Kula Grad Series: Ambiguity of 'Spirituality'

By: Jonas Freers

spirituality, guatemala, blog post

Something that really struck me over the course of our 200h YTT in San Marcos was the interchangeable character of the term spirituality. For me, it does not only reveal a great amount of vagueness but also strong contrasts and conflict.  

In this time and age many of us are embarking on a journey to look for “the meaning of life", something greater than ourselves, or simply new ways of living. At first, this might appear as something innovative and desirable, however at the same time we cannot step away from the duality of our cosmos. 

For starters, we should never forget where we come from. Especially in the western world, one of the intrinsic characteristics of being human is closely related to allegiance. Whether fundamental religious movements, authoritarian regimes, the concept of freedom was in the past almost non-existent and today still debatable. Although, this becomes more and more apparent, we still have not fully learned what to do with this understanding nor where to go from here. Therefore, many of us are still aimlessly lingering the world in search of a new system, a new paradigm, a new guru, or simply anything new and tangible.

Do you see the pattern? Once again, we run the danger of stopping to second-guess by throwing ourselves at the feed of arbitrary images created by others. We hope to get enlightened without any authentic personal work but instead follow the ones who claim to have found the “universal path.” We find ourselves in a stage of bliss by doing exactly what others have several times done before. We find comfort in union, a common vocabulary, rituals etc.

The beauty of such practices in most Ashrams I’ve seen is undeniable. But what do most of us really do? Instead of using this as a gateway to find our inner selves, we start wearing beliefs like a trophy for everyone to see, to follow our path, stop thinking, and to simply comply. This sort of behaviour is for me the biggest contradiction from all the teachings the ancient wisdom has to offer. God might represent for the faithful an image of an idea, but will always remain a social signification. Therefore it can neither be the sum, nor the average of theses images but rather their condition of possibilities. 

The freedom or spirituality so many people speak of, seems to me like the heaviest burden they have put upon themselves. What may glitter in the sun will eventually enslave them. You can only be truly free if you no longer need to speak of spirituality, but integrate it in your being. The question should be focused on your own decision of what you would like to remove of yourself and what to keep or invite in. Whether good or evil, those things move within you and you will neither abolish them once your days are carefree, nor the night is without grief. The art of living should be to merge these things into one and rise above them.

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