When I was younger I wanted, as many people do, to be more spiritual, I wanted to devote my life to a spiritual path.
Even while I was in business I spent about six hours a day on various practices. Meditation, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, studies of ancient texts and constant awareness practices.
The time came for me to sell all my business ventures and devote my full efforts of 14 or more hours a day to practices.
After many years, for various reasons, I started to drop my practices yet people still saw me as a very spiritual man. So the question arises as to what being spiritual really is.
The first step is to determine the purpose of being spiritual. Everyone may have their own definition and sadly many will just repeat what they heard rather than have found the meaning and purpose deep in their own heart. Find your own definition. You cannot arrive at a destination if you do not know what it is.
The common view is that it is someone who is not concerned with material objects or money and rather meditates a lot. I have met people who have meditated for decades religiously and are no different than when they began, so that is not it.
Religious people are sometimes not great examples of the teachings they claim to follow, so religious is not necessarily it.
So we can say that neither meditation, chanting, yoga retreats or religion are clear definitions of being spiritual. There must be something else.
Being present and conscious are synonymous with being spiritually awakened. The assumption is that someone who is aware of the repercussions of their actions and having compassion is someone who is spiritual. That seems appropriate.
Spirituality is also referred to as mysticism. A mystic is a practitioner of mystical practices and those are described as the hidden mysteries.
If these mystical secrets are hidden from those who are not adequately awakened prior to being initiated into the mysteries, then how could the average person know the true meaning of a spiritual life?
The problem these days is that there are so many false teachers selling initiations into the great mysteries. Magic enlightenment elixir which is nothing more than dirty tap water, and of course, has no effect.
I eventually came to my definition of being spiritual; a way of living having refined ones mind to the state where the eyes are objectively open and one is consciously aware of what is real and what is not, what is right action and wrong action.
In simple terms, to be a decent person. An objective study of all religions shows they are essentially saying this simple statement. Be a good person and you will join with God.
Yes of course there are many other aspects to a spiritual life such as feeling pure and deep love for someone which will further open your heart and soul, but only if your character has been polished enough otherwise it can become possessive and destructive.
To polish off the roughness of the human personality is easy to understand although difficult to do. Be open minded, harm no one, have perfect integrity, be reliable and responsible for your actions and promises, etc. The list goes on but does not get any more complex than the basics of being a person worthy of respect and admiration.
As Confucius said; “Do not strive to be known, rather strive to be worthy of being known.”
If one developed through spiritual practices the ability to read minds or move objects and used those abilities to manipulate people and other manner of personal gain at the expense of others, many call that person very spiritual for their powers but I would say they are lower than villains. That is not spiritual yet it is what attracts so called seekers.
To be spiritual in my opinion is to be a truly humble and a decent human being. This is probably the hardest task anyone can undertake.
Meditating alone is not going to make you a better person. Yoga, Qi Gong or being able to levitate will not help either.
On the other hand, these practices will help you get the mental focus and energy to do what it means to be spiritual. They are not being spiritual, they are helping you be spiritual.
Simply live each day observing your self, think before you act, determine what is objectively right and wrong, do your job, whatever that may be, live without fear and most importantly, every day, make someone smile.
Let your mind and heart open to feel love by simply living in a way that you do not feel guilt or be filled with selfish desires alone. Consider the repercussions of your actions, how each word and act will effect other people in the moment as well as the long term effects.
This simple code of conduct will make the world a heaven on earth if we could all live this way. Since changing everyone is not realistic, at least this way of living may make your life a little more heavenly.
There is more to truly being spiritual than what I have said here but I felt like putting these thoughts out to the world in case it helps other people who have the inner calling to be better than they are and either have a resistance towards the idea of being spiritual or those who have entered that path and become disillusioned and confused.
Be true to yourself, see yourself as you really are, which is not a pretty sight, and then devote your life to being a better person each day. That is being spiritual, and who knows what changes will come of this way of living.