Not often are we encouraged in the West to renew our spirit and our spiritual thinking. I’m writing this from New York, where it is jam-packed with hundreds of flavours of humanity, densely packed onto the top of one another. I’ve been searching for karate dojo’s in the Shorin-Ryu style that I practice, as well as Zen and Buddhist schools and Tai Chi schools, so that I can continue my slow learning whilst in the frenzy of Manhattan. And they are few and far between. If though, I want to do yoga with cinema style projections, music being filtered from every wall, and a teacher yelping through classes loudly, as well as a fusion of modern psychotherapy meets asanas and hip hop, my options are many.
There is a continued theme that I enjoy throughout my Eastern studies, which is an alignment with nature, a fusing of the mind and body together for harmony, and an exploration of self with the purpose of being able to then assist others. In today’s society increasingly there is a general adoption of spirituality with a rejection of religion, and there is now a somewhat frantic growing in popularity, bowing down at the altars of modern yoga, psychology, and self-help. I ponder as these things increase in popularity, are they decreasing in authenticity and if, with this, we are missing the point.
Are perhaps these somewhat now faux spiritual pursuits becoming yet another model for the ego to grow? What happens when we are really there just focusing on getting a six pack and being able to share on Instagram that we are ‘ultra spiritual’. If the idea is now for the individual to ‘get’ instead of ‘give’ – even within a burgeoning community where does it take us?
In honesty, whatever can help everyone be a decent human being I personally think is great. If that’s beer yoga (yes, it’s a thing) or baby goat yoga (where baby goats climb on students whilst they undertake poses), or Kung Fu with hip-hop music, or Tai Chi with a dance class after it, so be it. If it makes people more compassionate and kind and they walk away from that class more elevated, then why the hell not! I’m not a purist and I think innovation is needed.
I do wonder though, how in these new modalities, how can have an alignment with nature and also help our ‘fellow man’. As these things seem to be getting pushed down the list of importance and are really the original intent for why we even undertake these activities and pursuits.
So today, regardless of what book we are all reading, class we are taking, and quote we are pondering, let’s see what alignment with nature and being a good person might look like at all the other times; at work, in traffic and picking up our kids, at the park, walking home from work, and having a meal.
Because if we only embrace the 2-3% of our day as our spiritual work, we are completely missing the point.
Sent with love,