Throughout my life, I have considered myself to be a deeply spiritual person. Everything from the way I expressed myself to what I’m drawn to reflected that I had a distaste for worldly things that were typically seen as trivial and fully immersed in my inner world. As a child, I wasn’t a genius or a prodigy and was slightly above average for my age group, but I sensed that I was different.
As a reserved child, I didn’t connect with others easily, though my default state was to simply say what needed to be said and make sure that they are pleased enough so that they could leave me alone.
The way I connected with the outer world carried on all throughout adolescence and early adulthood.
I wasn’t raised super religious, though I went to church every Sunday up until senior year of high school. Even so I identified as a Christian, I have often doubted my faith and took my interest in other forms of spirituality as not being devoted enough and not truly believing in the ultimate truth.
I’ve been closely observing my mindset and how I’ve evolved in some ways and how I’ve remained constant in others.
For being spiritual, I do not feel spiritual enough and often question the state of my soul.
I haven’t stopped to ask myself why I believe in Judgment Day yet also am secretly fascinated by reincarnation and the concept of a soul dwelling in a different body in the next life, which are two beliefs that are incompatible.
I often question if my actions reflect if I really am a spiritual person. Like any other human, I have my share of bad habits and mental traps, but at the same time, I question whether my perpetual darkness and dissatisfaction that I feel deep within are indications that I truly am a lost soul without a solid foundation, that I don’t have enough wisdom to claim anything as true.
I realize I don’t know enough. I haven’t explored the facets of various beliefs. To a certain extent, I avoid confronting beliefs that make me uncomfortable and I also question whether this deep discomfort stems from me not being faithful enough and being too hesitant to follow a set path before me.
Ultimately, it comes down to me not being comfortable with being led by anybody and desiring a solid distinct identity apart from a group.
Yet paradoxically, I am quite similar to so many people and the Internet has proven that I am not alone in my thinking, since there is no such thing as an original thought, only previous thoughts repackaged in personal ways.
If I were to remove any religious or spiritual labels from my fundamental beliefs and simply state them as facts, they would be the following:
- I believe that I am capable of evolving into a new self (with consistent practices, smart goal-setting, and resiliency) and the failings of my past self does not have to foretell where I’ll be in the future.
- I believe that everything that happens is transitory and only distract me from my primary purpose of existence — to work through my internal struggles in the hopes that I’ll become better in areas I absolutely care about.
- I have no authority to judge or control other people’s lifestyles or ways of thinking, but I can only focus on myself and what I believe would help me progress further than before.
- Freedom is most important to me. Being trapped and not fulfilling my potential are the worst feelings in the world and every action I take must alleviate those fears in order to be considered worthwhile, at least to me.
For someone who’s drawn to the abstract and the mystical, my knowledge of the mystics are very limited. I don’t know much about Eastern religions either beyond surface-level knowledge.
Based on how I appear and my demeanor, I seem like a quiet, deep person.
After all, if strangers who didn’t know anything about me were to make snap judgments of me and compare that with the habits and lifestyle of peers in my age group, they’d judge me as someone who’s withdrawn but contemplative, easily dissatisfied with superficial standards of what’s acceptable in society, and committed to pursuing her own path in spite of great uncertainty and not belonging to a particular group.
However, I realize that these preconceived notions of what constitutes a “deep” and “shallow” person are ironically shallow.
According to Christianity, all are shallow and vain. Nobody is above God. Nobody is deep in a good way, only wicked.
But based on what the world generally perceives as deep, a deep person reads old spiritual texts, enjoys classic literature, has a solid meditation routine, is committed to learning more about the world’s philosophies, listens to non-mainstream music with complex melodies and deeper lyrics, and cares about being individualistic over being well-liked by the masses.
However, this makes it seem like anybody who likes pop culture and has a socially acceptable personality is automatically shallow, which is not the case, since people can enjoy both a popular TV show and an obscure documentary. It’s shallow to dismiss people entirely based on what they enjoy.
If I were to look at myself and evaluate myself honestly, I am not as profound as I could be.
I still care about worldly success. I am not easily satisfied with being stagnant. I am definitely not suited for a life as a nun, even as a self-proclaimed minimalist who thinks material excess is a form of being trapped. My understanding of the mystical secrets of the universe is limited.
I may be more self-aware and better able to articulate what’s wrong, how I’m feeling, and what my honest thoughts are, but at the same time, I realize there’s so much I am lacking. I don’t always make the right decisions. I claim to have foresight and be future-oriented, but my actions don’t result in outcomes I have always wanted.
Has my spirituality been a joke this whole time?
I talk about the soul a lot. Both in poems and personal essays. Yet I’ve never really stopped to consider why I value the soul so much. Or what the soul actually means.
The belief that a soul is rotten unless it is saved keeps me from judging my own soul as good. I certainly know that it is not good and can never be perfect. That no matter how hard I try, I cannot achieve any form of perfect enlightenment.
However, there is a part of me that holds onto the belief that I can show up and do what I love to do and only get better with time if I reiterate and refine my process. Both for outward success and for internal fulfillment that I feel only comes from doing what is difficult and not tolerating stagnancy. For someone who loves quiet simplicity, it’s paradoxical that I am also drawn to power and going from mediocre to great.
In admitting that my spirituality isn’t as fleshed out as it could be, I could either see it as a total deficiency that can never improved or see it as an acknowledgement that I could be wrong, which is the first step to understanding.
For now, I’ve come to accept that my spiritual state can be judged and scrutinized by others. So be it.
I don’t yet know where I stand, but I have aspirations and hopes for myself that I am unwilling to let go of, regardless of which beliefs I hold or don’t hold.
But in the meantime, I’ll take my uncertainty as a sign that I am open to expanding my knowledge and filling my life with whatever helps me attain existential freedom that I’ve always sought after.