with it. Everything is transient so just notice as it transforms. If you do this long enough, you will start to notice an underlying peace that cradles your very existence.
The more you do this, the deeper into yourself you will be able to go. Your physicality will matter less and your spirituality will become more accessible. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.