What does being ‘Spiritual’ mean?
You know how people sometimes say things like, “You’ll love Shenkiwa, she’s so spiritual!”, then smile knowingly to imply how this Shenkiwa girl really know’s where Gaia’s at?
What is really meant by using this word in this way?
I think I know.
It means Shenkiwa DOESN’T go to church but she’s not a BAD PERSON.
Sure, not everyone who talks about being ‘spiritual’ comes from a religious background—but a lot do.
I grew up for ten years going to a fundamentalist church meeting every Saturday (no, we weren’t Jehovah’s, though we followed some of the same fun tenants—like not celebrating Christmas). Fortunately for my mental, physical and spiritual health however, my father quit being a minister in The Worldwide Church of God around the time of my tenth birthday.
Luckily I was saved from having to continue into my teens listening to him or any of the other ministers speculate when Hey-Zeus was going to return and kill everyone who didn’t salute.
But I didn’t completely escape the wide-spreading tentacles of doing-good-isms which, to some people’s way of thinking, manifested in various new forms as part of the New Age Movement, a way of thinking (and wearing tie dyed fisherman pants) which possibly peaked in the 90′s.
Over a decade since my family left the Christian sect I’d grown up in (being taught only a select group of chosen people were worthy of the Universal Creator’s conditional love) I jumped right into reading anything and everything that offered an inclusive alternative.
I started with the seventies classic, Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance then followed that up with Introduction to Buddhism by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso before paying visit to Paulo Coelho. I bought, devoured and recycled books by Dr Wayne Dyer, Shakti Gawain, Dan Millman, James Redfield, Neale Donald Walsch (the first book) and almost everything Louise Hay’s Hayhouse Publishing ever put out (including the collected works of my all-time favourite metaphysical writer, Stuart Wilde).
And I grew to love all this being ‘Spiritual’ talk.
Not that I regret it.
For me, that period of metaphysical exploration, both within (I meditated and did Iyengar yoga for years) and without (the Theosophical book store in Melbourne is still one of my favourites) was immeasurably rewarding.
I learnt some great stuff.
I learnt we often attack in others what we fail to accept in ourselves; I learnt it’s important to question the need to go to another person (priest/guru) for a connection to the divine, and that seeking the approval of such a gatekeeper is not only unnecessary it is contrary to what the spark of Universal Intelligence inside each of us prompts us to do: I learnt we are all God (John Lennon said that; others may have also).
And I learnt the Infinite Universal Intelligence has no preferences; I learnt we are all spiritual.
Because if I took one single idea away from all the different books I read—whether on Buddhism, Taoism, Eckhart Tollism of any of the other isms of spirit (now that’s a good name for a band: The Isms of Spirit)—it was and is that we are all one: ‘I’ does not exist; you am I; I am you; I am that.
We are all spiritual beings having a physical experience.
So, when I saw the above photo of Ricky Gervais, one he posted on Twitter a few days ago, I had to laugh because I knew the decidedly Christian majority of Twitterland (and WordPress for that matter) probably wouldn’t be laughing.
“How dare he?” I imagined more than a few hundred thousand would say.
“That’s sacrilegious!” another million would indignantly chime in.
But not me. I reckon Ricky Gervais is hilarious, brave and very, very spiritual.
In fact Ricky Gervais is God.