My Spiritual Journey began just a few months ago when Steve Jobs’ Biography lead me to a book written by an enlightened early-20th century Indian yogi.
For the longest time, I have had no concrete basis for my spiritual belief aside from the Religion classes taught to us since elementary school and the yearly classes of Theology during university (a requirement in the Ateneo curriculum).
Unfortunately, the general sentiment I have about my religion is it being force fed to my system. Until adulthood I lacked the conscious experience of my faith. All I knew were the gospels which were read during masses, names of important people and saints, the religious requirements, and the Bible, which I read from page to page, nearly finishing the New Testament, however, lacking the wisdom to understand the depth of their meaning and their application to my life.
I think faith, at least in our country, is wedded with the expectation of devotion and religious practices. I was never a consistent church-goer and my family was neither religious, devotional nor spiritual. The closest to what I can call faith, was my experience of faith in action. My college organization, AtSCA, focused on helping and knowing the poor. At home, our “practice of faith” is present in our everyday interaction with all kinds of people albeit lacking the consciousness of that practice. Kindness to others, generosity, empathy—aren’t all these taught in the Bible; living a life that is not merely focused on oneself but for others as well?
Many times I had prayed for guidance and healing (for I was sickly). However, I had never sincerely sought God, I never had an intimate desire to find Him, most of the time, I just prayed to Him, asked and thanked. Not until I read Autobiography of a Yogi, at age 33, (I was lead to this book by learning from Steve Job’s Biography that the genius read it once a year following his visit to India), that my spiritual journey began.
Autobiography of a Yogi served as my guidebook in building my personal spiritual foundation. Absent from these pages are the rules you need to follow in order to live a spiritual life. Present are stories of people, wonderful miracles, and undeniable wisdom, which leads you towards an inner search for the spirit. I love the inclusiveness in the book by which spirituality encompasses all peoples of the world; from the Orient to the Occident, all holiness and saints can be found in different religions: Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam. This inclusiveness was not made for the sake of inclusiveness, rather, the book has given light to a truth, which due to our human tendency to dissect and separate (race, nation, prevailing belief system), have become hidden from us: our unity in spirit, our unity in our humanity, our unity in all things living and non-living in this one world we are given.
During my path towards the search for spirituality, I admit that I have momentarily put aside my Catholic belief because I felt choked by the strict rules and other such aspects I found illogical such as the devotion to saints and their statues, why such and such words must be uttered repeatedly which to me felt empty from their lack of meaning. Only the continued search for understanding and practice did I come to understand why repeated utterance was significant, I found what devotion means, and why the praying to saints and Jesus, Babaji or a guru that has passed, is a spiritual practice that aids not only in the creative outcomes of our lives but in how joyful our stay is in this earth. With a momentary detour, finding guidance from a Hindu-born Yogi, I’m am now on my way back to Christ and our holy saints.
In writing this, I realize it is not my place nor desire to lead you to believe in something specific. Rather, I’d like to invite you to search for your own spirituality and question the foundations of your existence.
My wish is for you to seek and find the joy and love planted in the soul of your coming to life.