Spirituality is a topic often discussed very passionately. If one goes to a place like Dharamshala in India, this is the topic that is discussed the most. The person who suggested me to travel there is also a very spiritual person and someone who spends a great deal of her time protecting and taking care of animals.
Hundreds of Indians and non-Indians come to Dharamshala to experience or find something. However, my reason to travel there was not a spiritual one. It was not to find “the true me” or find peace. It was to get a break from my routine and get back in the world. In all honesty, after years of struggling, I finally have the means to take care of the people I care about as well as spend on myself.
As someone born in a lower middle-class family, spirituality has always been a luxury for me. I still think of it as a hobby for someone who has had & still has the luxury of spending time & money on themselves before anyone else. Random things keep happening in life, loved ones die. Some people then try to process what’s happening around them in creative ways and form opinions or belief systems. They then start to feel they know the meaning of life better than others. This feels very similar to the thought process of religious people. They too think they know the right or better way to live.
I’m just a web designer and not very great at it either. I have not travelled much, so what do I know about life? Not Much. But it’s not difficult for one to see that the kind of spiritual or religious beliefs & practices people follow are mostly those that allow them to live comfortably, hell even luxuriously. Siddhartha left his kingdom to be enlightened or something like that. The last hundreds of years people practicing Buddhism have built grand temples & monasteries all over the world. Most people just practise or follow those things which do not take them out of their comfort level.
So many people travel to India to find spirituality. Do they truly discover the meaning of life or set them on the right path? Maybe or maybe not. Maybe just understanding a different culture is enough for them to realize their problems are not as huge as they think, which eventually allows them to worry less.
We don’t have much control over most of the things in our life and no one knows anything for certain except that we are going to die. Even our own death is something we can’t control unless one decides to commit suicide and then has the balls to go through with it. If having a belief system whether it’s spiritual or religious helps you get through the day, then it’s great. But feeling spiritually superior over others is not very different from the ISIS guys thinking their way is the only way to life and rest are infidels.
At the end, after attending to the needs of people I love & care about and myself, if I have extra time, I’d prefer to spend it to help those around me in whatever capacity I can and not spend that time on being spiritual or religious. I may not know a lot of things, but I do know that spirituality or a religion won’t help cure cancer but humans can. If you get hit by a car, not your spirituality or GOD but PEOPLE will help you whether they share your beliefs or not.
So I’ll end this by saying that for me spirituality or religion is similar to a language. There are too many ways to live a life. As long as your belief system does not make you feel superior or motivate you to hurt others, then you are doing a great job.
Visit AhimsaMumbai.org if you wish to help street animals in any way you can. This is an organization managed by my friend who had suggested me to take a trip to Dharamshala.14