~ A text by Irma ten Brink inspired by the work of Yoginâm ~
Why would you follow a course on spirituality?
In a commercialised world we use words to reach people and to bring them to do something, for example, a course or buy products.
It is natural to trade and it is good both for the individual and for a country and the world to have a healthy exchange in goods and money.
However, the discernment between what is really important and what are side issues seems to get lost in people. Many of us have lost an inner compass. The consequence is that we can be fooled easily and we believe everything.
When this concerns spirituality that worries me.
Traditional Eastern spirituality blew over/spread from the East and is getting more and more popular. However, it is popular as a hobby! People like to spend some time on it, doing spiritual courses in order to feel good. You can do a course in a weekend and call yourself a teacher of some kind!
Or after a year training you can have a title in front of your name. Is that not strange? Does that not ring a bell inside you? Is there not an inner voice saying: ”wait a minute, a Tibetan monk studying and practicing his whole life time to attain certain skills, a calm mind, wisdom…and I can learn all this in a year-training?”
If you aim to achieve things for yourself and even become able to teach others after following a course you could be fooling yourself.
So, I suggest you ask yourself the following question:
“Do I want to have a nice hobby, to entertain myself or do I want to live a spiritual life?”
Most courses are aiming for the first because most people are looking for that. Most people do not really want to change their lives, they just want to add something to it, something that gives them a good feeling and there is of course nothing wrong with that. The only thing that matters is that you know what you are looking for: that helps in making the right choice.
There is nothing in between a hobby and a way of life, that perhaps makes the choice more simple.
A spiritual life
You can find a lot of entertaining spirituality online and in the town you live in. This kind of spirituality is for many people a starting point, you have to start somewhere right? I started that way, did some yoga, a Reiki course, studied several years to become an alternative therapist and healer. But am I a good therapist and healer now? Mostly I learned and was guided in healing myself more than others and now, years later, I am convinced I cannot heal anybody else, no one can. So, I let it all go but I never saw it as a waste, it has been very valuable to my life, it had to go that way. But something inside me also told me to go on and look further.
These, let’s call it introduction years, showed me the way to a serious spiritual life which I have been trying to live now for about fifteen years. And I can tell you, I am still a beginner! I cannot give you wisdom, teach you how to heal others, how to become a good spiritual teacher.
All I can do is share with you the instruments I am using which are very helpful to me, the rest is totally up to you!
And with that purpose, to share with you something I am still very much discovering myself, I give courses, workshops, weekends….. Struggling with finding the right words for it because you have an idea about what a course or workshop should be and that is not it! You will not get what you expect, hopefully you will get something that is better for you, I think so, but are you then open to receive that if you are expecting something else, expecting results and perhaps even comparing it with other courses?
So back to the commercial world… I am struggling here! The marketing language does not fit the purpose of our courses! It is not helpful in promoting serious spirituality.
An honest look into a spiritual life
I think I can honestly say I am living a serious spiritual life even though often I have the idea I am not doing my best enough which is probably already not a very spiritual thought, is it :).
But for me a spiritual life does not mean one is always wise, has always a quiet mind, always in control of his emotions and more of these cliches. Living a spiritual life means seriously practicing ethics in your daily life to become wise, tranquil, in control of your emotions etc. Although wisdom is not something you attain, it is something that is there to open yourself for so perhaps I should say ‘to become open’.
Meditation and contemplation can be instruments for that, but one is not spiritual if one only meditates! Meditation and contemplation only benefit the practice when you have an inner and outer attunement. Also, you need ethics and to be serious in applying this in daily life, when you don’t feel like it, don’t want to, find something else more important or just find it too difficult. You keep trying, you fall and get up again and do your best which is all you can do but you have to be honest about it to yourself.
A serious spiritual course can inspire, help you look into the right direction, teach you some practical skills to help you in your daily life but it actually starts after the course ends! When you are back in your daily life with your own daily struggles. When there you start applying the instruments you learned, something will start to happen depending on how seriously you take it all.
Living such a life opens you for wisdom, lasting joy, loving kindness and compassion, awe and wonder. It does so by transforming negative programmes like greed, jealousy, egoism, hate, attachments, stubbornness etc. This is not easy, right? Having to look at your own inner devils, demons and ghouls in order to be able to let them go. Usually they first grow stronger to help you see them and then you can let them go…if you are not too attached to them! Letting go is often very difficult for many people, it helps if you have a strong intent. If you truly with your whole heart want to live a life in Love applying the ethics that come with that, willing to sacrifice yourself (meaning your attachments and other ego programmes).
Many people drop it once they come across these difficulties and that is why they choose spirituality as a hobby and stay on the comfortable safe side.
What is your choice?
February 13 – 2020