The Rich Vegetarian

An Examined Life

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Tag: life (page 1 of 5)

What is Spirituality?

As part of the takeover of the Instagram profile of abcdyogi, I wrote the piece below.

The word “spiritual” comes from “spiritus” (Latin), meaning breath. So, a “spiritual” person is quite simply, someone who breathes. Now, the term “spirituality” is used to mean an inner awakening of sorts, a journey towards meaning and purpose. But I like to think of spirituality as the “journey of the breath.” And what is the journey of the breath, if not the journey of life?

The story of the breath, as it moves from one moment to the next, IS the story of our individual life, and it is our personal spiritual journey.

The breath is an intimate, essential, and unique aspect of our individual selves, and so is our spiritual journey. It is our solo agreement with Life/Universe, and it is wholly unique and personal. No one can write the story for us, and no one can walk the path in our place — it is simply not possible. Because the path unfolds moment to moment, one breath after another, in real time.

Our life is our individual spiritual path, the way of our individual spirit. And we become better travelers too, as we start understanding the signs and signals, directions, etc. This is the gift of “choiceless awareness,” where we are aware of the path and its existence, and we are led forward by faith in the Universe, yet completely aware and present. This is a journey of loving faith and awareness, and it exists for each one of us.

So walk fearlessly, my friend.

Video: A Journey to Discovering Personal Style

Developing a unique personal style is as much (or more) about authenticity than it is about shopping. And it takes a bit of work, yes. But it is so worth it — the journey and the destination. And the ease and comfort and confidence at the end.

Unexpected bounty

(Have started on Morning Pages, and this one showed up a couple of days ago.)

There is enough time, there is. Enough breath too – Don’t let your impatience kill the game before it even starts. Build patience – slow, relentless persistence – pace your breaths – make them last. Lengthen the hold – extend from end to end. Practise economy and grace – everything is a resource – use wisely – judiciously – resourcefully. This is beautiful imagery – spontaneous/life. Move from the impetuous artist-creative-writer to the practiced athlete. Pacing, practising, flowing. Breathing like a swimmer, taking it in, letting out slowly, with purpose & deliberation, fully cognizant and aware of the power, purpose and intensity. This is life, this is practice. This is for the long haul. This is about grace and economy. Spare, minimal. Beautiful, not wasteful.

A feeling of energy controlled with intent – not a wild river or a young elephant, but a clear river dancing/snaking down the mountain – unmistaken in its vector – moving, not dashing. Youth is an aspect of its intensity, not movement. It moves surely, slowly, but with purpose, even if it is momentary, yet in the moment, established in the movement and the moment. Surefooted dancers are the best – so are the hikers and climbers. You know where to place the foot. You have spent years seriously considering where to place the foot, and now this knowledge is embodied, embedded – there is no thought, no premeditation – the individual unit has dissolved and there is continuity, system integrity – togetherness – oneness. And it is this flow that we yearn to – we always yearn to dissolve – to let the Big Mind take over.

It takes years and years of effort and practice before we can fully and finally dissolve, and then we do it each moment, every second, next, one after the other.

A strategic writer (not)

I am currently facing a writer’s conundrum.

Previously I’d wait for the writing to come to me. And it generally did. Some of the best pieces I have written, those that virtually flowed from my head through the keys on to the page and to the world, came to me. Most of these pieces that I loved writing and reading and re-reading made their way to me. I didn’t go seeking them out. I simply responded to their call. They whispered their presence to me, and I had gotten smarter over the years… so I made haste to get to the laptop, and wrote them out.

Like the time I was driving home from work, and a prisoner transport van passed my car. I made eye contact with a handsome black man, young and brooding, dark eyebrows and deep set eyes. I couldn’t look away. He held my gaze steadily, and our vehicles weaved in and around each other, until I had to take my exit. His van sped away. I could hardly get home fast enough. It was a compelling experience, and I had to write about it. I wasn’t sure I could describe the feeling fully but I tried. That’s how Locking Eyes came into being.

And that’s how the best of my writing has come to me.

Yes, I have always played bride to my writing (thanks, Mary Oliver, for the apt description). I have waited and waited for it to make an appearance, and when it does, I welcome it with joy and love… utterly glad that it chose me. I have often felt like a midwife, birthing a thought or a series of ideas into the world. That’s why I can never claim this writing as my own, because I cannot summon it at will. And I know this because I have been trying to do JUST that the last few months.

And I hate that method, I simply do.

I have been trying to think about my writing in smarter, more strategic ways. What should I write about? XXX sounds like a good topic. Let me give it a try. And it has been somewhat okay, I admit. But there is no joy either in the writing process or in the outcome. The end result feels terribly sterile, lacking in vitality. And what is on display is the effort, my attempt to string together alliterative phrases, trying hard to wring out emotion and feeling from a set of words. Sometimes, the final piece delights others but to me, it feels very hollow, pretentious.

I am no bridegroom or adventurer. I am a wanderer, a purposeless rambler… I am one who responds to Life. I have responded time and again to love, joy, beauty. And my knowing has taken me to beautiful places. Thus I developed trust in my knowing.

I have responded to Life through my writing. I have never sought to understand Life. I didn’t venture into the writing universe, determined to make a mark; I only responded to what called me. So it’s hard for me to make a plan for my writing. Because I am at the mercy of what’s out there, not always what’s in here.

“Let’s submit an article for publication; let’s write something for this magazine.”

Sure, I can give that a shot. But it feels terribly dull, lacking in juice and zest. I cannot seem to write fully and joyfully for another person. Heck, I cannot even do it for myself!

I can only write as an echo, a faint and wondering answer to Life. I am fairly okay at catching a ball but I am far better at catching cues… and I hope to improve. I have hurled many a ball in the sky, and the Universe has taken pity on me. I haven’t got rainbows, but I got published articles.

So I have decided to stop playing the bridegroom. I will be the midwife, the bride, the solitary walker. I will be the one who watches the stars, smells the fragrance of the wind.

And I will wait.