What Is Spirituality?

What Is Spirituality?

This is one of those words that can be used to explain so many things, even things that are directly opposed to their meaning. Depending on how you were raised, what your parents, relatives, schooling, and friends believe in will shape what meaning you give to this word.

I was fortunate to grow up in a semi-rural area, we had trees, unpaved roads, cows, and the freedom to play outside without being constantly worried about our safety.  

I remember digging to get clay and making things with my hands, I loved laying down on the grass just looking at the sky; spending time on a tree was always an uplifting experience.  When my stomach hurt I didn’t think of taking medicine, I boiled some spearmint, and depending on the type of stomach issue I added cinnamon or something else and I knew it would fix it. We valued herbs and their benefits, we had a different connection to the land and the animals. I loved the cows I got my milk from.  Every morning I rode on the wheelbarrow on top of a sack of vegetables, potato peelings, carrots, etc. that were given to the cows. Our neighbors took care of me while my mom was at work and they were the closest I was to paradise, every morning going to milk the cows with Mr. Rito was just a moment filled with joy and happiness. If a day wasn’t great Mrs. Gaby used to make me a soup that could heal anything, they were just amazing. With them I learned that cooking for someone is a way to express love, that food can heal. I can’t think about them and not feel love, and how our souls, energy, whatever you want to call it are connected.

I was happy and I didn’t know it.

They were amazing people, Mr. Rito and Mrs. Gaby will forever be in my heart, they are my earliest lessons about love, selflessness, acceptance, love for the earth, and every little thing that could seem so little, but mean so much.   The day I found out about Mr. Rito’s death is the first time I felt something so painful. I remember being awoken by my mother telling me he had died, I can still feel my heart shattering, so much that it became a physical pain.   

With his death I learned what regret means, I learned that I was too busy trying to be a grown person that I let my pride and ego get in the way to appreciate them, and I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye because by this time I was going to school and my mornings were no longer spent with them.  I could still feel him and hear him which is way more than many people get, but I could not hug him, ride on the wheelbarrow and milk the cows, learn everything he knew, he had to move on and it wasn’t my place to hold him back. He had to go back to the source.

I had to take religion classes every week, I had catechism, but I couldn't bring myself to believe everything I was being taught, there were so many things that didn’t make sense, and none of my teachers had an answer that I could accept.  I just didn’t and I still don’t understand the need to follow something blindly and without questioning, I mean, why would God bother to give us a brain if we were just to use it for selective things?

We tend to forget that we are all connected in one way or another, we forget that we are meant to love each other and that when you love someone or something you love them for what they are, not what you expect them to be.  When you truly love someone there is no shame, there is no need for secrets, mutual respect is a given, and there are no grudges or regrets.  Everything just is.  We can have disagreements, and hurt each other without the intention of doing it, we can forgive and move on.  Life is too short to live it with the intention of paybacks, with self-poisoning with anger and hate.

Now, this does not mean that you should stay in situations that make you unhappy, that are harmful to your health, that you should not have boundaries, just accept that things are, some will resonate with you, others are not meant for you, therefore, they are not meant to be in your life, they were most likely something you needed to learn and then move on. 

I don’t think Mr. Rito or Mrs. Gaby, ever imagined the impact they had on my life. They were my first lesson about spirituality, it was the first time I knew that everything I was learning in school couldn’t be 100% accurate.  

Our society is made to create division, we fight for the dumbest things.  We have issues with skin colors, religions, opinions, what we eat, what we don’t eat, who we love, are socioeconomic status, and we just forget that we are all the same, we come to the world the same way and leave the same way as any other being, that one day we could be at the top and the next on the bottom, that nothing is ever permanent, that we have the right to choose what we accept in our lives, what resonates, what will help us become who we are born to be and the same time to not allow everyone and everything just because we thinks is what is expected of us. We have the same rights to agree and accept as we have to disagree and remove ourselves from any situation, relationship, place, etc. 

We as humans are funny, we repeat the same mistakes and don’t learn, we let our ego control our actions, we despise others without knowing their story, we judge without trying to understand first, we give second and third chances when we should learn the lesson and move on, we stay in places, relationships, jobs we hate because we expect others to pay for what they did to us, without realizing that the ones paying the highest prices are our bodies and our souls. 

We hold on to things that hurt us when we were supposed to let go, we disconnect from what matters and focus on what we think will help us fit in.  The part that amazes me the most is that we don’t know who sets the rules (not laws), of what we should say, dress like, think like, act like, regardless of the voice inside us that tries to guide us, and point us in the right direction.

It took me years of painful lessons, of making the same mistakes over and over, of thinking that everyone else should be a priority, that I should just accept anything and everything without questioning, no matter how wrong it felt.

And now I finally understand what my guides were trying to teach me all along.  My value isn’t on what I wear, how I look, how I speak or communicate, that we are given what we need but we work too hard on doing the opposite. Food heals if you take care of your body, but we choose to have 1 min of pleasure eating something that will take days, weeks, months, or years for our bodies to heal from.

My value is being me, not just the human typing this post, but the being I am.  Is in giving with the right intentions and without expectations. 

Being spiritual is listening to that voice we all have, doing things because we know they are the right thing to do, is loving and accepting who we are, wanting to see people do better, taking care of the planet because is the right thing, trying to not wish ill on others, and accepting when we do something that we can always try to do better.

Is taking responsibility for our actions, is building and not destroying. 

Spirituality is everything that exists, regardless of being able to see it or touch it. Is doing what brings us joy, is sharing a smile, being there for someone that needs you, is wanting to make a difference to make things better.

As I said at the beginning of this post, Spirituality has many meanings, but if you take anything from this post is that you don’t need to be a Guru, a Priest, an Imam, a Preacher, a Rabbi, be wealthy, or poor, live a happy fulfilling life or an unhappy one. 

If you want to see spirituality look at the sunrise or sunset, look at nature being reborn every year in spring, getting energy from the sun in the summer,  letting go in the fall, resting in winter, and just accepting being. Look into the eyes of the people you love, at children's smiles, at listening to people's stories, on living knowing that you are doing the best you can with what you have, that you can’t give what you don’t have.  

We are part of everything, we are not so different as we are lead to believe.  If you take the time to hear someone’s story you’ll find that you are connected, that we all had joy, suffering, health, sickness, etc. 

Spirituality is accepting that we are made of the same energy that is represented in many forms, that we are bodies will become part of our land, and that we owe to the future generations to leave a planet better than what was given to us.

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