Is it possible to define yourself as spiritual and not seem New Agey-er-than-thou? If I consider myself to be spiritual, does that mean I am more at one with the universe than you are? Not that being connected to all things is a competition, but, just so you know, I am actually connected to everything, so I win.
But where does spirituality come from and how does it manifest itself? Although I was raised Catholic and went to church every Sunday until I was old enough to lie about it to my grandmother, I currently feel my spirituality is best expressed through my yoga practice. That, and the time I spend watching Jersey Shore.
I enjoy my personal solitary yoga practice mostly because I am the best in the class, but I also sometimes feel inspired to connect to the community and go out in the world, mostly to show how cute I look in my yoga outfits. But oftentimes when I find myself in a class or at a yoga festival I can feel more agitated than peaceful.
On the one hand it is magical that people come together to celebrate the common interest of yoga, but when I am surrounded by all these hippies I kind of want to slather them in meat sauce and preach the value of Reaganomics while drinking Coke and wearing a fur coat made of Wooly Mammoth. I don't know why.
Maybe it is all the flowing clothes, spiritually driven tattoos, and sincere looks? Wait, sorry... what is that you are asking me? What am I personally wearing right now? Just these billowing pants and shirt... why do you ask? Oh... and you want to know about this tattoo on my arm? It is a tree of life that I drew. What else did you want to know about me? Oh, this is just the look I give everyone when I am staring into their third eye. Why? What are you getting at?
I guess what I am addressing is the feeling I get that people think they are above it all. That they are not dealing with the emotional complexities of the human condition, as if they weren't participating in a materialistic modern world. Sure, you may be more conscious about what you purchase and that should be commended on some level, but you are still a consumer even if you are buying Kambucha, hemp sneakers, feathered earrings, and beads for your dreads.
And yes, there is the well-meaning ideal that everyone should be accepting and open-hearted, but people are still cliquey, judgmental, self-conscious, lusty, slutty, womanizers, ego-driven, dark, rude, and full of rage. Try and cut someone in line getting a coconut water and organic raw ball of cacao and sunflower seeds and you will see how aligned their chakras really are.
Despite my effort to keep an open mind, I sometimes can't help overanalyzing and feeling better than everyone who is feeling better than everyone else. I once went to a class where the teacher talked about the Devil inside us and how everything that truly annoys us about someone else is actually our shadow selves. Essentially we hate what we are. Now tell me that is not the most ridiculous thing you have ever heard -- and so obviously not the case with me.
It is not that I don't appreciate the good intention behind it all -- the love, peace, and happiness for all beings. But something about being in a circle with a bunch of people thrusting their pelvis to the sound of the Djembe drum makes me excuse myself to the bathroom and pray it will all be over soon.
Maybe I am sounding a drishti point cynical, but that doesn't mean I don't have a sense of humor about the contradictions of life. There was one time I bumped into a girl while she was bending over to find her shoes and apologized for "butt fucking her with my mat," and she looked at me like I had just gone way too far! Since when does spirituality, sticking your ass in the air for downward dog, or the occasional fart during a head stand mean we have to take life so seriously?
Can't we have a sense of humor about the fact that no matter how much we want to be enlightened and free from attachment, we are still probably pretty attached to wanting to be enlightened and free from attachment? We are all dealing with the same personal insecurities and stresses of life even if we speak in a calm voice and wear mala beads. If the Buddha is smiling to himself, why shouldn't we? Om Shanti.
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