Despiritualizing Back to Being
15 Oct 2009


I HAVE A BEAUTIFUL LITTLE MAKE-SHIFT ALTAR on the floor in one corner of my sitting room. Around a bronze Buddha brought back to me from Nepal by a close friend, there are candles, pictures of holy men and women, crystals, feathers, stones, incense, singing bowls, bells, etc. etc. There is even a little framed picture of Jesus that my grandmother used to always have by her bed. I have never been a follower of gurus or religions because I feel that the spiritualising process (for want of a better term) is very personal and requires a deep authenticity that cannot easily be found in the inauthentic environments of ashrams and teaching centres that often encourage the formation of the insidious "spiritual ego".

So although I do not follow any path, I do sit in front of this altar sometimes and meditate. I see the objects in front of me as props for the spiritual play, and they link me to other spiritual systems so that I feel less "out on a limb".

Last night, however, I started taking everything down because I realized that "being spiritual" was no longer part of who I have become. Adyashanti says in one of his talks that he uses the term 'sitting silently' rather than "meditation" because the latter has so many conceptual connotations. When I heard this, I felt huge relief because I realized that I didn't have to be spiritual any more. I could just be.

So I am going to ask everyone who has given me anything that ended up on my altar whether they want it back or whether I should pass it along. And I will never again meditate, although I hope to often sit quietly.