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Spirituality and Religion

Faced with the immense and shocking loss of my wife's passing, all the foundations of my normative logic driven life were shaken. Left with no recourse but to find answers, tried really hard at researching the cause of her death from medical PoV. I did find some answers but did not get a full closure to the upheaval going on in my mind. They say knowledge is power and its indeed true but not as powerful as fate or destiny. 

It was my first time facing such a grave life situation, for which I (including many others around me) had no frame of reference. What an ironical realization how God had been so kind to me until the dark night of the soul. Gradually, I started listening to some religious and spiritual discourses and having conversations with some folks with spiritual bent of mind, I realized that religious gurus and text, freely talk about hush hush topics like death, which we all know is an inevitable destination in the journey of life. 

As I keep advancing on my path, I keep learning new amazing things and perspectives of living life. It's just that I got almost pushed onto this path by happenstance rather than by design. Therefore, one should not force themselves on this path but it will show up suddenly when one is ready to move to the higher realm of knowledge. Sharing some personal notes in the hope that it gives some insight to others too:

  • Religion is the practice of particular customs/ acts specific to a particular faith like Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity etc. whereas spirituality is more of an individualistic concept which concerns itself primarily with nurturing the soul.

  • If you keep grieving for more than 3 months (3 is just an indicative figure), it will not help the departed soul, but very likely would manifest as a disease in your body. Whenever anxiety/pain/grief strikes, take a deep breath and release it from your body. One should do it immediately every time one finds themselves in such a situation.

  • There is a lot of pain for people left behind after the soul departs. If we remember them with a lot of grief, the departed soul wherever it is, will be able to feel our feelings/ grief. It would not be in a position to come back or do anything to alleviate your pain. Except feel hurt that you're in so much grief. A much better way is to convert that grief into blessings and wish it to the departed soul. This way you're contributing to their well being and yours too automatically.

  • They say the highest form of spirituality is remaining happy no matter what. And a very important meta concept is 'Acceptance' (of life situations - both fortunate/ unfortunate, expected/ unexpected, preferred/ not preferred) which aids the happiness path. Just to clarify, one should do whatever is in one's power to ameliorate the situation if you're aware about anyone's suicidal ideation but if it ends up happening, accept it unconditionally.

  • We human beings tend to try to find logic in everything - cause and effect. Logic can be twisted and turned to suit and make sense to one's mind. But nature has its own plans which may or may not make apparent sense to us. One can only connect the dots looking backwards. Therefore, it is imperative to surrender to the ways of life force or god, if you will and FULLY accept the circumstances - as they come along in life. Easier said than done, but the moment we start believing that all this outside world is not our doing - I have zero contribution in earth as it is, seasons as it is, plants/ animals as they are, the less perturbed with life circumstances we'll be.

  • Yoga, meditation, paranayam etc. are just different methods to bring your body, mind, soul into peace and harmony. Once there is inner peace, the focus will shift to being of service to others, instead of always looking to extract from life - moment to moment. 

  • Taking inspiration from Bhagvadgita, it says that one should walk the path of Dharma in life, which shall entail carrying out the Karmas. These Karmas will determine your destiny in the next life - who wins the lottery at birth, with ailments or healthy, fame or infamy etc. Also, if these Karmas are oriented towards serving and helping other unfortunate beings, it will provide you immense internal satisfaction too. 

  • God is an artist par excellence and one should try to believe that even in the most unfortunate circumstances, the artist is at work to bring something wonderful into your life.  

  • There was a lot of serendipity involved with me finding the book - The Untethered Soul/ Surrender Experiment. Also, it was very helpful to find a mentor in real life who walked the path of spirituality and was kind enough to show me the way. 

  • Having said whatever till now, there is a profound reference to 'Avidya' in the book - Yoga and the Dark Night of the Soul by Simon Haas. It is defined as not the lack of knowledge or ignorance, but the deficiency/ incapacity to act on what one knows. And I think here lies the biggest life work and path for me.   

The above reflects my current thinking and may undergo change as I hopefully continue to advance on this path (unless destiny has other plans). Will try to keep updating as my understanding keeps refining over time. Amen!

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