spirituality in today's world

At the core of spirituality, our human individual and collective goal is to Self-realize. That’s a pretty broad term, so let's clarify it. Although there are many paths to Self-realization and various different tools that one can utilize, Self-realization is the drive for betterment. Die better than you were born. Die having learned something. Die having contributed to the greater whole of humanity, even if that is the smaller-scale community of your neighborhood watch or the PTA. You die having contributed to something other than yourself and that alone, makes our human existence worthwhile. Self-realization can involve the spirit within—your soul—or it can just be you, right now, in this body, doing the best that you can in this life. 

Self-realization was first defined in the ancient texts. The Bhagavad Gita mentions selfless service, Buddha gives us the Eightfold path and the Tao Te Ching, in the more esoteric sense, teaches us that the human is only a vessel through which Spirit to work and flow. Different in definition, but the essence is the same. Self-realization calls for the individual to recognize the collective of humanity.

And again this is very broad, but the way that I interpret Self-realization is as a two-step process. First things first, we need to know who we are as an individual. Ever since we were born, we’ve been unconsciously operating underneath external constructions and limitations that define our existence—our parent’s morals, our school’s curriculum, our community’s beliefs and values. We’re given a perspective by the people and experiences that we encounter and only when we're exposed to something different, will that perspective change. Our primary goal is to release the constructs of our external circumstances and uncover our true belief system unperturbed by outside influence. This is an inward mission and it's difficult because it never truly ends. As long as our environment continues to fluctuate, so will we. Not only do we need to discover and shape our beliefs on politics or culture, but we need to rewrite the way that we perceive ourselves. 

The way we see ourselves has everything to do with what external circumstances influenced us to see ourselves that way. It involves digging deep and uncovering our personal narratives. It involves looking at our upbringing—our friends, family, and institutions—and realizing their influence on our perceptions. Shedding light—becoming aware—on the more implicit reasoning behind our character will alert us to who we are and who we want to be. 

This is a lifelong journey because, ideally, you’re always coming across new experiences or new information that will shape your perception of the world around you. The path to Self-realization is uncovering your ideal self and then, the second step in all of this is taking your ideal self, and enacting it in the world. How can you use your strengths and potential to uplift your community—the whole of creation.

The core of spirituality—the true ancient wisdom behind Self-realization—teaches us that we all emanate from the same, singular source. That we, as extensions of that source, have a role to play and a responsibility to uphold and bolster the collective. This is the human mission.

Strive constantly to serve the welfare of the world; by devotion to selfless work, one attains the supreme goal of life.
                                                                   - The Bhagavad Gita

In order to hop on the path of Self-realization, we first work on ourselves. We get to become aware of our strengths, weaknesses, kinks, and blindspots, and in doing so, we realize our patterns. When a pattern emerges, we get to decide what to do with it. Keep it or consciously work to change it if it doesn’t align with our ideal self. Then we can allow ourselves to be vessels for spirit to flow through, or said another way, let everything we do be in service to spirit. Spirit is selfless, it is unattached, and it seeks to benefit the whole. 

Spirituality is a "you" practice. It is whatever you need it or want it to be. As long as anything is backed by spiritual intention—personal or collective betterment—then it is spirituality and it is enough. But here is the really cool thing...

The single human being is a microcosm for all of creation. When we consciously make an effort to better ourselves, that betterment will reflect externally in the world around us. Any shift that is made within the individual has a rebound effect out into the universe where that same energetic change is manifested within the larger scale systems that govern our physical reality. We all have the potential to create positive change, even more so, if we do it together. 

Spirituality is a "you" practice but it transfers over to an "us" practice. A network of spiritually infused individuals will only radiate outward and raise humanity's collective frequency! We just need to keep putting our ideal selves out there and watch as the world changes for the better.