What Does It Mean To Be Spiritual?
By Claudia Joy Bandy
What Does It Mean to Be Spiritual?
In 1986, a friend invited me to her house for dinner. After dinner, we meditated. It was my very first time. As I sat in stillness, I felt myself sinking into a nothingness, a black abyss. Before very long, I felt as though I didn’t even exist. I was in a great black nothingness, but I wasn’t even there in any form I recognized. It scared the bejeesus out of me! I jerked my body and returned to ordinary awareness, abruptly and with some lingering discomfort. I dashed into her bathroom. The thought was prevalent in my mind that I had just experienced death. In the midst of splashing water on my face, a very distinct, very gentle voice said to me, “You didn’t just die. You were re-born.”
From that day to this, I’ve been on my own spiritual journey because it’s the only thing that has seemed important to do. Anything else I’ve done has just been a temporary distraction from the burning question of “Why am I here on Earth, and what does it mean for me, right now, to be ‘spiritual’?”
In the intervening 35 years, I have met angels, channelled exquisite wisdom that poured through me with more love than I ever thought possible. I’ve learned energy healing. I’ve talked with the dead. I’ve done table tipping and thrown grown adults up to the ceiling as though they were feathers. I’ve watched my body heal itself in minutes from wounds that should have required stitches and antibiotics - more than once. I’ve been knocked to the floor (literally) by energy. I’ve learned to work with my intuition and avoid certain circumstances/people and go toward others. I’ve affirmed. I’ve ohmmmmm-ed. I’ve drummed. I’ve had crystals and done ceremonies. I’ve released my inner child’s outdated beliefs. Eventually, after resisting it for a few years, I realized that there is nothing left outside myself to seek. I could not avoid it any longer. I had to say to myself, “I am no longer a seeker. I have found what I was looking for. It was inside me all along.”
That was hard. Being a seeker has its advantages. You are always incomplete, always a “work in progress”, you have lots of fellow seekers to play with and laugh with or cry with. You can sincerely look forward to the next guru or book or workshop or next best ‘thing’ that will raise your vibration until you’re “good enough” “cooked enough” “educated enough” to “be spiritual.”
Once I released being a seeker, things got a lot easier. I regained the time and resources I was expending on my seeking. It also became lonely because my seeker friends drifted off. For a time, I taught what I had learned in an effort to still be around seekers. But, after a while, even that seemed empty. And today, as I sit in southern Spain (I’m a bouncing expat who seems to have landed here for the long haul), there don’t seem to be many like-minded souls around or a veil has been put on my ‘seeing’ them (I suspect the latter). It’s clearly not time to do anything I recognize, so I’m waiting for the unrecognizable to show up.
Today, my ‘spirituality’ could better be described as ‘my life.’ I don’t meditate. I don’t ohmmmmm. I don’t pray. I just live. I make an effort to plug into the natural world and all its beauty as much as I can on a minute-to-minute basis. That means literally, on purpose, shifting my purpose from the chatter of the world (when friends talk politics) to the perfection of the nearest leaf or flower. That voice in my head that I heard in my friend’s bathroom all those years ago? More present than ever. All day, every day . . . little messages, big messages that inform and enlighten my life. That voice is my best friend, my cuddly-huggable Grandma, my teacher with the highest standards - my everything. I’m happily married, but hubby comes second to ‘the voice in my head.’ Why? Because the voice IS love. Pure, undiluted, clear-eyed love. It KNOWS me in all my perfection and imperfection and wants the very best for me. Can I call it up on demand. No. Nor would I want to - it simply doesn’t work that way. I think of it as my ‘guide’.
But, it’s more than a voice. It has also changed the way I see the world. Colors and sounds are DIFFERENT than they used to be. I can’t hardly describe that, but it’s true. I’ve always been highly intuitive as well as a keen observer of human nature. I used to “see” a lot about a person that others might not. But now? Now I see only the love - expressed and unexpressed - that’s in a person. I FEEL them more than see them. And my guide has changed my heart too for the heart now follows the eyes that see the love. When I meet someone new, it’s hard sometimes not to cry because they are so beautiful, so perfectly formed for that moment.
However, I have feet of clay up to my armpits! I lack patience and am prone to speaking sharply when I truly want to speak softly and gently. But that’s OK because I absolutely KNOW that I am beautiful and perfectly formed for the present moment. At this point, I’m engrossed in learning what the body aging process is all about. That’s appropriate as I am 73 - an ‘early elder’ in my system of looking at the stages of life.
What does it mean to be “spiritual”? I have no idea. But this is how it walks and talks for me right now. Thirty-five years and counting. Can’t wait to see what comes next.
Written By Claudia Joy Bandy
About Claudia Joy Bandy
Claudia Joy Bandy has trod the spiritual path for many years. She has taught spiritual development and done spiritual life coaching in native America, Ireland, England, & Spain. She is the co-author of “Quotes for the Soul” with Jaison Starkes. She is married to a British energy healer & teacher named David Bandy and they live on the south coast of Spain.