There is so much confusion when we decide to live ‘spiritually’. It’s really a nonsense idea because everyone is trying to live spiritually whether they brand it that or not. Spirituality is simply an exploration of living through ‘the spirit’ which means the true essence of ourselves, from love, to find the universal nature in everything and every experience. This might finding God/the Divine in your moments and it might just mean enjoying every moment of life. That can be an Ayurvedic tea or it can be a glass of red wine. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ path to spirituality. Being in India reminds me of this so deeply, and how we get it all muddled up in the West. You can wear modern high-end fashion and be spiritual, or you can wear traditional Indian clothing, or Korean Buddhist monks clothing, or look like you’re from Tibet. One is not better than the other, one is not ‘more spiritual’.
I was asked by a lot of our students coming if they needed to wear traditional Indian clothes. In India, I now just wear all my regular clothes. An old teacher of mine told me it was really important to wear high-end clothes so we fit in. I don’t like wearing a sari, so I tried wearing the men’s Kirta suits, which looked quite cool to be honest, but every Indian man I met would tell me I couldn’t wear men’s clothes! My trying to fit in was actually offensive haha! Wearing traditional Indian clothing, I have worked out just isn’t for me. Turns out my bright peach Issey Miyake pleated pants are actually perfect for this climate. But it is truly wonderful for others to wear the traditional clothing, they love it and feel their best wearing a Doti and what the yogi’s wear. And the thing is it’s ALL okay. But doing it because we think we ‘should’ is not.
You can eat a Sattvic (pure and nourishing diet) and live in Ahimsa (non-violence) and be vegetarian, or you can eat fried chicken and smash beers with it. How you go about it is important, and how non judgemental you can be to yourself and others is also key. If you’re eating in a particular way and insisting to everyone yours is ‘the only way’ and being dogmatic and shaming people about their choices, it’s not ‘spiritual’ no matter how high and closer to God you think it might be.
I’m going to continue this stream of thought and dive deeper tomorrow, but for now, have a think about the ways in which you might be following some well-intentioned but misconceived idea about what spirituality might mean. Where are you feeling out of place and misaligned in your path to being a better human? Is there anything that feels unnatural, but you were told was ‘the only way’.
Sent with love,