Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Closer to Spiritual....Bitches.

You could call it derivative. Or you could see it as commentary on what I consider to be highly relevant and thought-provoking blogging. Today, in my internet meanderings, I saw that another yoga blogger (whom I am, sadly, unable to link to due to the fact that my sponsors forbid me to link to sites that are not of a "family" nature) posed the question of whether being "spiritual" requires that one be "nice".

The question piqued my interest.

But as I turned the question over in my mind, I realized that I couldn't quite get my arms around it until I understood what it means to be "spiritual". And according to one dictionary source, "spiritual" is an adjective that describes something or someone "of or pertaining to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature".

I am sure that when most of us toss around the term, "spiritual", we do not exactly have that meaning in mind. It seems to me that when most of us talk about someone being "spiritual", we mean that their focus often turns to matters of God, the universe or the metaphysical. Someone who tends to ask, "What would Jesus do?" might be considered to be spiritual. Similarly, someone who learns all of the verses of the Hanuman Chaleesa might be considered to be spiritual. Someone who sits in meditation on a daily basis might be considered spiritual, whether or not their meditation has anything to do with any god or gods.

These examples simply follow the form of the definition.

But we also consider people to be "spiritual" who shrug off that which is considered "material" or "worldly". Thus, we might not know about someone's belief system, but we might infer spirituality if we see them wearing dreadlocks tied up in big batik scarves, birkenstocks on their feet. Or, if someone tends to walk around in the latest J Brand Jeans, those ubiquitous telltale red-soled Louboutins and an LV Speedy bag, we assume that they are not spiritual.

Of course, we can't really know whether someone is "spiritual" just by looking at them. And being spiritual is far more than whether you pray, chant, keep kosher, wear a nun's habit, practice yoga (which definitely does NOT mean that one is spiritual...I mean, who knows if someone is in it just for the workout, although I suspect that even if someone believes that they are, they probably are getting more out of it than they realize), meditate, whatever.

But I am quite convinced that being spiritual has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with being nice.

Now, being "yogic" is another story entirely, and one which, by definition, involves the practice of "ahimsa", also known as the practice of doing no harm. It's a tough thing, walking the balance between doing what you think is right and truthful and energy-conserving (as also required by the principles of being "yogic") and what, in fact, is not harmful.

Anyway, that's enough for now.



Carl said...

If we all possess spirit, then wouldn't it be realistic to say that everyone is spiritual, whether or not they think so, whether or not they want to be, and whatever behavioral traits they exhibit?

Yoga Chickie said...

Hmmmm....interesting. Doesn't seem right though.

elise said...

"Just because I'm a yogi, doesn't mean I'm a doormat"
-good friend and fellow New Yorker

drawer queen said...

It matters what your definition of spiritual is, but it also matters how you define nice. Nice doesn't mean being pushed around, not speaking up for what you believe or never engaging in confrontation. Spiritual, like yoga, is a path, not a destination and so presumably one would always be walking the path and never really arriving anywhere, giving rise to many opportunities to be tested, to grow and to change. In my experience, growth and change do not always go well with the standard definition of "nice".
I am with Carl...we are all spiritual, just as we are all perfect. Some people are just a little closer to uncovering and revealing that inner perfection to the world and others... still covering it up with the false self stuff. While being spiritual may not include always being nice, it most certainly would include a steady movement toward seeing the "God" in oneself and in others and should result in more "nice". Yeah?

Yoga Chickie said...

A resounding YEAH-AH!!!!

Copyright 2005-2007 Lauren Cahn, all rights reserved. Photos appearing on this blog may be subject to third party copyright ownership. You are free to link to this blog and portions hereof, but the use of any direct content requires the prior written consent of the author.

About Me

My photo
Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


Ashtanga Blogs

Thanks for reading Yoga Chickie!