“To be spiritual is to be happy—Spirituality is the science of happiness.” Sri Bhagavan
What does it mean to be a spiritual person? This is a question I’ve thought about quite a lot over the years, and I’m sure everyone reading this will also have their own views about what it means for them.
When I started this journey around 2007, I had no idea what being spiritual meant, but I also didn’t think of myself as a spiritual person either. I knew that I was seeking something—I was looking for happiness and a change to my life circumstances, but that’s as much as I could say at that time.
As I got further and further into my journey and started thinking of myself as “spiritual” that’s when my problems started…
When I say problems, I don’t mean difficulties in my life or anything like that and I’m not talking about any particular challenge I had to face. The problems I’m talking about, were more around how I perceived myself, once I’d labelled myself “A spiritual person”
I think the point I’m trying to make is, in life we like to label ourselves, but sometimes these labels can limit us, even the labels we think are positive. Calling myself spiritual put limitations on me, because of my own narrow thinking about what a spiritual person should look like and act like.
In my mind at that time, I thought a spiritual person should be calm and nice in all situations, they meditated, they spoke softly or in hushed tones, they didn’t swear, shout or use bad language and they certainly didn’t drink alcohol. They were serious and definitely didn’t have any fun.
This was the image the word spiritual conjured up for me.
Looking back now, I can see how narrow-minded and untrue my thinking really was.
I have a funny story to share with you all around this…. last year I went to a two-day lecture given by a Buddhist monk.
This monk had the shaved head and wore the wine red/gold coloured robes as Buddhist monks often do, but this monk was the furthest away from what you’d expect a Buddhist monk to be…well, according to my previously held perceptions.
This monk was loud and brash. She snapped and shouted at her audience when her view was challenged or when she wanted to get her point across. She was sharper than a razor, swore casually and was more than a little bit scary—but in a nice way.
This monk shattered all my previously held views about what a monk should be like, but she made me realise just how much my perceptions shape the way I look at the world.
What I understood from this experience is, just because a person looks or dresses a certain way or wears a uniform, it doesn’t mean they will behave better than the rest of us. It doesn’t mean they have discovered all the mysteries of life or anything…
Because in the end, they are human just the same as you and me, so have the same human qualities and issues as we all do. They are also on their life journey of learning and growing just as we are, so why shouldn’t they get angry, or swear or shout?
When I held my limited views…I couldn’t live in the fullness or enjoy my life because there were things I wasn’t supposed to be or do because if I did them, it would mean I wasn’t spiritual.
I now see that this was all nonsense.
Like the quote from Sri Bhagavan says, to be spiritual is to be happy. So a spiritual person is none of the things I previously described.
One simply becomes spiritual when one is happy.
So, it doesn’t matter what we do, as long as whatever we’re doing is carried out in a framework of joy and harmony without hurting others, or ourselves, then it can be called spiritual.
Bhagavan also says, “All activity is spiritual when there is no conflict”
I love this quote, as the words generate so much freedom in me, freedom to JUST be myself, without labels or limitations.