I have to say this now for if I don’t I will burst: spirituality includes your humanness. It includes your weariness and stumbles as much as it includes your reverence and joy, and it includes Seinfeld as much as satsang. It is perhaps confounding for us all that somewhere along the line, spirituality seemed to begin to exclude the ruffled feathers of our humanity. Maybe it’s all the conditioning of control and the patriarchal structures, or maybe it’s the Eastern focus on enlightenment and nonduality that did it. But whatever is responsible for the misunderstanding that spirituality only breeds on shiny white marble floors—that spirituality is a compartmentalized area of our lives rather than all of life itself—I am sure did not intend for such an epic mix up.
Let’s set the record straight: spirituality or anything that is meant to explore the nature of being could never reject or exclude anything that exists—period. In other words, spiritual practice includes and welcomes not just your ommms, but also your “ommm-my God, I’m about to flip out.” For, after all, although the former may be peace, the latter is just the perception of an absence of peace and therefore an invitation into the opening and expansion process that life is all about. Our places of discovery, illumination, and breakthrough are not limited to our temples and our mosques but extend into traffic jams, dirty dishes, and even our trips to the mechanic.
What’s happened, though, is we have moved so far away from appreciating the sacred, pervasive nature of our vulnerability—which is truly one of our most essential gifts—and as a result of this rejection have struggled, compartmentalized our lives away, and become deeply dissatisfied. For that, it is time to reclaim what we know in our bones to be true. It is time to reclaim the spark in our souls and the expansive holiness of our lives.
It is time for an inner revolution—one that burns away that old paradigm, the idea that who we are as we are is not enough and that life “gives us problems,” and radically welcomes a new paradigm that honors the full spectrum of our human vulnerability and the teachings of the Guru of Life. This, I am sure, is the only way to remember the wholeness we once knew so well.
If that wholeness is what spirituality points towards, then I say spiritual practice is the practice of becoming more aware, via the human experience, of the divinity and unity consciousness that is everyone and everything.
This understanding of spirituality implies that all of life is a ceremony, simply because it is a procession of sacred moments, and all of those moments inherently contain within them the invitation for you to either become more aware or rest in your beingness as awareness itself, as the one who witnesses all. Every single thing from washing the dishes to mowing the lawn is a spiritual activity simply because it involves you—a being of inexplicable cosmic presence—and simply because it is happening. It is a moment available for your totality. It is a moment for you to experience the fullness of life through the incredible spectrum of duality. It is a moment for you to appreciate—really appreciate—that life is not about making you happy or meeting your expectations. It is a moment for you to appreciate that all moments—the “good” moments, the “bad” moments, every kind of moment— are part of the ceremony. It is a moment for the awareness that you are to juice the experience of this divine unfolding—via your presence, accountability, and vulnerability—for all that it’s worth.
This opportunity we have to live from the inside out—to move into holy union by simply working with life as it happens—is profoundly magical, though not unique. It is important to recognize we’ve all got the same keys to the kingdom inside, and no matter who we are, what religion or tradition we do or don’t follow, or how many times we have or haven’t gone to Burning Man or Mass, each of one of us is just as connected and godly as the next. Every single one of us are children of the Universe; we’re all part of the cosmic dance. We’ve all got this potency, this magic inside—it’s what lights up our bodies and pours through us as inspiration. It’s the love we feel. It’s the dance we dance when we know we are free, the song we sing when we really let go. It’s the glimmer of hope, the ray of light we just know is there in our hardest moments.
The ceremony of life begins the moment we become aware that we are in a ceremony at all. This is the drawing back of the curtains where all begins to be revealed. Through our presence (which is simply the here-now, silent, timeless essence of our being that’s unrelated to any past or future) and accountability, moment by moment, all unravels into the deeper, truer layers, and both the treasures within us and the treasures of existence come to reflect before us like the wild prisms they are.