What is Spirituality?
The essence of spirituality is the search to know our real self, to discover the true nature of consciousness.
Throughout the history, it has been said that the self we know -- the separate individual self -- is a limited form of what we truly are. Unaware of our true self, we identify with our thoughts and feelings, our memories and our personality.
Such experiences are always changing, but the self that knows them remains the same. We may be very diffferent people than we were twenty years ago, but the "I" that is aware of the difference is the same "I" as twenty years ago. It is omnipresent and eternal. It is the "I" that knows that it knows. The very essence of being aware. It is always present, whatever we may be experiencing, sacred or profane.
This ever-present sense of being is so obvious it is easily overlooked. We fall into believing that we are the individual senses of self that appears in our mind. Like a character in a novel, this separate self engrosses us with its hopes and fears, plans and deliberations. It believes that fulfillment comes from what we have or do in the world, from our roles and possessions, from our personality and how others see us. It promises us happiness, but any happiness it does bring is usually short-lived, and we soon find ourselves chasing some new promise.
Identifying ourselves with the vulnerable, ever-changing character of our personal story, the "I" misses its true nature. Our thinking and behavior become "self-centered", leading far too often to suffering in ourselves and others.
When we awaken to the true nature of self, we are freed from many of the fears that plague us so unnecessarily. We discover an inner peace that does not depend upon events or circumstances in the world around, a quiet but profound inner fulfillment. We become less self-centered, less needy of others' approval or recognition, less focused on collecting possessions and social status. We become happier, healthier and more loving people, less likely to cause suffering to ourselves or others.
This is self-liberation. And its transforming impact has made it the essence of the spiritual quest.