Because, I literally failed, to come up with a better title for these avian headshots!
Perhaps, the easiest way to define spirituality would be to understand that it is both immaterial and non-earthly. Often confused, but not exactly so, it is not a religion or a doctrine or even a preaching. It doesn't demand the establishment of either an organization or sect or cult. Neither does it need a person or a face for representation.
Spirituality is all about taking care of oneself. It is the feeling to know and believe that you are healthy in the soul, mind & body. And you will always be taken care of.
Interestingly, the other side of spirituality is also to break our own mental barriers; jump over those virtual chasms that our minds create.
The old ones talk of a brief moment in each of our lives, when we feel lost; more lost that ever possible. And there in the middle of that chaos, we come to face with the nakedness of our own fears and the depths of the soul.
The old ones also say, when you experience this moment, there is a deeper meaning to understand, to comprehend.
As per Hinduism, this whole trans-formative experience is broadly governed by four laws of spirituality.
The first law says:
The person who comes to your life is the right person.
No one comes to our life by chance; all the people who surround us, who interact with us, who we encounter, even the toxic ones, who cause us grief or pain, are there for a reason. And we all contribute to each other, in some way or the other.
However, we may not agree, we live in a world of grays. Nothing is absolute; everything is relative. Some days we are the teachers, and some days, we are the students. Each of us has a positive, and also an equal negative.
To look at it, we are just flashes of lights in the darkness. Some of us represent the meaning more accurately. Irrespective, all of us have something to say, and something to hear. With time, we learn to be grateful - for those who complicate our lives as well for those who supported us loyally throughout.
And at the end, everything, absolutely everything, adds up in life.
The second law says:
What happens is exactly what’s supposed to happen.
Nothing, absolutely nothing that happens in our lives could have happened in any other way. Not even the most insignificant detail. There is no other option; no if, no but. What happened was exactly what was supposed to happen. And it had to be that way so we could learn, and move forward.
Another way to understand it is, what happens to us is the only thing that should happen to us. It’s the right thing at the right time.
We are habitual to thinking about what could’ve happened. The habit of creating hypothetical situations, what we could have done different, to yield a different result.
Each change ripples into unknown, unpredictable situations. Whatever happened, has already moved into the past. Acceptance is the only step. There are no other possibilities. Every single of our actions creates a ripple effect all around.
There is a time and a place for everything. You need to crawl before you can walk, And walk before you can run.
You can’t skip the necessary steps in life.
The third law says:
Any time you start, is the right time.
It is always the right time, no moment before, not a moment after. When we are ready for something new to begin in our lives, it will begin. The teacher appears, when the student is ready.
There are no perfect moments.
We draw everything in our lives; because we are prepared to observe and enjoy them.
And the fourth and last law says:
When something ends, it ends.
And just like that, when something, anything, ends in our lives, it is always supposed to be that way. So it is better to leave it there and move on.
Everything in your life has its moment and reasons for being.
We choose to be tied in an infinite loop of stories and emotions. Saying goodbye hurts. But when something ends, keeping it with us is just an excuse. Moving forward is the best option in order to enrich your life and avoid suffering.
The most impressionable person you interact with every day is you. Be careful with what you tell yourself.
And just flow along with life.
There is only one way: Go within.
Search for the cause, find the impetus that binds you. Put it to this test: Does it stretch out its roots in the deepest place of your heart? Can you avow that you would die if you were forbidden to it?
Above all, in the most silent hour of your night, ask yourself this: Must I?
Dig deep into yourself for a true answer. And if it should ring its assent, if you can confidently meet this serious question with a simple, “I must,” then build your life upon it.
It has become your necessity. Your life, in even the most mundane and least significant hour, must become a sign, a testimony to this urge.
I have noticed that when all the lights are on, people tend to talk about what they are doing - their outer lives. Sitting round in the candlelight or firelight, people start to talk about how they are feeling - their inner lives.
They speak subjectively, they argue less, there are longer pauses.
To sit alone without any electric light is curiously creative. I have my best ideas at dawn or nightfall, but not if I switch on the lights - then I start thinking about projects, deadlines, demands and the shadows and shapes of the house becomes objects, not suggestions, things that need to be done, not a background to the thought.
You need to ask yourself: “When I’m looking back on my life, from my deathbed, which one of these options will I regret not doing the most?” Use that answer to helpfully guide you. In her book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware shares that the number one regret in life is “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
Because here’s how I think about it.
One day I will die. One day you will die. Furthermore, one day our grandparents will die and our parents will die and our kids will die and their kids will die and their kids will die and their kids will die. The guy cutting you off in traffic? He’ll die. The lady calling you at dinner selling you a credit card? She’ll die. The cashier at the grocery store? Dead. Every teacher you’ve ever had, everyone who’s ever woken up beside you, every actor in every movie, every politician in every country, will all be dead. In the blink of an eye.
The average lifespan is 30,000 days.
That time is always, always ticking.
And you will never be as young as you are right now.
So what does that mean?
Well, you have two choices.
You can either be horribly depressed by this thought.
You can feel as though nothing really matters since we are all ashes to ashes and dust to dust in the end. The game is already over! What’s the point of this? Of anything? Who cares? Why try? Or, if you do care or do try, maybe it’s because you feel like this weird life on Earth thing is some kind of ‘waiting room’ or ‘test’ towards a higher ideal or better place where we live for infinity after this life is done.
You can be incredibly liberated by this thought.
We are all going to die! So? This really matters. This! Right here. It really matters. Today really matters. The voicemail you leave for your mom? It really matters. The note you put in your kids lunch? It really matters. Putting you phone away to really connect with your family over dinner? It really matters. The smile you share with a neighbor? It really matters. The art you’re making? The risk you’re taking? The cake you’re baking?
It really matters.
It really matters.
Likewise, it really matters.
All of it.
Because there’s not much time.
So in this limited time we have here, in the limited minds we have here, all swimming somewhere inside this vast expanding universe - which, we have no idea what it even is and how it got here and why we got here - our only job, duty, and goal is to live every single day like it is so precious and beautiful a unique and rare and fleeting and finite.
Because it is.
And because this matters.
The choice of being horribly depressed or incredibly liberated is up to you.
If your head is in the clouds, let yourfeet be in the dirt. It's okay to feelyour laughter and to also feel yourhurt.If they tell you to dreamsmaller, just hold on a little more,while still being okay with notknowning what's in store.It's in the grit and grace you will start to findyour place. Under skies blue and grey.You are still on your way.