Thursday, September 11, 2008

Religious but not Spiritual!

My cousin noticed that I pulled out a book before I hit the bed. She was kind of startled... "what? you ok? you reading Bhagavad Gita?"

Now these kind of reactions have not been very uncommon these days. The other day my wife was a bit visibly disturbed too. She asked me if this was the right age to think of spirituality?

Made me ponder if things have changed so much in my life that people started noticing them? If they did, damn! I am mighty pleased about it! For I think the direction I have chosen is to improve my life and definitely not a retrograde step! And what has age got to do with being spiritual or not? Its the experiences (and what you learn from them) which show you the right path.

I am struggling to be spiritual but I always felt I was farther from the destination than from the source of journey! Yes, I turned religious - that was easier! It has become a fad for people to claim that they are "spiritual but not religious!" Go around and you would see that on descriptions of most orkut profiles!

I will have to confess, inspite of the visual changes that people have been in noticing in my approach to life, I still believe I have at best turned religious. My spiritual journey is yet to start!

Turning religious was not easy for someone who was an atheist for a long while! For someone who believed that even utter chaos could be explained rationally! Even today, I do not want to get into an argument and support the existence of God. My thought process is clear - when I believe in His existence, I am at peace! And thats what matters to me! PEACE!

While being religious may be comparitively easy, even the attempts to turn spiritual are much tougher

I practise very simple exercises to get ready for the spiritual marathon. For example, with practice over 6 months, I now can turn away from the most mouth watering dishes - just with out a second thought! A few months of practise allows me to walk even in the most crowded place with the most beautiful looking girls with out giving any one even a second look.

Now lest we conclude that I am depriving myself of the beauty and pleasures of life, I feel lot more content and happier inside me that I can say NO to any kind of distraction at my will.

Its not that I have given up on sweets. Its not that I have given up on materialistic comforts! Its not that I stopped all my work and started meditating!

In fact, I work harder than ever before. Work keeps my mind uncluttered from negative thougts. It helps me not to think evil of anyone. I work because I realize my potential to contribute to this world through my work. It is no longer purely because of some self agrandizement. I do not claim that the last vestige of selfishness in me is removed - but I can definitely vouch that I am lesser selfish today than what I was yesterday!

And I do know that even my blogs have turned quite serious in nature. Am I aware of it? Heck! Yes! Because one of my first test beds to keep a check on my 'expectations' started on the blogs! When I look back a few months, it suddenly stuck me that I was writing for appreciation of others! While a genuine wish for being appreciated is nothing wrong, but I realized that I did actually visit other people's blogs not necessarily because I enjoyed them, but because that would return the favor and write a few comments on my blog too! I stopped blogging for a few months at a stretch for I had some serious thinking to do - whether I was blogging to 'socialize'? Whether I was blogging to seek 'attention'?

I decided that I will blog once again ONLY when I have learnt to work for myself. I decided that I would visit only those sites which I genuinely love to read. Not because I want them to come back and read my blog! Yes... if someone was interested in reading and sharing their thoughts they were always welcome... and surely it would make me happy... but blog I would ... primarily for myself! And that perhaps changed the complexion of the canvas... because now it started becoming more of 'bouncing board' to clear my concepts of bettering my standards of living.

A similar example was with my rather long hair. Wanted to grow it again... and I asked a simple quesiton "why?". The answer was a resounding "attention" and "appreciation" from others! Straight I went to the barber and ordered for a summer cut!

I have not turned spiritual yet... Its an ocean that I see in front of me. My limbs are not yet strong to help me swim across and hence my status at best today is "religious not yet spiritual!" I am just trying the swimming pools to strengthen my chest and arm muscles to take on the violent ocean later!


Tys on Ice said...

appreciation...attention....i read somewhere else in some blog tht, thts why we do this...for a moment i had to agree...i hve noticed tht in the blogsphere theres a tendency for the ' u scratch my back and i will scratch urs'...a kinda mutual admiration club..

but there are times i cant help but wonder if its not the law of attracting likeness to oneself...its like sending out ur thoughts and u attract similar people with similar thoughts coming into ur life...ofcourse u do have the walk ins but they tend to leave after some time...

forget abt all that...

wanted to know this...iam one who has given up religion but chose spirutuality....its all so cliche now...anyways, i have chosen to keep god out of everything because i have felt tht if i was god the only way i cud work in this world that i live in is through my to believe in a god will become a crutch, something that will always make me underestimate my own iam an atheist...its wht i wud expect my creations to be...

u understand where iam going with this?

theres a truth raghu...i know this...theres a reason...theres a meaning to all this...yet, sometimes it breaks u inside....i guess we live out whtever it is we want to experience and understand...

there will come a day; soon; when u will stop writing...becoz words will never be able to express wht u have become...u will not be able to tell it, no matter how elequent u try to be...

then u will relax...u will let life wash over you...u will never have exert...u will just be...

i wait for it to end....tired.

Raghu said...

its true we may be genetically programmed to seek attention and appreciation. But does not mean that we should not attempt to go beyond that.

regarding God, its a personal choice. I have seen a few extremes in belief in the existence of God. With my current understanding of God, I do not necessarily agree with you that belief in God can underestimate your own potential. On the contrary, I today feel that if I believe that I am an instrument in His hands I seem to be getting better at my work!

Belief in God, can not be an excuse for absconding from giving your best. Belief in God should not be equated to sychophantic subservience. God expects each of His creations to deliver the BEST given their ability, maturity, skills.

Gandhiji believed in God. If you read his autobiography you would realize that he drew his strength from God.. for him God was the only Truth and hence his obsession with truth. And I do not think God came in his way of achieving so many laudable victories for the needy.

Like I said, to be honest, I can never know the existence of God. But if it gives me a reason to be strong and peaceful inside, if it gives me a reason to be a better person and if it gives me a reason to strive towards higher standards of living... I just want to believe in Him. :)

And yes... the stage you mention here is what most wise men would call samadhi. But that's a long way from where most of us stand today. But I can tell you that even the journey is worth it :)

Ananya said...

Loved this post of yours!its quite late even I turned slightly spiritual for the purpose of being at peace with myself!praying at odd times and waking up early morning for that peaceful refreshes both the mind and the soul!It actually encourages u to take the world...personal peace is actually all that matters...if u r in peace with yourself u'll b at peace with all around!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

rm said... to ur post..saw ur comment on tys on ice ..shit post..and thought to look into.
and what ever comment i had in mind is already written and explained here..

yes belief in god gives u peace of mind..and thats what matters.

Raghu said...

personal peace ... yes... thats what matters.

feel happy for you that meditation works for you. I hear a lot of people find it difficult to take it up :)

yes.. yes.. personal peace and personal control... u got them and you got the world!

Raghu said...

thanks for dropping by.

I think belief if God gives us a lot of things ... strength and peace to name a few.