Spirituality means different things to different people. To me, it is a balance between body and mind, an ideal, harmonious co-existence between a person and the Universe.
To attain this level of spiritual enlightenment is easier said than done. Not when the stresses of everyday life and extraneous factors completely without your control are constantly trying to wreck havoc with your sense of calm.
I started practising Yoga, postures, breathing and meditation, when I was in my teens. It helped to an extent, especially the breathing. But it was not the answer I was looking for. The agitation of those difficult years was just too overwhelming.
A few years ago I was introduced to a form of Buddhist meditation known as Vipassana. I enrolled in an intensive residential course in Hertfordshire, where I achieved the unthinkable – a sense of complete and utter calm at the end of ten days of early to bed, early to rise, vegan food, no caffeine and hours of introspection in absolute silence. You heard me, absolute silence as speech of all forms was forbidden.
I started out with trepidation; keeping quiet for days on end is not something that I expected to come easy for a chatterbox like me. Surprisingly, it did, and I was able to get a grasp on my spirituality by the end of it.
I say this because those ten days were radically different to my religious Hindu upbringing. And although I am not overly religious, I was fairly set in my ways where it comes to everyday spiritual beliefs. Vipassana was an eye-opener. It was my introduction to a way of living where the focus was on a congruence between the internal and the external, a path devoid of rigid religious rituals.
I hate to say this, but I have not been able to keep up a regular practice of Vipassana meditation after becoming a mother. Trying to find a couple of hours a day for silent introspection is a tall ask when you have a baby. My other half though, has managed quite successfully to sacrifice sleep for a few minutes of meditative peace every day.
It is about time I found those precious minutes to breathe and reflect impassively on my day, to let it all wash out of my system so I am a better person, ready to take on the incessant challenges of motherhood with a more balanced outlook. I know this is the key to gentle parenting that everybody seems to be looking for. I have found it, I need to use it.
This is the legacy of spirituality that I hope to pass to my children – one of a calm, relaxed and focussed mind at ease with itself and everything around it.
Disclaimer: This post is written in collaboration with TheCircle.