I had a friend who was a bit of a cynic (well he still is) and he said one time to me, “You gotta love the Spiritual people. It’s pretty much a bunch of lame-Os who are too lazy for religion and too scared to be atheist.”
After I had a good belly laugh about it for oh say two hours, I had to stop and think about it….I mean it had some truth to it, didn’t it?
I spent the next few days testing out his theory by asking innocent bystanders (ok my clients and students at Lotus), if they were religious or spiritual and what did that mean to them.
I received interesting feedback with the majority of answers corroborating his theory. Most people don’t know or have an explainable idea of what it means.
The most popular answer I got was, “Well I am definitely not religious, I would say I am more Spiritual because I believe in a God or the Universe.”
Me: “Ok do you have a set practice as a Spiritual person?”
Them: “No not really, it’s what I feel like really. Some days I meditate, some days I go to the yoga class at my gym and some days I eat cheetos on the couch. It’s all about balance!”
Me: “Uh huh got it. But is there something specific you do that can identify you with other Spiritual people?”
Them: “Well I do wear mala beads and most Spiritual people wear mala beads. It’s a sign of our Spirituality.”
Me: “Do you know how to use a mala bead?”
Them: “There’s a use for them?!”
Trust me when I say she is a sweetheart. A bumbling sweetheart but sweet nevertheless.
I had a bit of shell shock and identity crisis as I realized I was probably seen this way as well! I mean I own a Wellness Center and Massage School and wear mala beads! OMG am I a Spiritually Unevolved person? Is that how the world sees me?
Cue *dramatic fall to the floor with hand covering my eyes*
Back then I took a whole lotta offense to what my friend said, to the answers I got back and to somehow me being lumped in this category. I decided then and there that I needed to have a firm answer on what being Spiritual meant for me and to me so if anyone asked, I would be better prepared to answer.
I came up with 3 reasons why I am Spiritual and I am sharing it here in case it resonates with you. Feel free to use them! I have no rights over these ideas, and hey maybe if we were all well-equipped with answers, the rest of the world will take us seriously, have a green tea and calm the f**k down. Here we go:
- I believe in All the Religions
In my younger years (ages 9-28) I studied most of the major religions. I read the Bible front to back (twice), Koran, Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutras and the Tao. What I found was similarities amongst them all. More similarities than differences. Later on in my 30s, I found Wiccan and Paganism and noticed similarity in dates to Christian important holidays (Christmas and Easter) and similar symbolism.
As I matured, I realized I didn’t feel comfortable owning a title. You could call me Christian because I liked to go to Church (still do occasionally). You could call me Hindu because I practice yoga and meditation daily. You could call me Muslim because I enjoy fasting during the Ramadan season. You could call me Pagan because I have a deep love of earth rituals and Mother Nature. If I identified with one religion, I would neglect the other spiritual practices I employed.
2. I am more concerned with my Purpose than my Needs
Now this is in no way a jab to anyone, it is a revelation unto myself. I grew up in a typical family with two siblings and parents who were striving for better things. We all do. My family like everyone else wanted a better future. My family unlike some families came from humble beginnings in a third world country.
Somewhere along the way, i got sidetracked, bamboozled, led astray by the sirene call of the Spiritual realm to seek my path and purpose in life specific to me. I didn’t want to exist on the earthly realm anymore for pain and pleasure, I wanted significance in finding a way to make a living that contributed to the wellbeing of others. I opened a Wellness Center and then later a Massage School before personally venturing out to speak, teach and write on what I know. The call of the Divine to help, uplift and inspire others was a deeper call than the need for public fame, fortune and membership in the right clubs and societal groups.
When I refer to myself as Spiritual, I refer to this need, this desire to find out my purpose in life and live it accordingly. Again I will stress the importance of recognizing that it is a focus on what I do want and not what I am moving away from. Many of my loved ones still pursue a materialistic life and you know what? I love them immensely and have no judgment. Being Spiritual for me in this aspect is about learning to understand me and why I am here, not about judging someone else’s path or story.
3) The CIA is everywhere
Living the Spiritual life means coming from a place of CIA all the time everytime. What is the CIA?
It is so easy to get caught up in the drama and trauma of life, to take things personally, to get easily offended, to make judgments and to develop this us vs. them mentality. I didn’t want that anymore. I did it for a large part of my life, and it brought nothing but dissatisfaction, hurt and envy to my life. My anger raged and this fire consumed me all the time. I wanted out and I got it when I started living with a CIA perspective.
Compassion teaches me to see things from someone else’s perspective, to continue to love them where they are and to hold space instead of react when things aren’t going right.
Intent teaches me to have intention before I DO ANYTHING! Whether I am about to eat food, cross the sidewalk, take a drive or speak to a class, I remind myself of my reasons for doing so and maintain intent in the transactions.
Awareness teaches me to continuously watch, observe, monitor and eventually self-correct on my behaviors if they are out of alignment with my path and purpose, if they are hurtful to others or if they could be done better. This last one is a doozy. I have time and time again reached out to people I have wronged and apologized. Sometimes it is accepted and sometimes I am the receiver of a verbal lashing out. It is hard work to admit you are wrong and even harder to be penalized for it, but yet my awareness will not let me off the hook. Into the darkness I must go to apologize, yes for them but mostly for me. I need to be better, do better and live better everyday within my conscience.
There is one more big reason why I call myself Spiritual instead of a follower of a particular religion or an atheist. In realizing it, I guess in the end, I have alot in common with the bumbling sweetheart from earlier who couldn’t put it in words what she knew in her heart to be true. In the end, I am like her Spiritual because I Believe.
I believe in a Higher Power, God Consciousness or The Universe.
I believe we are Souls having a Human Experience.
I believe in the sanctity of Life, the harmony of man and the peace of a utopian society.
Hmm, sounds like the decree of a new religion, possibly Umaism?
Nah. I think all of the religions currently existing got this Belief thing covered.
I rather say I am Spiritual, live a decent life, don’t worry what others are doing and focus on how I can be of contribution to society.
Wear your Spiritual badge proud and loud. Let’s all share our love of all things Spiritual with pride
Uma is the owner of Lotus Wellness Center and Lotus Signature Massage School in VA. To learn more about this crazy Spiritual chic, check out http://www.umalotusflower.com