Religion Or Spirituality – What is Your Choice?

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I am veering toward the thought: “Religion is the opium of masses.” Not that I didn’t try to explore its depths. I approached it with an open mind, I have observed its nuances from a closer angle and have even discussed it with devout followers and youngsters.

Religion is confusing. I have tried to understand it in many ways, most interesting being asking the young and the free minds who thought they were religious. Why – “because they were told to believe in it and follow its rituals.” Why – because “their parents told them to.” But some of them spoke honestly and admitted that they were confused.

To begin with religion may provide emotional security, unknown anchoring may ease angst and promote hope. It may inspire to live a meaningful life. I agree that it offers solace but all that is transitory.

Let’s nor forget the real face of religion:

  • It imposes arbitrary rules and rituals
  • It thrives on fear
  • It tries to control you
  • It encourages you to follow illogical path
  • It blocks freethinking and tries to condition your mind
  • It creates divide and polarizes communities
  • It has been used for accomplishing selfish goals

Religion may be confusing but easier to follow, as it doesn’t demand any understanding.

Spirituality is easier to understand but spiritual awakening dawns slowly; it is connected with our psychological growth, which is quite natural. Within us lies a light, a light of thoughts, a light of sanity, of ethereal happiness the light that liberates, which may become divine at some point of time, if we make an effort.

Spiritual awakening starts unfolding itself when we learn to look within; sometimes it astonishes us with its presence in some unknown crevices of our heart.

Spirituality is just being in harmony with yourself, exploring your thoughts and empowering them, delving deep into what you want and not being led by the so called Gurus. It only comes with understanding people and the world. You can’t expect a teenager to be spiritual, as it is developing your intuitive power and listening to your inner voice.

When we start discarding negative thoughts, when we begin to understand the feelings and emotions of people around us, when we adapt to changes without any grunts, when we adopt a positive approach to life, when self-healing becomes our goal – we may be gearing towards spiritualism.

Spirituality

It is an accomplishment as…

  • It leads us to emotional maturity and a deeper understanding of self.
  • It acquaints us with the darker aspects of our personality.
  • We can recognize the emotions that weaken us.
  • We develop the ability to embrace pain.
  • We learn to bridge the gap between pain and pleasure.
  • We cultivate the resilience to face inner demons, which we flee from.
  • We become sensitive to disparities around us.

Spirituality, as we know today has detached itself from religion and centers around values and humanistic ideas. It concentrates on personal wellbeing and inner peace.

It emphasizes on meditation, mindfulness, tolerance and ethics.

Yes, it matures us; it keeps us grounded but it doesn’t compel us to become another Buddha or his follower.

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Thank you for your support. Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

© Balroop Singh.

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True Awakening

Awakening

Wake up, nudged my muse
I grimaced,

And immersed myself
Deeper into the sea of
Self-judgment and censure
Self-scorn and regret

Abyss of anguish threatened
Torrential tears of rue throttled
Chaotic thoughts clamored
Till awakening dawned

Till I could hear the whispery
Anecdotes of my muse
To soothe my splitting headaches
Tales of fortified resilience

Through turrets of time
I could watch the remnants,
The fragrance that lingers
The glory that hangs around me

Velvety memories float,
Silvery sky beckons me
A glow shimmers through clouds
Speaking syllables of commiseration

Awakening angel descends
To shower life-lessons…
Life is more than dwelling in sorrow
Let it flow with finesse.
© Balroop Singh, October 2018

This poem is inspired from Barbara Franken’s challenge: A Selection of True Awakening Experiences Part III

You can read about another awakening experience, one of the many that are embedded in the archives and please click on this poem for another awakening.

You can also participate by sharing your awakening moments. I pass on the challenge to all of you.

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Thank you for your support. Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

Did I Lie?

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Did I say I forgave all?
Then why do memories gnaw
Digging deeper at the fissures

Did I say I remain calm?
Then what is this brewing inside
Bursting the seams of my heart

Did I say I have moved on?
Then why are my feet firmly embedded
As if shackled by unknown forces

Did I say I chose to fly high?
Then why are my wings
Clipped by emotional shears

Did I say I could see light within?
Then why am I brooding
Watching waning light

Did I say I know thorny paths?
Then why am I edging away
Into the covert comfort of flowers

Did I say I sleep well?
Then why am I fighting
The demons hanging from my ceiling

Did I lie to myself?
The charade stands exposed!
I can no longer wear a mask.
© Balroop Singh

The above poem is an excerpt from my latest release ‘Timeless Echoes’ and I have shared it to thank my dearest blogger friend Lisa who has mentioned it in her review at GoodReads as her favorite poem from my book. Lisa has been one of my earliest friends and visited my blog when it was more like a ghost town. Her consistent support has put many smiles on my face. Sending you hugs of gratitude on the wings of poetry dear Lisa. Many thanks for reviewing my book.

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How To Knock Off Indecision And Procrastination

Are you indecisive?

Procrastination is not just the practice of putting off important tasks; it speaks volumes about the inability to take decisions that we believe to be right. It also exhibits our lack of confidence and faith in unknown fears. Unless we tackle those fears, we remain in the grip of others.

Moments of indecision slip from our hands like sand; we unconsciously transfer the power that lies within our reach; we let the seconds tick through our minds, pondering over the questions…such nightmarish moments turn into regrets that stick forever.

If we have no choice, we fret and fume, we detest all those who block our freedom but when choices lie before us, we dither, we think and we look at others to take a decision. Jim Rohn has rightly pointed out that “Indecision is the thief of opportunity.”

Why are people indecisive?

  • They don’t want to displease anyone
  • They are scared of making a wrong choice
  • Insecurities shackle their thoughts
  • They lack confidence of facing risks
  • They could be perfectionists
  • They detest change

Determination and confidence are the two essential traits of a decisive mind.

Know your mind: It is the quality of a strong and well-developed personality. We all pass through the phase of indecisiveness. When we are immature to trust our decisions, we give in to the wishes or commands of others. When we start understanding our needs and desires, we ought to acquire the confidence to take our decisions.

Build Confidence: Most teenagers try to wrest the control of their lives from the hands of their parents and want to take their own decisions. Those who live from their heart are quick in learning the art of decisiveness even if it may prove disastrous but they don’t dwell in those parallel lines, which take them nowhere. Decisiveness is the most significant personality trait that leads you to success.

Dismiss fears and sneers: Boulders of fear block our path but we have to take a detour to avoid them. When I decided to quit a secure job at the age of 24 and start a family, my colleagues looked at me in bewilderment, some even scoffed at my immaturity but I didn’t look back. I have never even had a regret though I could never reach that position, which I had secured at that young age.Be decisive!

Support: If you don’t have the nod of your family or partner, you may vacillate and wonder whether it is the right time to take a decision. Time is never right if we think too much. ‘Now or never’ is a good guiding force to knock off the monster of indecision.

Trust Yourself: Procrastination slowly gets entrenched in our personality and becomes a habit. It corrodes our confidence, smothers our thoughts and restricts our actions. We become mere puppets in the hands of people around us. Sometimes unilateral decisions lead us out of the conundrums of life.

Are you a puppet? Do you take your own decisions or procrastinate?

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

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Balroop Singh.

 

 

Realism Is NOT A Sign Of Defeat

Realism is a light

Knock! Knock!
Who’s there?
I am a realist, a poet and a friend.
The door didn’t open.
I stood there, wondering…did I say something out of place?

I didn’t give up and knocked again, softly.
What do you want?
‘Nothing.’ I couldn’t say a word beyond that.
Expectations? Did I say I don’t have any?

Often I tell myself – expectations are emotional signposts that stunt your growth.

While trying to keep them at bay, introspection pays an unexpected visit…

I know this world is skeptical. I know nobody likes to befriend a realist.

I have been turned away like that a thousand times yet I didn’t learn any lessons.

When I met fantasy, she took me beyond the horizon and introduced me to the stars but their incandescence couldn’t blind me.

Those flights were like lying in a hammock and I could perceive some magnificent hues, relaxing and gathering some fantastic confetti to sprinkle upon my words.

She also whirl-winded through the corridors of romance, riding on the waves of ecstasy but I didn’t lose my sanity. I couldn’t soak myself in the fragrance of fickle-hearted, frivolous love despite its alluring attraction.

When I met mystery, she took me into the darkest tunnels where cobwebs tried to block my vision. Darkness could not hold me for too long as the eternal optimist within me keeps me humored all the time.

Melodrama couldn’t lure me and I refused to be carried away by its teary-eyed hypocrisy.

Thrilling adventures did hook me but their enticement was short lived as my mentor was always breathing in my ear the admonishing words in a firm tone.

Observation and intuition have been my best pals! I still love them.

Realism keeps me grounded. It connects me with people, their emotions and experiences of life.

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” – William Arthur Ward 

I met realism very early in life when I was just beginning to form my memories. I remember him clearly standing in the door, with scary daggers in both his hands, reminding me to remain indoors.

He told me, ‘you are a girl in a men’s world.’ This warning developed my emotional quotient and intuition.

He walked with me all the time, threatening to knock me into a drain. One day he did so when I refused to listen to him and jumped ahead to buy a candy.Realism quote

The rebel within me leaped out each time to scratch his face. Some times I did succeed in dodging him but that only exposed my own imprudence.

He revealed to me the travails of life; the aches and the hurts that he gave me steeled me. He acquainted me with the secrets and diktats of my culture. He taught me to pour an embittered heart into a cauldron and ignite it with my words. I grew up with his cues and his decrees became a part of my personality.

An internal rebel, I yearned to break free. There is no doubt that realism can be stifling at times.

Freedom did grace my home and the precious wings that I cherished were spontaneously passed on with realistic values to the next generation.

Realism keeps me focused yet a little dose of fantasy makes a coveted cocktail of poetic delight. Emotions too keep peeping in though I have learnt to channelize them. When I look at my early poetry, completely driven by emotions I marvel at my personal growth and the whole credit goes to introspection.

“Realism can break a writer’s heart,” said Salman Rushdie…such is the power of realism but I have reconciled with him as he has mentored me all my life.

How much of a realist are you?

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

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Balroop Singh.