Why do I want to be spiritual, do yoga, eat well, and feel more peaceful, clearer and happier?
Over the last couple of weeks I have heard comedians and a high-profile host on the ABC and a Lutheran Pastor, tongue in cheek, ridicule those of us who are wanting to be “Spiritual”, who do yoga, meditate, want to eat well and want to clear their hearts, to be kinder, happier and less negative.
As I listened to them speaking, I had to caution my own heart not to feel that I was being ridiculed for wanting to manage my negativity, to lift up out of my family stories of sadness and pain. To find incredible gratitude for all of the huge challenges that I have had and want to be a force for good in the world rather than, as I would say, be a whingey flame.
This is apparently not being truly human. Not being real. Not being able to relate to everyone else who is in pain.
Of course, there are days when life is dark and hard. Really, really hard, and I acknowledge that there are people who have major trauma and extremely difficult issues to manage.
But what helps me out of this place of darkness and misery? What tools do I have to manage the dark and the hard, the sadness and the isolation? How do I find my way back, how do I gain perspective and insight into what has been happening, if not with a wish to be clearer, lighter, more accepting and more insightful, more joy-filled and at peace?
Or do I wish to stay there in misery so as to relate to others who feel the same?
I would suggest that this question is answered by understanding the difference between sympathy and empathy. We can dive into the darkness of misery with each other and all experience that together, or we can offer a hand of friendship and support, a compassionate witness to whatever is going on for our friends or family. Cook a meal, go for a walk, or hold their hand.
I would suggest that the yearning in my heart to lift is actually wanting to add more to our world than my sporadic pain and sadness. To find humour, joy and connection through the yearning to be more than my pain and not to be driven by it.
In a world that is providing us with challenges of such magnitude, where at every turn, inclusivity and tolerance are questioned, where basic human values are undermined in the media and in our online feeds: would it not be okay for those who feel inspired to find the love, to look for the joy, to be beacons of empathy? To work our hearts to be a force for good in the world and to be incredibly grateful for all that has happened to us, and yet to find the growth and the lessons. And to do this in whatever way is right for us.
To look in awe at the greatness of this creation in which we live and to be open hearted and grateful. That’s what floats my boat, how about you?
So if you run, do yoga, eat well, pray, meditate and wish to be inspired to be better, then I salute you. And together we OMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.