Contemplative Spirituality

Spirituality is generally taken as something that is opposed to worldliness. People usually assume that the farther they move from material and worldly things, the more spiritual they become. This is the sole reason why human beings run away from cities and towns to jungles and mountains, leaving behind their homes and their material lives.

Whenever man raises himself above worldly matters and devotes his life to becoming one with the non-material world through meditation, he experiences a very different kind of feeling. This is nothing other than what is generally known as ecstasy. When man enters this state of ecstasy, he experiences an unknown pleasure. On the basis of this experience, people associate ecstasy with spirituality. However ecstasy is nothing but a reduced form of spirituality.

Man is an intellectual being. He is endowed with a mind, which is his greatest faculty. It is only the possession of this mind and his independent thinking, which distinguish him from the animals.

According to me true spirituality is based on contemplation or reflection or pondering, which has all to do with intellectual activity. Such spirituality is produced when man gives serious thought to such questions as, ‘Who am I?’ What is the purpose of my life? What is this world around me? What is the creation plan of the Creator? Is my life governed by destiny or free will? How do I become a spiritual person? Can spirituality help me in this world as well? Why do I have so many desires? Where will I go when I transcend from this world? The questions may be many – but the answer is only one – a reason-based understanding of the creation plan of God regarding man. A seeker is able to find true spirituality by finding rational answers to his questions, whereby he receives spirituality at the mind or thinking level.

Indeed, the journey of spirituality begins with the urge to search for the truth. When a seeker discovers the truth and learns the creation plan of the Creator, his life enters a new phase, i.e. that of the building of the human personality according to spiritual principles.

This journey is entirely intellectual in nature. Its quest is two fold, one is to solve the riddle of why, all men and women undergo negative experiences in this world and the other is to offer positive solutions. It addresses the paradox of human beings having been given the freedom to make their own moral choices, and their frequent misuse of this freedom - a course of action which causes them to repeatedly face situations in which people do each other harm; losses are incurred because of others’ injustice; severe provocations are suffered because of untoward experiences.

According to one group, there is only one way to preserve one’s spirituality, and that is to retire to a desolate place, far from human settlement, where there is nothing to provoke him. It is this viewpoint, which is presented in the well-known book titled, “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.”

The spiritual school of thought that I subscribe to differs considerably from such a point of view. According to the school of thought that he believes in, man shall have to convert his negative experiences into positive ones. He shall have to convert material experiences into spiritual ones through the Art of Conversion. He shall have to convert non-spiritual matters into spiritual matters.

We can say that contemplative spirituality, in its awakening of the mind, provides the best formula for character building. It is a great strength at all times. Spirituality, in effect, is a promoter of all good and a killer of all evils. In short, spirituality makes a man a superman.