02/05/2015 06:13 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

4 Habits of Authentic Spiritual Seekers


It's become pretty common lately for people to refer to themselves as "spiritual" -- especially those into yoga, meditation, chakra, etc. "Spirituality" is a term/practice that's being used more frequently in our day-to-day lives. These are a few examples:

The world needs to be more spiritual.
Ah! She is just not at spiritual at all!
Wow! I really love your spiritual side.
I'm not into religion. I'd say I'm more into spirituality.

We get it. Every other person is a self-proclaimed "spiritual" being these days. These "spiritual" people read the spiritual books by best-selling authors. They listen to guided meditations. They practice yoga and occasionally, they may meditate too. They post spiritual quotes on their social media pages. The list goes on. But these things, they're all just labels. The reality of being genuinely spiritual is harshly different. Spirituality is irrelevant if we only talk about, read about it, or think about it. True spirituality is reflected in our actions, even when no one is watching us.

Everyone defines "spirituality" per his or her own perception, and many believe that there is no right way to define such a broad universal concept. That said, I believe spirituality is a state of being in a choice-less awareness 24/7. This state of choice-less awareness is so empowering that it eradicates ego, raises consciousness, and leads us to a life of purpose.

So, what is it that makes someone authentically spiritual? What is it that real spiritual seekers do? I've found that many of them share these four habits:

They don't necessarily need to be vegan.
I've been a vegetarian since birth, and I chose to give up dairy back in 2002. That said, I've never forced anyone else to go vegetarian or vegan. Such relationships cannot be initiated by force, in my view. They take their time to grow.

An authentic spiritual seeker may not necessarily be a vegan. Surprised? Don't be. Look around. Some vegans are just as judgmental as those who eat meat. Many meat-eaters have been naturally conditioned to eat meat since childhood. They've never paid attention to or understood the deeper process of eating. And that doesn't make them a criminal. (In fact, some monks are not vegetarian or vegan because of the environment and surroundings they grew up in.) Do I recommend being a vegan? Yes. Ayurveda says that you are what you eat, and a vegan is more easily attuned to meditation and spiritual amalgamations in her life. I'm not saying that a non-vegan doesn't have any chance of connecting with their higher self. It just may take a little more time.

They don't practice selective spirituality.
Sure, you may give your share of hugs and "Om" chants in your yoga studio or at a spiritual shrine, but spirituality isn't just limited to your surroundings. I -- unfortunately -- meet many "teachers" who are overflowing with love within their teaching zone but are full of judgment out in the real world. Being spiritual is about being compassionate all of the time. It's about accepting others as they are. Selective spirituality happens when we only practice our teachings at those places that feed our egos. We need to learn to practice spirituality everywhere, especially where we are least comfortable, because that's where we truly need spirituality the most.

They forgive and they love... unconditionally.
Practicing unconditional love and forgiveness is underrated. Forgiveness and love are the unsung healers. Try this: Forgive or pour your love out on someone without any expectations. You'll find that you feel a gentle force guiding you to practice such a way of life more often. You can't call yourself spiritual if you're still holding grudges and being hateful. We have no right to judge others and dish out punishments. Let's stop taking ourselves so seriously. Let's acknowledge everyone's feelings.

They are conscious rebels.
A rebel with a cause is what our generation really needs. Leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi were rebellious spirits personified. They believed in their visions when others had no faith in them. They were so deeply sincere with their missions. Authentic spirituality demands that same type of behavior. We must be conscious rebels. We must stand up for what we believe in, even when we are ridiculed for it. When I started the Break The Norms movement, I was told I should open up a store in some mall or get a good job in a different market. I'm glad I rebelled against everyone. Today, I am a proud light of a community that has its seeds sown in more than ten countries worldwide. I am committed to continuing to pour myself into Break The Norms in the coming months and years. I am a conscious rebel, and I encourage you to be one too.