Guiding Light: Understanding Spirituality

Guiding Light: Understanding Spirituality

To know the ‘I’ that is beyond the body, mind and thinking and at the same time, which is inherent or immanent in the mind, body and thinking The immanent and transcendental self is what traditional spirituality is about

Swami Brahmavidananda SaraswatiUpdated: Friday, October 27, 2023, 12:08 AM IST
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Guiding Light: Understanding Spirituality | representational pic

Among the many words in the English language, the word ‘spirituality’ is one of the most vague, catch-all phrases that you will find. What is spirituality? People would generally say anything that makes you feel good about yourself and take that feeling of goodness to your day-to-day life. Any practice that can make you feel calm and peaceful in your life.

Any practice that can give you a strong will, would be spiritual, therefore, fasting or even a game of football could be spiritual. Any practice that can calm your emotions and help you to manage them well could be considered spiritual. Any practice that leads you to decisive action would be considered spiritual.

So you see, the word ‘spiritual’ is a catchall term that is used for any practice or system that can enhance the human spirit and make your body, mind and hence your emotions and thinking function effectively. In short, if there are practices that can make you think clearly, feel deeply, act decisively, that would be considered spiritual in the modern sense of the term.

However, in traditional learning or traditional spiritual disciplines, all this would be considered only a preparation for your true spiritual life. Ultimately spirituality is about knowing the I that is independent of your body, your emotions, your thinking and at the same time, that ‘I’ which enlivens your body, mind and thinking.

To know the ‘I’ that is beyond the body, mind and thinking and at the same time, which is inherent or immanent in the mind, body and thinking. This immanent and transcendental self is what traditional spirituality is about. All of these spiritual practices are looked upon as making your mind and body capable of gaining the knowledge of the ‘I’. Otherwise, if that is not kept in mind, spirituality can degenerate into some vague new age practices which may not have much practical relevance.

The writer is the founder of Aarsha Vidya Foundation. You can write to him at aarshavidyaf@gmail.com

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