Perhaps the best definition of spirit, to me, is “who you really are.” Beyond form, beyond name, beyond definition. We use the words, soul, animating force, energy, GUS (great universal spirit), God, consciousness, qi, prana they are all useful as pointers toward that which is unwordable. If spirit or any of these other nomenclatures feels uncomfortable use whatever word you like or take the opportunity to examine why one word feels better then another.
Develop a curiosity about your trigger or button. Then maybe you will come back to the idea that they are just words, they are simply signposts to that which is greater then words. But never forget words are just words, not the experience, just pointers to the way.
As Rumi alluded to, “As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears.”
We are that, that which breathes this body, the life force that without we are physically life less. Shine your light of awareness inward and all that is comes into focus as one universal “be-ing.” This is the path that is not a path; this is the journey that is not a journey.
Making space for spiritual or inner curiosity. I have found so many wonderful quotes about spirituality and awakening. Even though they are all quotes they too are pointers to an inner truth of who we truly are. Who we truly are is so vast that when we try to define it we know we are not that. The truth of ourselves cannot be worded, cannot be found, cannot be lost. That truth is always in all ways present. This is it. Knowing that there is nowhere to go, nothing to do. No thing is a thing fixed or permanent.
As Buckminster Fuller wrote, “God is a verb.”
We are all verbs expressing physically that which animates.
A useful way to recognize and befriend the spirit or become acquainted with who we are is to let go of who we think we are or are not. We may need to give the rationalizing, categorizing, quantifying left side of the brain a task to keep it busy, then delve deep into what is always present by simply being.
“The only obstacle to realizing the truth of who you are is thinking who you are. It is really that simple.” ~ Gangaji
Thoughts will come and go. Let them. No need to cling or push away. Simply being with is the practice of meditation. And it is a practice. Since so much of our life is amassing, labeling, evaluating, that which we believe is outside of us, we have forgotten that all that we perceive as out there is also not out there. It is only the glasses of our perception and our thinking that makes it appear so.
Paradoxically, looking outward is also useful, as long as we do not forget that “out there” is only a relative definition created by mind to try and understand. The saying, “I am that, I am,” encourages us to “see/know” that I am that tree, I am those who are sick, those who are healthy, those who are seeking, those who are not, I am all sentient and non-sentient beings. Mother Theresa said so wisely when asked how she could be with those people suffering, “I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus.”
A quote and an anecdote. There are so many wonderful quotes, signposts if you will, about spirituality. And then there is experience that points. Yesterday hiking up Mount Finlayson and then, slipping on a mossy, slick rock, sliding down, whacking my elbow and ending up with a wet and muddy butt, I glanced over and found a single die. I put it in my pocket. Today, I happened upon this quote by Albert Einstein, “God does not play dice with the universe.” He also wrote;
"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest-a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty.”
The sufi poet Kabir worded,
“Are you looking for me?
I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
you will not find me in the stupas,
not in Indian shrine rooms,
nor in synagogues,
nor in cathedrals:
not in masses,
not in legs winding around your own neck,
nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you really look for me,
you will see me instantly —
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.”
And from Donald Miller;
“I once listened to an Indian on television say that God was in the wind and the water, and I wondered at how beautiful that was because it meant you could swim in Him or have Him brush your face in a breeze.”
~ Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz. Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality
Where and how do we befriend spirit? In the silent place of our heart, on a noisy street, in the eyes looking out of the mirror at us, in the laughter of a child, in the cry of a stranger. Can we embrace “all this” from a place of “not knowing” that we are all-in-one? Not strangers bumping into each other on a lonely planet.
We are here to discover ourselves in each other.
“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”
~ Joseph Campbell
Please listen to Kirtana's song, a gift, "Who You Really Are". http://youtu.be/RUdHtjFc61I