27 Jun Does Spirituality have a place in modern times?
Look around yourself, and at yourself. Don’t you find most of us edgy, over-entertained, stressed and always in a hurry, these days? We start our day weighed down by the stress of the previous day. We eat faster than we should and fail to register the taste of the filling of the sandwich we eat at breakfast. The fast food manufacturers are having a tough time preparing even faster food to cater to our ever increasing speed eating preferences. Thanks to the electronic gadgets at our disposal, we’re losing the art of planning and work in a random manner. We forget our promises and have to work extra hard to honour our commitments. We’re more often than not late for our meetings. We react to situations more often than respond. In Steven Covey’s language, we’re so busy attending to the ‘urgent’ that we have no time for the ‘important’. Most of the times we wear careworn looks or frowns on our faces rather than smiles. We eat unhealthy, fill up our systems with refined sugars, booze and caffeine to keep ourselves going. Our craving for high-decibel emotional charges is rising at an alarming rate. Stand-up comedians have to work extra hard to make us laugh. Our new generations are even more self-centred and self-obsessed than the previous ones. We’re exposed to more negative and fear-inducing news 24×7 or highly dramatic reality shows via different channels and screens coming to us almost free of cost. We’re spending a good percentage of our monthly earnings on health check-ups not to cure our ailments or fix our health issues, but just to be sure that everything is fine. And last but not the least, we are in danger of being swept away by the tsunami of content. This deluge of content is seeking to replace the real experience with virtual experience, in almost every walk of life. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that modern society is getting ‘virtual’ at the cost of ‘real’. All these disturbances—soft agitations—are unprecedented challenges to our consciousness, and very subtly drag it down to a level where our inherent ‘Awareness’, spiritual sharpness gets blunted and we are left with a capacity which, at best, can only help us live a gross (ego-centric) life. Thus, when we live a life dominated by belief patterns and conditionings, we fail to access our finer intuitive faculties that have the potential to put us in touch with the reality, the ‘Truth’.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
But why does this happen to us in the first place? What are the causes behind it? In my opinion, we’re losing touch with our higher consciousness due to the constant chatter and clamour agitating our mental, physical and social world round the clock. This forces us to take faulty decisions and make unhealthy lifestyle choices. A smartphone bereft of all its high-end features, behaving like a basic cell phone, may be an apt, if ironical, parallel. Let’s take this a little further. The characteristics of the modern age that I’ve spelt out, wherever they may be coming from and whatever may be the reasons or excuses we tender for allowing these to mould our lives, they are taking their toll on our health, both physical and mental, and adversely affecting our relationships, productivity, spirituality and life in general.
In these trying, nerve-wracking times, going back to our primordial nature, ‘Love’, is a luxury not many of us can afford. Hence we look around for quick-fix pain relievers. Because we cannot afford a cure, we seem satisfied with solutions that can partly or momentarily alleviate our symptoms, that is mental pain. This way we seek to replace(but in our mind fulfill) our spiritual longing with distractions like sports, entertainment, liquor, drugs, fashion and parties, and try to be true to the outside world(‘I’) by betraying our inner selves. Even when we claim to be making efforts to seek our spiritual side, most of us fall victim to emotionality, ritualism, culturalism, superstition, astrology, occult practices and energy healing. Consequently, we waste a lot of precious time trying to fit these square bolts in the round holes of our spiritual need. I often hear in spiritual circles that people are losing interest in exploring their higher consciousness. Well, they are in fact losing the capacity, not just interest.
The world is full of knowledge about human development(though we may not be able to apply them due to many reasons cited above). Every culture, society, civilization have left legacies in science, craft, governance, literature and spirituality. All we need to do is revisit them and give them a chance. But even before that get a fair idea about our conditionings and capacities or there’s is a fair chance that the ambitious ego (‘I’) may entice you to try the 3rd level before completing the 1st resulting in frustration and heart burn.