How to be spiritual even if you're smart
So you're a genius also huh? We may be few, but we are mighty. You, me, Russell Brand. Feels good right? To know you're not the only one. That you're not alone is this world as the only highly intelligent yet somehow still spiritual being roaming this planet.
It's nice to finally have some company. I used to feel pretty isolated and alone at times. But now that you're here we can finally share our stories. Maybe even help each other grow.
Truth sharpens truth. So I'll start.
I've been smart since I was born. Well technically way before I was born but let's start with this lifetime since it's the only one I remember.
I was raised on religion. Before I could speak or walk my parents baptized me as a Roman Catholic that believed in Christ as savior. I didn't have much choice and didn't need any because my parents clearly knew what was good for me.
Or at least they thought. I, on the other hand, always hated going to church and Sunday school. It was the absolute worst. Waking up on the weekend to praise a God that wasn't even there.
Sharing time with other kids that didn't want to be there either, being taught some very idiotic theory by 'teachers' that didn't have a clue.
Yet for over fifteen of my first years they made me attend that hell hole until I became a confirmed adult of the church.
Needless to say it wasn't long after that I stopped going to weekly mass. Spirituality was available to me whenever I would need it anyway, like on holidays, for a small donation of course.
I couldn't have been older than eight when I remember telling my mother how I wanted to own a church eventually. Children are clever. Many are savants, but rarely are given the respect they're due or encouraged because it opposes conventional wisdom or tradition. Thus my entrepreneurial ambition wasn't welcomed so I eventually went into selling stocks and mortgages instead.
It wouldn't be for another decade that my interest in saving souls was rekindled. Beginning with my own spiritual quest for understanding and enlightenment. Even though I really didn't understand what enlightenment was, something told me that's what I wanted to be. The prophet speaking instead of in the audience listening.
Not until I became an individual again did I have the courage to question all of the bullshit I'd been told. You know bullshit right? The kind that stinks when you step in it? That you can taste when someone is feeding you.
"Religion seemed a game, a trick of mirrors, and I felt that if there was to be faith, the faith should begin within me without the easiness of ready-made aids, ready-made gods..." -Charles Bukowski
Like some authority suggesting one can go to mass once a week and God will answer your prayers. Or that you're doomed by original sin (which is why you need to go in the first place) or that one man, and only one man could lead the way.
Well that seemed like a pretty wasteful use of God's brilliance and time. I could never get why, in his infinite intelligence, God would create an entire species that was totally helpless and dependent on him for everything. I get annoyed after my cat meows for 30 seconds when she's hungry. I can't imagine an entire auditorium or planet full of people nagging the shit out of you about their boring life and what they want.
Later I would learn that it wasn't just Jesus being bothered but Buddha and Mohammed too. Apparently the reward for realization is that you do not get to rest in peace but instead are eternally subjected to the equivalent of gnats buzzing in your ear.
If that sounds terrible that's because it is. Not my actual words but the stupid stories people believe. That's why they start when you're an infant. Because no rational adult will buy that crap. Not unless it's all they've ever known. Like the first people to not sail off the end of a flat Earth. No one would actually believe it until they experienced it for themselves.
That's why enlightenment and spirituality seem so elusive. We've been raised on ignorance so long we can hardly recognize the truth. And we won't believe it either, until we know it for ourselves.
So those of us that are too smart to keep eating what they put in front of us begin searching. Sometimes we find other religions, other times we find books or movements, yet no matter how deep down the rabbit hole we go, the seeker seeks. Never actually arriving anywhere except further away from where they started.
How else can one explain why there are so many spiritual books written each year. Or why we keep buying new ones? If the previous one had the answer why do we need another? Isn't 300 pages enough to prove a point?
So seekers go on searching for understanding not realizing the entire time it is just under their noses. All of heaven hidden within the recesses of their own hearts and minds.
The lengths some people will go to find something meaningful is mind blowing. Even Buddha had to leave his privileged position and wander aimlessly for years to gain insight. Yet ultimately it was there waiting for him the entire time. Actually that was his moment of attainment. When he finally perceived he was the truth.
Clearly he wasn't that smart. Smart people take shortcuts. They get optimal results with as little effort as possible. While you're working hard, smart people are paying you by the hour. I reckon I've saved myself at least three incarnations and millions of dollars just by playing savior to myself.
That's what Jesus did. He saved himself then sacrificed it all so you would do it too. Stupid people simply overlook that Christ was not a Christian and Buddha was not a Buddhist. They were Jesus and Siddhartha. Two regular dudes that struggled with spirituality too. Until they smartened up and started being the answer instead of seeking it.
They both were pretty bad ass about it too. JC opposed the established monarchy and B bounced on the life of royalty. What have you done?
Gone to church an hour or two or went on a yoga retreat. Or maybe you're really committed and went into seclusion like monks without possessions.
Not impressive because you're still a spiritual dunce. Still making trivial attempts to satisfy the infinite and see something that's already there. Going somewhere else won't bring you anywhere but here. And then what?
As the great Gump once said, "Stupid is as stupid does."
And stupid people everywhere are not living their own lives. They're just exchanging one belief system for the next.
They switched Catholicism for Buddhism. Or Buddhism for Yoga. Or Yoga for whatever's next. All along nothing has changed except their appearance. The soul is the same soul as when they were being dragged to church against their will. They just have less resistance because they choose what they follow now.
Deep down they're still the little rebel child that didn't want to listen or sit still for anybody. That didn't care to pay attention because they were too curious about themselves and investigating life to give a damn. Too consumed by playing. Or laughing. Or enjoying existence to give a fuck about having questions answered.
I imagine that is what life with true spiritual sages is like. Child like. A pleasure to be around. Jesus was probably mad fun. Buddha super friendly and funny.
But you wouldn't know it from the statues others make of them even though no sculptor has ever met them. They always make representations look so stoic, as though Christ or Buddha were never smiling. Always so serious.
I'm not buying it. These men didn't want your worship. They wanted you to wake up to the God you are and paradise you live in. To see that the kingdom of heaven is here and that 'the father and I are one.' As in God, spirit, is as much a part of you as you are he.
And that you don't have to believe in any particular image or creed to be spiritual. Just be and trust yourself. Forget all about the ideas impressioned over the centuries and figure it out on your own.
At some point on your journey the beauty and mystery of this world will leave you completely speechless and dumbfounded. Your search will stop. You will know you are part of something much greater and have been all along, even though you can't explain it. So much for having smart friends..
Wongi is the world's worst yoga teacher and founder of @practically_enlightened 'Sprituality for Smart People.'