Even in this tough economy, students continue to show up to learn Vedic Meditation. Part of the reason is that they’re looking to relieve the stress they feel just trying to keep up with bills. But I sense in them something else. They are seeking a way to tap into something deeper — they are looking for a spiritual path that will confirm they are more than the sum of their job or their possessions or their checkbook. And interestingly, more and more people are making this a practical priority.
In Friends on the Path Thich Nhat Hanh said:
“It has been said that the twenty-first century will be a century of spirituality, and I think it must be a century of spirituality if we are to survive…Spirituality is something we can cultivate. To be spiritual is to be solid, calm, and peaceful, and to be able to look deeply inside and around us. It means having the capacity to handle our afflictions – our anger, craving, despair, and discrimination. It means being able to see the nature of interbeing between people, nations, races, and all forms of life. Spirituality is not a luxury anymore; we need to be spiritual in order to overcome the difficulties of our time.”
He’s right, of course. We can no longer ignore our connection to one another and our role in the larger context. A lot of people are at a loss though when they hear the word “spirituality”. What does it mean to be spiritual? I think Eckhart Tolle put it best in A New Earth:
“What is spiritual realization? The belief that you are spirit? No, that’s a thought…Spiritual realization is to see clearly that what I perceive, experience, think, or feel is ultimately not who I am, that I cannot find myself in all those things that continually pass away …
What remains is the light of consciousness in which perceptions, experiences, thoughts, feelings come and go. That is Being, that is the deeper, true I. When I know myself as that, whatever happens in my life is no longer of absolute but only of relative importance…The only thing that ultimately matters is this: Can I sense my essential Beingness, the I am, in the background of my life at all times.”
That’s great, you might say. But you then ask: “How do I get there? There are so many paths available, what if I choose the wrong one?” The Dalai Lama doesn’t believe you can choose incorrectly as long as you keep true to yourself according to his writings in The Good Heart:
“When embarking on a spiritual path, it is important that you engage in a practice that is most suited to your mental development, your disposition, and your spiritual inclinations. It is crucial that each individual seek a form of spiritual practice and belief that is most effective for that individual’s specific needs. Through this, one can bring about inner transformation, the inner tranquility that will make that individual spiritually mature and a warm-hearted, whole, and good and kind person. That is the consideration one must use in seeking spiritual nourishment.”
Maybe that’s why students continue to come to me to learn Vedic Meditation. You can be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or Wiccan (I have students of each of these faiths) or have no religious affiliations. Meditation is a spiritual practice that allows you to dip inward, find your heart and in that discovery, recognize that within you is the pulsing rhythm of the Universe. It is within us all. It is the basis of all belief and the beginning of every path.