It is possible to be spiritual in this modern world, but doing so is becoming more challenging daily. We are constantly bombarded with newer and shinier technologies that make it impossible to focus on any one thing for more than a few seconds but whether we see this technology as a blessing or a curse is up to us.
How can we define spirituality? Luckily, one of these shiny new technologies [ Chat GPT ] can tell us. When I asked it what spirituality was, it gave me the following description:
“Spirituality refers to a belief in or connection to something greater than oneself, or a sense of the sacred or transcendent. It can also refer to a personal belief or practice related to an individual’s sense of purpose, meaning, or inner experience. Spirituality may involve a connection to a higher power, a sense of inner peace, or an understanding of one’s place in the universe. It can be expressed through religious or non-religious beliefs and practices. It can be an important aspect of one’s overall well-being.”
I agree with the robot; spirituality can be essential to one’s overall well-being if one finds it. I couldn’t have defined spirituality better than this if I had tried. AI is winning the battle of definitions, but humans still have an advantage; we can feel spiritual. We feel it when we go to church, meditate or take certain drugs.
We feel spiritual when we are at peace with ourselves or connect to something greater than ourselves. As technology invades every aspect of our lives, finding these moments of inner peace is becoming more challenging.
We are constantly bombarded with media that reinforces our negativity and availability biases, leading us to believe that the world is a terrible place. With COVID, war and inflation, it’s easy to forget that we live in a time of opportunity.
Opportunity for spirituality
To feel the warm glow of spirituality, you must make time for it. It’s easy to think that we don’t have time for church or meditation, but the reality is that we have the time, but we have not made it a priority. We always find time for the things we prioritize like a smoker always finds money for cigarettes. Your priorities will be chosen if you don’t actively choose them.
To find tranquillity, we must make space for it. In The attention revolution, B. Alan Wallace explains that our world is dictated by what we pay attention to. When you focus on the light, your world is a happy place. However, the more negativity you pay attention to, the more your world becomes a miserable place.
Sadly, many places of worship still need to modernize to win the competition against the instant dopamine hits obtainable from the internet. Religious architecture brings forth that feeling of something greater than ourselves. Still, we need a reason to go into those holy halls; to find those reasons, we must reprioritize well-being.
In a hyperconnected world full of distractions, we are constantly disconnected from each other and ourselves. It’s time to unplug from technology and start prioritizing ourselves. The purpose of meditation is that it has no purpose; nothing is attained because there is nothing to attain.
I needed to read several spirituality books and fall off the meditation wagon to understand that lesson. Even though I meditated for half an hour daily, I forgot how to meditate. It took me listening to Mark W. Muesse’s lecture series Practicing mindfulness and renewing my subscription to Headspace to get back on a path to spirituality.
Spirituality is not the goal of meditation, but it is the result. If we aim for it, we are grasping and will not attain it. Meditation is most effective when we let go of expectations for a positive reaction; only then do we feel something.
Feeling spiritual through meditation is like trying to catch a fish with your hand. When you leave your hand in the water and expect nothing, the fish might swim right into it. If you try to catch it, it will run away. If you see the fish and plunge your hand to grab it, all you will get is wild water. You must sit, wait, and forget about the fish for it to come to you.
There are several paths to spirituality, but the secret is to let it come to you. Even with drugs, you must release control and let them take you on an adventure. Psychedelics can take you to very dark places; if you grasp for the light, you must let it come to you.
When you put yourself in a spiritual situation, let go of any agenda. When you do, you will feel an overwhelming sense of love come over you. That sensation of ultimate love for everything and everyone is the definition of spirituality.
A computer can generate a definition and tell you what steps to follow, but only you can let it in. Invite your spirit for tea, get comfortable with empty space and for the love of all that is a good focus on your blessings in life. This positivity and the ability to let go are critical features of a longevity mindset.
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