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From Spiritual to being Human – Part 1

“The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it.”

          –    Nicholas Sparks (American novelist and screenwriter)

Some time ago, my friend for thirty years passed away in a freak accident- he slipped on the bathroom floor and damaged his brain. He died on the spot.

For months I struggled to come to terms with the disaster. I wondered how God could do this. Although I knew the philosophy of it all, yet, when the reality of the pain sunk in, it was devastating.

Then I had the additional anguish: how could I, a knower of scriptures and a monk for over two decades, lament on transient phases of life.

Another friend came to my rescue. He explained tragedies are part of life, and you are only human if you shed tears in separation from your friend.

Are we authentic?

Many spiritualists, in their otherworldly pursuits, deny normal temperaments. Ideas of transcendence are usually nebulous, and the need to maintain a stoic persona could disconnect a monk from his humanness.

Although it’s essential we rise above our petty problems, still, counter-intuitively, to accept our human frailties only helps us connect to our deeper self. Paradoxical as it may sound, to reach out to divinity we first need to touch our authentic self.

I once interacted with a self-styled young guru who smiled all the time. While his hysterical followers worshipped him, I was uncomfortable with his uncanny personality. I wondered if he was feigning it. Does the beaming visage conceal frightening phoniness? Or maybe that’s his natural awakened state. Recently, however, I heard he volte-faced on the value systems he enshrined; he beat up one of his followers and has been charged with abuse.

We are humans – don’t deny it!

The incident underlines the need to redefine spirituality- let’s be truthful before we exhibit our frenzied devotional side. Yesterday I surprised myself when I wrote a contradiction to our oft-quoted spiritual mantra, “We are not human beings with a spiritual experience but spiritual beings with human experience”; I instead scribbled, “We are after all humans, with a spiritual experience.”

The epiphany was a liberating experience.

For advanced spiritual practitioners, a prayer session, a musical rendition of devotional chants or a visit to a holy temple may awaken ecstasy in their hearts. For lesser mortals (myself included) affections of this world is a reality. When we accept ourselves fully (all feelings involved), we can begin to transcend them slowly.

To be continued….

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