Meditation and Spirituality
Whether you come to it as a devout mystic or a committed atheist with a passive interest in relaxation techniques, meditation is pretty inseparable from spirituality. After all, if you aren’t looking to connect to some aspect of your spirit when you meditate, what are you doing?
I see myself as being both religious and spiritual. I see nothing wrong with that, nor do I see any contradiction in being spiritual but not religious. In this blog, I would like to focus on exploring how the idea of meditation, and therefore spirituality, can be approached by those who do not consider themselves spiritual.
There may be any number of reasons why a person might not feel themselves to be spiritual. It may be anything from a lack of trust or belief in all things related to religion; it may be a lack of confidence that you are blessed enough/talented enough/strong enough/downright good enough to be spiritual.
If it is any of the latter, then I must suggest that you counter those kinds of false and negative thoughts. Everyone has spiritual potential because everyone is deserving of the self-love that comes from a connection to one’s spirit, not to mention the unconditional, universal love that comes from a connection to that which is beyond the individual self.
I understand that if you are reading this as an atheist, then the last part of that might have sounded a little hippy-dippy or highfalutin. With this in mind, perhaps we should focus on the idea of spirituality as a kind of synonym for self-love and how it relates to meditation. Whatever our background and whatever our current stance on “spiritual” matters, we can surely all agree that self-love is a must!
For some, loving ourselves unconditionally can be the most natural thing in the world. For others, it can be one of the hardest things we ever do — and there are all kinds of stages in between. Everyone is different, and everybody has a different inner relationship. Meditation, in whatever form it takes, is a brilliant way of nurturing this relationship.
When we meditate, when we calm our inner waters, we see things more clearly and so gain greater insight into ourselves. Once we have gained insight, we can gain acceptance. Once we accept ourselves, we can truly love ourselves. We don’t need to obey any strict religious creeds to do any of this, but to me, when we look inward in this way, we are undoubtedly connecting to our soul and spirit, that essential, perhaps indefinable element within us that makes us who we are.
In short, meditation can come laden with all kinds of religious and quasi-religious connotations, but they fundamentally cannot alter what is at the core of meditation: acceptance and love of the self and its place in the bigger picture. Something as simple yet profound as this has the power to reach beyond all other outer beliefs.