The case for ordinary spirituality

February 12, 2019

 Too often in the New Age spiritual community, supposed “spiritual” behaviors become a surrogate for an individual’s conscious development. Mala beads, yoga poses on the beach, and meditation decor all become how one displays their commitment to the path of conscious awareness, especially if it’s documented on well-curated social media pages. 


But what does it even mean to be spiritual? Does being a spiritual person mean that you don’t consume sugar or meat? Does it mean that you only date certain kinds of people? Does it mean that you meditate an hour every day and those that don't aren't as spiritual as you?


Of course not. We all have our own experiences of spirituality but it is important to understand that spirituality is first and foremost inherent in our own conscious experiences. No external experience, even meditation, gives rise to spirituality; but rather, our spirituality is a pre-condition to witnessing our current state. This means that even sitting on the toilet taking a dump can be a spiritual endeavor. Sitting in traffic can be a spiritual exercise. Watching the gallons tick away at the gas pump can be a trigger for awakened consciousness. 


Ordinary spirituality is the bulk of our spiritual experience. Since most of us aren't donning monk's robes and going off on silent retreat to examine the nature of our minds, we are left living out our day to day lives doing ordinary things. Once we understand that it's not the things we do that make us spiritual, but the quality of consciousness we bring to the present moment, we start developing a flexibility in our spirituality. We start recognizing the ego's identification with so-called spiritual pursuits. We release ourselves from the lure of the New Age spirituality movement that often seems like it's more about profit and marketing than it is about helping people uncover the true nature of the Self. 


All one needs is the ability to be present with the mind. The mind is like a laboratory and consciousness is an impartial observer of what occurs there. However our thoughts are directed, we begin to see that they not only arise of their own accord, but that we can't even predict what our next thought will be. That tells us that our thoughts function independently of consciousness. We can be aware of them or not, but they are always there, often out of our own control. What is in our control, though, is the process of identification with the thoughts themselves. We can observe a pattern of thought, recognize when identification occurs, and become curious enough to investigate what is ultimately true about our experience.


Embracing ordinary spirituality is a practice in recognizing external conditioning in all it's forms. It's not to judge the conditioning, but rather to see it for what it is, so that we don't confuse conditioning for the Self. This first step is the only hope we have of being able to witness if a "Self" even exists....and it is this, the vanishing of who we think we are, that is the only consistent experience of consciousness itself.






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