Spirituality is derived from the Latin word Spiritualis and according to Wikipedia, refers to a certain kind of activity through which a person seeks meaning, especially a “search for the sacred”.
At the very mention of words like ‘sacred’ and ‘spirituality’, people often mentally conjure up an image of religion. To me, religion and spirituality aren’t the same. Religion is just another way to satiate the human spirit.
That ladies and gentleman, is all I know about spirituality.
My education has conditioned me to think rationally and analyze logically. When I listen to people passionately talking about their experience of introspection or finding more about themselves or the larger truth as they call it, it baffles me to no end. I have never really done that. There came a time, when I had to. Below is an account of the same.
For some bizarre reason, people assume that I read a lot about spirituality given that I am a bibliophile. In fact, I vividly remember a conversation which sparked that want to do some soul searching. A random conversation with a writer sparked a train wreck of thoughts. We were talking about brutally honest reviews and the conversation veered to his book. He explained the theme of his book- The yearning for something more in spite of success – elaborated in the form of a spiritual release. He asked me to give his book a try. Given that I normally don’t read books belonging to such genre so I refused politely. I reasoned with him that I hadn’t reached a level of mental make up wherein I could think about spirituality. That topic was simply beyond my level of comprehension. However, the writer in him went about marketing his book and convincing me as to why I should pick up his book. I had made up my mind already not to, after-all, that the subject was next to Greek for me. He is a writer who probably slogged hard to publish his book and now he was marketing it. I have encountered enough people who did their best to convenience me to buy their book. I’d do the same too if I were in their place. Normally, I would probably forget such conversations and move on with life.
Oddly, that conversation lingered on and I started introspecting. I shied away from picking up a book at the very mention of the word ‘spirituality’. When I could handle reading complex Turbo Machinery Control manuals, spirituality in English mingled with a romantic tale (His book) shouldn’t have ideally bothered me.
I was raised in a rather religious environment – I was taught to chant slokas and it was drilled into my head that a higher being with a name and form existed. It was instilled in me to put my faith on that higher being in times of turmoil. I was also conditioned that success or failure didn’t matter as it was all destined by that very higher being.
There came a time when what I experienced and read, forced me to question whatever I was taught. In fact, much to my own disbelief, I began to wonder if I was turning into an atheist. It wasn’t simply possible for someone who chanted all sorts of slokas for an hour daily to turn into an atheist overnight. There was obviously a rational explanation this shift in my thought process.
That is exactly when this conversation happened. I questioned my self as to why I chanted these slokas. I reasoned that the slokas had a rhythm and simply helped me slow down my thought process which was spinning out of control in times of tension and turmoil. It dawned to me that religion and spirituality weren’t same. It made absolute sense when I realized that my religion and its practices were just another means to collect my thoughts and motivate myself to hang in there in spite of the storm in my life.
What did I do when I was worked up by negative events or thoughts? I held on to my faith and hoped for the best as I believed there was a higher power who would pick me up and straighten things out for me by my own actions. Not really rational is it? But it didn’t matter anymore. The rhythmic chanting I did daily probably zoned me out. Didn’t reading a good book do the same? Of course it did. Just that religion provided me one constant form to which I could have imaginary conversations without being judged. It got the better out of me. The whole activity made me think about the person that I am. It made me change gears, unburden and let go of my fears and worries. My very definition of happiness changed and so did that of success. Of course, that doesn’t imply that I can live life like a monk, just that I now have a balanced thought process.
I also realized I was wrong to think that I hadn’t reached that level of mental make up to read a story based on spirituality. What I read impacts the person I am. I’m pretty sure even a work of fiction with undercurrents of spirituality would leave footprints on my thought process. I’m hopeful to reach a metal set up where that footprint wouldn’t really matter any more. I’m diligently working on it.
Note : The folks at CBC are bloody good in running contests. They are bent on making me pen down things I wanted to actually write about, but simply forgot to. This write up is for the contest hosted by CBC for Mr. Shashidar Sharma’s book launch @ Odyssey, Adyar on 24th of July at 6.30 PM.
Do visit CBC @ http://chennaibloggers.in/
To know more about Mr. Shashidar Sharma’s book – Songs of Mist – do visit his page @ http://themonkkey.com/
PS. No prize for guessing. That writer mentioned in the above article is Mr.Shashidar. Sir, if you are reading this, my heat-felt thanks to you for getting me to introspect. I promise to pick up your book for sure. If not now, later hopefully.