It is important to define spirituality for ourselves in order to define a direction of consciousness. It is all very well to say that spirituality can be different things for different people and is not any one thing, but if we integrate this philosophy directly into our lives then we will limit our own perceptions and understanding of it.
Getting deep into anything requires commitment. What this actually means is putting off other things, at least for a while to focus on what is important. In this case we are focusing on spirituality and the “other things” are what we are not included within our spiritual practice.
Developing spiritual understanding requires a very closed mind. We must be closed to all that would stop us from progressing, at the very least until we have developed the strength and ability to overcome them at will. If we are too open, then we go nowhere. Being closed to all except those things which are of value to us is what commitment really is. It is dedication. If we are so open that we cannot even focus on one thing then we are not committed, or perhaps we are committed to being non-committed.
The problem with philosophies that are basically just one line slogans such as “be in the moment,” “go with the flow” or “just let go,” are that they often don’t come along with a biography of why they are of use.
What will I get out of “letting go,” “being in the moment” or “going with the flow?” It is the reason that is most important and it is the reason that defines direction, commitment and deep understanding.
This is the very reason why defining spirituality requires a closed mind.
It is only through this closed mind that the definition can be deepened. It is this commitment and dedication that brings the experience of understanding and it is this understanding that defines spirit. When spirit is actually experienced clearly then the belief that the closed mind is required can and will be transformed because at this point that mind has already changed. It has changed because spirit has been defined. It has been defined through experience.
Attempting to hold multiple definitions before achieving the experiences necessary to facilitate understanding will only limit and hinder development.
It is like deciding to take disciplined daily walks, but also holding to a belief that one should not have schedules or plans. The two will conflict and perhaps neither will evolve very far.
Spiritual defining requires critical and honest evaluations of what is and what is not included. As long as these ideas are implemented into practice they will not become dogma, because experience will crumble those that don’t stand the test and strengthen those that do. Interestingly there is far more blind dogma in believing that we should be open to everything and everyone, but never really testing if this is true, than to have committed directions that we test and test in the reality of real life practice and experience.
Experience brings beliefs, experience breaks beliefs. Real open mindedness comes as a result of having our beliefs broken. False open mindedness is to pretend that we are open and never test our true feelings, desires and ideas. One brings truth, the other maintains illusion. In truth, beliefs, ideas and concepts are broken from moment to moment.
One day we think “letting go” is all the rage. The next day we fall in love and couldn’t think of anything worse than letting go of this person. One moment we talk about “being in the moment” the next moment someone cuts us off in our car and we can’t let go of the past for the next 4 hours. These incongruent states show up a lot when we cling to beliefs. If on the other hand we “let go” of our clinging of beliefs then they are able to be tested in the light of reality. Here we gain real wisdom. We look at our skill level and realize that our ability to “let go” of these emotional attachments are on a scale of 1 to 10 at about a 2 – and that what is required is about a 7. Then we realize that to “let go” perhaps we need to accept that we can’t let go and so let go of needing to let go – and then perhaps just let ourselves hold on like jackals.
It is experiencing these incongruent states and misalignments that allow us to understand the different faces of a concept, theory or idea. Without experiencing these we become very rigid all the while thinking that we are being open. Practice, action, experience and critical observation allow us to see that even in rigidity we may be learning to flow, that even when not “in the moment” we may be learning to “be” and that even when holding on like there is no tomorrow, we may be learning to “let go.” All does not need to be as it appears on the surface. It is the reason beneath it all, the reason why we are doing what we do that makes our action and practice valuable and powerful.