Spiritual practices, such as meditation, have existed for thousands of years, yet it is still only a small percentage of the world’s population that choose to follow a spiritual discipline.
I am defining spiritual discipline here as the intuitional practice of meditation to develop the subtle layers of the mind rather than adherance to a religious faith – a popular phenomenon – because I see them as two entirely different things.
So why do people shy away from meditation, a path which promises to lead human beings to our inner-most essence and loving spiritual nature?
Many people consider it extremely difficult to practise a discipline such as meditation amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life. It is true that modern life offers endless distractions from the personal inner journey. Each time I leave the house I am confronted with news, advertisements and social expectations that take my mind in many different directions.
However, that is not to say that by retreating to the Himalayan mountains I will find inner peace. Quite the contrary, the problems, challenges and complexes that plague my mind in the city will follow me to the Himalayas and back again!
In fact, by leaving the society behind, I would be jeapordising my spiritual practice as I would be giving up the opportunity to give service to the community, an essential part of a spiritual life. Where better to express the wisdom and compassion cultivated through meditation, than in the thick of an exploitative, capitalistic society in need of re-direction?
The central concept of Yoga is that the universe is the manifestation of one infinite Cosmic Mind, the Supreme Consciousness. This same Consciousness is all-pervasive and connects everyone and everything.
To say that one place is good for the spiritual practice of meditation and that another is bad or unsuitable, is to attribute these qualities to that Supreme Cosmic Entity.
As PR Sarkar explains:
If spiritual practice is based on the consideration of good and bad, it will never be possible for one to develop the feeling of oneness with the rest of creation.
Anyone and everyone is capable of spiritual practice. You can live in a cave and meditate or you can live in a tower block in a heaving metropolis and still find the same sparkling jewel within.
People might be afraid of leaving convention behind to embark on the spiritual journey, but once fear of our own dharma, our own spiritual nature, is overcome, all other fears fall away like ragged clothes we no longer need.