Here is an article that I had written, an abridged version of which appeared in The Speaking Tree Edition of The Times of India dated August 3, 2014.
Most of us who are on the spiritual path would have encountered the terms spiritual ego, spiritual competition and spiritual shopping. When I became conscious of my path, I was warned of these concepts also. But I was sure that these things won't happen to me, or so I thought, this path was supposed to be full of compassion, healing, love, peace and happiness. I thought competition was a part of the corporate life which I had left behind a few years ago.
But as I trod along the path, these terms began making an appearance, albeit slowly. As people around you come to know of your spiritual interests, conversations naturally tend to steer toward it. You will be asked with anxiety, whether you practice reiki daily? How long do you meditate daily? Have you read a book of this particular author? How many spiritual workshops have you attended? Do you know pranic healing, tarot cards, angel cards, etc.? Are you part of any spiritual organization? You will be given unsolicited gyan on what a particular guru or teacher says and if you tend to disagree with that, then Lord only spare you!!
All this can sometimes cause a lot of energy imbalance and anxiety inside you. One needs to remember that at a deeper level this is a very personal journey and that it needs to be respected for what it is. There are many paths which lead to the same Source and to assume that yours’ is the only path is a serious disservice to someone else’s journey.
My conscious journey started after the sudden and tragic death of my parents in an accident when I had just been blessed with a lovely baby. This was the first time aspects of duality- death and birth, anger and gratitude, darkness and light were staring at me right at my face. This made me question every concept I knew or was conditioned to believe about life and death. My relationship with the Universe had got distorted and it had been of anger yet of thankfulness. And this confused state of mind was affecting my daily life. And I realised that to be a better person, I have to heal myself completely at a soul level.
Clarifying my purpose helped me to get back to the place of unconditional love and compassion once again.
We all got attracted to our own spiritual path in this lifetime for a particular reason. The reasons could be various for each one of us such as needing to manage our daily stress, loss of purpose in life in general, relationship issues, a need to heal some disease, a loss of loved one and so on. If we are clear about our purpose of getting on this journey, then it helps us stay true to it. Monitoring our improvements on this front helps us increase our self-confidence and thus reduces our inner anxieties to keep cross checking our efforts with others. As Thich Nhat Hanh said “There is no enlightenment outside of daily life”. If your practice is helping you in your daily life to become a better person, improving your relationship with your loved ones, healing you, giving you inner strength, then how does it matter how many hours your neighbour is meditating or how many workshops he is attending?
To me, a spiritual journey is an inner experiential journey of self-actualization. It is about discovering the divine place within you and not outside of you. It is futile to judge others and draw comparisons on this path. It is about listening to our inner voice who has been our eternal companion in our journey and guides us towards finally uniting with our true being, provided we listen to it!