At the onset of this trip, I boldly (perhaps naïvely) declared an openness to the exploration of the weird, wacky and esoteric. So what happened? Not once have I dropped from swinging stars into Himalayan Mountain caves chasing after ascetic yogis. Nor have I been tempted into accepting divine candy from orange-clad Sadhus in hopes of acquiring a sweet ticket through the gates to my higher self.
Scores of interesting characters have indeed danced across my path. But knowing full well that what I am seeking or better yet, what I am finding, is a function of interior exploration, it has appeared counterintuitive to entrust the progression of my own inner wisdom to another.
East and West, spirituality is rapidly becoming the next hip commodity and those espousing the quick-fix, fast-track to self-discovery, need only be examined insofar as their own lifestyles to discover potentially motivating factors. Transcending the ego is a pre-requisite to connecting with the higher work of the soul and those having accomplished this feat are not bragging about it, nor are they looking to pimp it out for a fast buck.
So if I’m not participating Yak rituals under the glow of a hanging full moon, what is it that I’m doing?
As was discovered many years before hopping on an airplane for India, meditation is the key and long before this trip began I’ve attempted to maintain a regular practice. While still living and working in the West the prohibiting factors impeding sustained progress were multifold. Primarily though, my on-again, off-again tendencies were generally due to a fancy for alcohol. Giving it up prior to leaving for this adventure has cemented my choice to make personal health and a purpose-driven life my priority.
This being said, every morning I rise very early to begin. Asanas (Yoga postures) are followed by Pranayama (breathing exercises) and then finally meditation. The entire routine takes approximately three hours and is complete before the first temple bells chime. Breakfast to bedtime, mindful engagement is the core of what I am now calling my spiritual practice.
Until recently I didn’t succumb to the notion of calling what I’m doing a spiritual practice. The connotation of rainbow painted strings, dragging unicorns and fairy dust behind, was decidedly not me. The change in my mindset was brought about by the realization that although the landscape of my interior was transforming, it didn’t require personality modifications shaped to fit a preformed mold. Nor did coming to India mean shaving my head or renouncing all worldly possessions.
The degrees of spirituality incorporated into each individual life are as varied as the planetary population and it's the process of self-examination that is important, not the label. Meditation is universal and personal growth is not about self-help. It's about evolution.
~ by Christine Fowle