By Shefa Ali
This week on my Instagram live show ‘Swalif’ ( Swalif means chit chat in Arabic) we had an interesting discussion… Can you be spiritual without being religious? I believe it depends how you define spirituality. For me spirituality is infinite compassion, empathy, forgiveness and ultimately love. Religion is law, and as humans we need law, left to our own devices we can do some pretty dark things. Spirituality is about the soul, it’s about being in relation with God, having a life in which you walk with God. I think we are in a spiritual crisis right now, because it has become cool to be spiritual, I think that can cause a lot of confusion. I believe the path of spirituality is the path of humility. You can be spiritual through constant daily examination, reflection, having values that shift and evolve. You can focus on your relations with others and making a positive contribution to society. People go on vacations because they want to relax, rest and restore themselves, but they often come back tired, because they didn’t attend to their souls; spirituality attends to your soul. There is a lot of talk about energy these days and one’s energy and vibration is important, but for me grace is the ultimate. Grace is what my soul needs. When my soul is tired, a nap or a vacation doesn’t make me feel better, its grace and prayer that brings me back into alignment. We live in a world of self-obsession and self-indulgence, spirituality offers the inner warmth, the divine spark that every one of us yearns for. There are so many different types of spiritual practices. I see yoga as a spiritual practice, the reason I choose to do it every day is because it gives me a daily ritual and an overwhelming sense of reverence for life. When you have a reverence for life you have reverence for other people and their lives too. Yoga allows me to accept myself and in turn allows me to accept other people. Once that happens, your interactions with the world are so much better. Yoga helped me to eliminate separation and the seeds of separation. It allows me to believe I can offer more positivity to the world, starting with myself first. Yoga gives me the understanding that we can have much more co-operation rather than competition. The perception of yourself in relation to others changes. There is no separation, what’s true for one is true for everyone. I feel so blessed to be a part of this, what I would refer to as a world movement, where people’s higher consciousness is becoming aware through asana (the physical yoga positions) meditation and self-contemplation. Through clarity of mind, you discover your essence and true nature. This changes how we show up in the world, we become kinder, more compassionate and empathetic. Yoga changes the way I see the world and the way I stand in the world. The world is no longer outside of me, it’s within me. I no longer focus on the things that separate me from other human beings; I gravitate to what unites me with them.
* The author is a consultant and coach. Instagram handle: @miss_shefa, Website: missshefa.com
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