All Humans are Spiritual Beings
From the outset we want to make clear that when we say “religion” we neither mean major organized faiths nor minor beliefs, but a universal consciousness at the macro level and individual mindful awareness at the micro level that, when awakened, can heal individuals and enhance their well-being.
An educated understanding of the world’s religions and fine arts can gratify a personal quest for spiritual growth. We strongly believe in carefully reading the underlying core of each religion that is common to all faiths and connects all human beings into a large global community. Let’s not cage “God.” Let’s experience wisdom and compassion with sincerity and dignity. We call this sort of attitude “modern spirituality.”
Our individual private lives seem to be hasty, pressed for time and chaotic. The result of this is a life of stress and anxiety. We follow our daily lives as if pushed by an unseen force. Even our annual vacations are automated routines. We angrily ask our children to better enjoy themselves and we pretend that we are taking a break from our usual occupations. We may get away from all this by going for vacation or to a mountain retreat but we can’t leave the world. When we return we still have to face our routine. Is it possible to stay home and still be happy? Maybe if we are happy at front porch watching maples and elms dance in the sun, we will be equally happy on a beach in Nice, France.
We believe that we can be happy if we become mindful (we will suggest some good readings in future postings that will help you become mindfully aware) and thus make a link with our inner consciousness. Our deeper self is of the same essence as the universal consciousness called God, Allah, Brahman, Dao, Yahweh, etc. When we do make such a link with ourselves we become connected to the inner, unseen, secret, sacred and spiritual.
How are spirituality and creativity linked? Ancient aestheticians claimed that spiritual bliss, the pleasure derived from religious devotion, is of the same essence as (if not identical with) the pleasure derived from creative works such as literature, poetry, drama, music and visual arts. According to these scholars there is no clear-cut distinction between religious and aesthetic experiences. Detachment, single-mindedness and dedication are necessary prerequisites for religious contemplation as well as aesthetic pleasure.
In both of the above mentioned experiences the ego and desire are transcended. The detached state of mind experiences a sense of liberty that generates bliss. But are they identical? The only difference is that while the art connoisseur’s aesthetic delight is temporary, a devotee generates a permanent disposition. The art connoisseur desires more and more; his desire is not satiated. The devotee attains permanent bliss that transforms him permanently. He is in an unceasing state of egolessness or desirelessness, and his bliss does not incite further desires.
Mundane existence is characterized by ego and desire that leads to misery. In spiritual as well as aesthetic experiences the attachment is transcended and the pleasure is derived from the experiences that are untainted by any sense of desire. Thus it is this notion of detachment or the freedom from desire that connects the aesthetic experience to the spiritual one.
Within us are vast potentialities that when awakened can help us heal our emotional wounds. Minimizing our ego- selves by cultivating the appreciation of creative arts is one of the ways we can start to connect with our inner-selves. Our consciousness constantly gives us clues and cues about how to use these potentialities but often we do not listen to it. We are in constant motion, too busy to pay attention. We need to rest, stop and listen.
Let’s stop for a few present moments and introduce our tired, stressed, passive selves to our deeper inner selves that are dynamic, eternal and infinite. Let us say hello to our real self and unfold the rest of our life — truthful, beautiful, and full of potentiality. Each individual matters. Together we can make the world a healthier, happier and more peaceful place.
We must slow down for a few golden, present, timeless moments to begin making our lives happier and healthier. The following are a few tips:
- Be kind and gentle to yourself. Eat right, exercise and sleep well.
- Nourish your present loved ones and develop new loving relationships.
- Spend some time with yourself in solitude or in nature once each day.
- Read books and recite poetry that stimulates you to think about yourself or helps you to appreciate nature and the simple things in life. (See Readings)