What Does it Mean to Live a Spiritual Life?

We don’t have to concoct or contrive or conceptualize a “spiritual” life.  The life process is Self-recognition, and it is already underway in  its myriad manifestations.  Our purpose is non-different from this world process of Self-recognition.  The only question is, are we going to move with the life process or fight against it until we die of exhaustion.  — Pilgrims to Openness: Direct Realization Tantra in Everyday Life, Shambhavi Sarasvati

Sometimes, our lives are full of vivid meaning and awakenings and new understandings.  When we go through big, obvious changes, it can be easy to connect with our spirituality.  We feel life moving through us.  We feel our hearts widen.  There is a lot of power in times of transition and growth.

And sometimes, life just quietly powers along in a series of small pleasures and disappointments.  We do not sense anything moving.  We are just living our days.  In those moments, our spiritual path might become unclear.  What comes next?  How do we continue to connect with our spirituality?

In those moments, we might take action.  There is an endless parade of spiritual books and tapes and events designed to help us on our path.  We search for a spiritual project to work on.  Some issue to heal, some prayer to say, some transformation to undergo.  When we feel things moving again, we feel better.  We are on our way!

Effort can be wonderful.  It can even be necessary.

But what if we stay with “not knowing”?  What if drop the idea that we know what our spiritual path looks like?

There is a beauty in admitting that we do not know, of letting go of our affirmations and positive thoughts and things to improve.  It returns us to humbleness.  It can also be a relief, a healing rest.

When I relax into not-knowing, life tastes fresh and full of possibility.  It is so much larger than me!  I also feel a sense of playfulness and joy.  There is nothing to fix or improve.   There is no lesson to be learned.  I do not need to be involved in any story with a clear beginning, middle, and end.  All I need is to open my heart to my own deep longing for connection.

As I write these words, I am reminded of people who have asked me: so, what does it mean to live a spiritual life?  The answer is that I have no idea.  Sometimes it appears big and dramatic and awe-inspiring.  Sometimes it is so basic and good, just about people becoming more themselves.  Sometimes it is rigorous, and demands particular shifts and growth.  Sometimes it is about freely expressing love and gratitude, without any particular thing to achieve.   And often, it is about forgetting all of these concepts, and just laying your heart bare to whatever unfolds.

To me, the only thing spirituality really means is that you acknowledge a call to meet yourself more deeply.  Sometimes the call is loud, sometimes it is soft.  You do not know where it will take you or what it will ask of you.  And that is okay.  Just keep hearing the call, and follow it wherever it takes you.

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6 thoughts on “What Does it Mean to Live a Spiritual Life?

  1. Jane says:

    the question is asked so often, and yet,as you say, the answer is so difficult. But you have answered the question perfectly here…especially in the last two paragraphs! Quite amazing that you have managed to summarize this very difficult issue into such precise and concise words. I would like to reblog this with your permission. And also with your permission, to use part of this on Facebook. This is without a doubt one of the best blog posts I have read in a long time.!:-)
    with love light and JOY

  2. Jane says:

    Reblogged this on Not In India 2012 and commented:
    This is such a difficult question to answer, but this post seems to have said it amazingly well, precisely and concisely! The last two paragraphs are particularly powerful. Thanks to three dee life for this and I am passing it along with love light and JOY

  3. Eric says:

    this is beautiful.
    I spent the weekend at several workshops connecting to “Self-recognition” through meditation, chanting, drumming, and dance. it was very supportive and healing, then to come back to the ‘dusty world’ and deal with the regular crap of quotidian life…either way, the main thing is to always keep the main thing the main thing, or, as you say to “meet yourself more deeply” as we relax with not-knowing.

    “Each moment has a beginning, middle, and an end, and each of these a beginning, middle, and an end, and so on ad infinitum.” ~Nagarjuna

    thank you.

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