This blog is a special one, as it is also my first byline! It is featured on elephantjournal.com. You can click this link to the article or read it below. Much love!
In today’s spiritual experience, tales of levitating yogis, mind-altering meditations, and transcendent multi-hour asana practices dominate the scene, leaving many less “accomplished” spiritual seekers in search of the homogenized ultimate experience. What leaves many unfulfilled and looking for more is the misconception that only the most seraphic moments of euphoria warrant spiritual satisfaction. Many do not see the subtle nature of the every day spiritual experience.
As a yogi and meditator, I have always been in search of the ultimate experience and, in all honesty, I have had my moments of bliss. Vivid accounts of multi-dimensional existence, giant leaps in awareness expansion, and omnipresent moments of euphoria have been scattered across my spiritual career. However, the majority of my journey has existed in the pursuit of these blissful moments.
Few and far between, these experiences rarely came. And I was starting to gauge my spiritual progression in terms of these monumental occasions, which was leaving me confused and concerned. Was my spiritual progress at a standstill? Had I reached a plateau that I was unable to pass? I hadn’t had a deep, profound experience in quite some time. I began to worry about my practice.
I tried switching things up. I started practicing more yoga and doubled my daily meditation. I tried cold, early morning showers followed by a strict sadhana, or morning practice. I even tried changing my diet and renouncing all vices including video games. Nothing seemed to work. What was I doing wrong?
What I was ignoring was my daily interaction with the divine. Now I know what you’re thinking: Who the hell has a daily interaction with the divine? Well for one, I would have said the same thing had I not taken the time to realize the experiences all around me.
As spiritual seekers of truth and higher states of awareness, we are constantly looking for greater meaning in our life. However, what we miss is the greatest meaning of all, found in the mundane, common experience. In everyday life we often overlook the subtly of happiness, compassion, and the joys of the human experience.
Just today, as I was returning from lunch I was walking past a homeless man drawing pictures for money. It was an extremely cold afternoon and this man was huddled behind a stone ledge trying to stay warm. Money was the last thing on his mind. As I passed him I noticed the softness in his eyes and was compelled to help this man. I gave what I could and said goodbye. I felt his gratitude.
Waiting to cross the next street, I watched a bicycler pass with traffic. His gaze caught mine and his compassionate smile struck me with an overwhelming feeling of universal love. For a few moments, I was in complete bliss.
Thinking back, I didn’t give to the young artist to receive anything in return; I only gave to give. Nor did I think that this bicyclist would return the favor. And I was certainly not expecting to have a spiritual experience on the corner 32nd and Madison during my lunch break. Yet, the universe saw it fit to reciprocate the love and gave me a moment of pure bliss. Even now as I type this article I am filled with joy.
This common experience of connecting with other humans is an experience we too often underappreciated. We spend so much time in contemplative solitude or on sticky mats in class that we forget why we are truly here: to live for others. It has been said that the fastest way to higher states of consciousness is through our social interactions. Everyday we pass hundreds of people. How often do we reach out to connect? How many moments of spiritual bliss are we foregoing? Forget the extravagant tales of flying saints and fasting yogis and start creating heaven on earth. Realize your daily spiritual experience by giving love to others.