Moral values and beliefs are unique to every individual and to the social group to which he or she belongs. A person’s moral sense of right and wrong stems from the inherent value system in which that individual grows up. This in fact defines the essential difference between religion and spirituality. While religion instills a strong judgement of ethical or unethical in individuals, spiritual quest is all about independent beliefs and liberation. Religion requires a strong abidance to the rules of morality preached by it but spirituality is only a process of discovering the meaning of life. Religion mandates renunciation of things which it considers detrimental to abidance but spirituality begins by acceptance not just of oneself but also the differences between oneself and others. Being spiritual is like inculcating an inner discipline for being able to search answers to the various intriguing questions about existence. It does not require giving up of or abandoning of anything but paradoxically it means accepting everything with an equal grace. There can simply not be anything negative and positive or good and bad in the path towards spiritual awakening. All human emotions and instincts must be regarded asemanating from nature itself and not independently from it. Such an all assimilating attitude necessitates winning over one’s own ego at the outset. An individual yearning spiritual liberation has to consider himself/herself a minuscule manifestation of the larger universal order. All the desires, traits and emotional and physical abilities of an individual are natural as they have been biologically ordained.
There are several schools of thought where individuals and groups have sought spiritual enlightenment through rather unconventional beliefs and practices. These belief ecosystems may be hard for others to accept or respect due to their seemingly non conformist character. However, in search of self discovery and liberation it is not necessary to conform to established conventions. Being unconventional sometimes in fact strengthens the self determination and devotion towards spiritual pursuits.
There is a sect in Hinduism which has always stirred up intrigue and awe among people. For this sect of devotees the way of attaining liberation or moksha from the endless cycle of birth and death is by accepting what others perceive as prohibited and forbidden. The entire purpose is to transcend social taboos through maintaining an altered state of consciousness. For the followers of this belief system universal truth can be achieved only by surrendering one’s ego completely and merging with the elements of earth. By accepting with dignity everything which has been condemned by society they believe that they become close to nature. What others may deem as extreme rituals and practices are routine for them. They also believe in intoxicating themselves, which they believe helps them meditate better. They eventually reach a state where all bodily sensations like cold or heat, hunger or illness do not prevent them from proceeding on their spiritual path. Despite their isolation from general society, they feel really content from within.
Another unique and intriguing spiritual philosophy belongs to Osho’s school of thought. In this philosophy being completely in harmony with nature by surrendering totally to one’s instincts and desires is the right way of achieving peace and happiness. Osho was known in the 1970s and 80’s for his unconventional spiritual discourses and meditative practices. His non traditional and open minded attitude towards life touched the distraught life of innumerate people in the US as well. In the philosophy expressed expounded by Osho, heavy importance was given to mindful meditation, freedom of thoughts and action and humour. It stood against all forms of religious suppression and regarded most conventional religions as static and orthodox. Osho maintained that spiritual growth comes by flowing freely like wind and water, without resisting one’s inner impulses and qualities. He believed that animals are much healthier and peaceful than humans as the former live in complete harmony with the nature while human beings live a stressful artificial life. His idea of the ‘new man’ or the modern man is one where modern individuals are simple and ordinary. These modern individuals completely accept their physical and mental form with grace and pleasure. They just live in the moment and aspire for nothing extraordinary at all. There is therefore no negative feeling like envy, pride or frustration germinating in an individual’s mind. Being deeply connected to one’s own heart and mind is the only concept of spirituality for Osho. He famously said, “Find ecstasy within yourself. It is not out there. It is in your innermost flowering. The one you are looking for is you.”
Therefore each individual’s spiritual journey is unique. It is a reflection of all the experiences which he or she has built up in the consciousness. The ultimate aim of spiritual quest is to find meaning and purpose of life within one self. No set of rules and no amount of dogmas can enable a person to experience true liberation. Self acceptance and considering oneself a mere component of the nature opens up one’s mind to the simple yet rewarding joys of life. It also fosters a deeper connection with our fellow beings. There can be no single path to spiritual wisdom and often the seemingly most offbeat belief systems also enable people to discover their spiritual selves in their own distinctive manner.
(Hailing from Dehradun, the author is a graduate from Delhi School of Economics & a freelance content writer on social issues & spirituality)
Friday, 31 May 2019 | Saumya Pande Mittal | in Devbhoomi Spiritual
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