The path of Spirituality- Opposite of Materialism?

Author: Khushboo Singh, Founder/ Director, Divine Yoga Shop

This is one of the first questions I carried with me when I started this journey. Do I have to give up my job, my friends, my family, etc in order to have a fulfilled spiritual life? How can I have a spiritual life by living a material life and the responsibilities attached with having a job, being in relationships? These questions kept haunting me and I read many books, listened to many spiritual gurus, spoke with people, etc. The underlying message that was there in what Osho, Deepak Chopra, Mooji, Gangaji, Eckhart Tolle or any other spiritual gurus delivered was simple but somehow I didn’t seem to get it. I still kept wandering until recently in the emptiness of ‘Being’ the answered popped up….

Spirituality and Materialism aren’t two distinct identities. They are dependant on each other and have a symbiotic relationship. It is like Body and Soul relationship. A body is useless without a Soul and the Soul cannot achieve its purpose without a Body. This is the same understanding when it comes to Spirituality and Materialism. In order to be Spiritual one has to incorporate elements of Material world. Lets take an example of a seeker (like you and me) who wants to meet his guru who lives in the foothills of the Himalayas. Now if the seeker has a foreign nationality (only of personality and not as a ‘Being’), he/she needs to arrange for visa/ travel tickets/ hotel accommodation, etc: these are all aspects of material world. Now seeing the picture from the opposite side. Materialist world has elements of Spirituality like feelings of love, success, aspirations, etc. Of course it also has the opposite traits like hatred, pain, sorrow, etc but from our perspective they are not unwanted. They are needed in order to appreciate love, happiness, contentment, etc.

It is also not about being Spiritual and completely living a secluded life. It is about being ‘here’, getting the taste of everything: love, hatred, success, joy but not getting attached to these offerings. The mantra is to experience, enjoy and move on. Be mindful that it does not mean ‘ignoring’. It simply means doing our duties- ‘Karma’ and not getting attached to the fruits of labour. You can have everything and still be free. One doesn’t have to renounce the world in order to attain enlightenment. A balance between the Spiritual and Material world keeps the universe in harmony. Lets not forget the Buddha’s message of the ‘Middle way’: A perfect balance.