Change Outlook, Change Life.

Vishal Chauhan, 09/05/2019
Change Outlook, Change Life.

Spirituality is often wrongly equated to complete renunciation of desires. Mythological stories reinforce the view that to be spiritual, one needs to sever all attachments and meditate in splendid isolation, maybe in the Himalayas. Since this is neither economically nor socially logical, especially when we are young, most of us conclude that pursuing a spiritual path is at best a post-retirement activity.

In reality, spirituality is all about mastering your senses. If you crave for an ice cream but use the power of your mind to abstain from eating it, I guess you are exhibiting ‘spirituality’

Master Your Senses!

Going to temples, observing a fast, following prescribed rituals or dutifully listening to religious discourses do not necessarily make you a spiritual person.

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The five traits that could make you truly spiritual are: flexibility, as opposed to the obstinacy that only you are right; ability to ask fundamental questions, seeker of true knowledge; causing no or minimum harm to others, in whatever you do; ability to learn from your sufferings to stoically face hardships and mitigate their effect in future, and an unshakeable belief in the power of your mind, developing humility and detachment.

 "Mental Discipline and Rigour Are Thus Prerequisites of Being Spiritual."

According to the Constitution of India, developing scientific temper is one of the 11 fundamental duties of Indian citizens. This challenges us to imbibe the spirit of inquiry and reform, as a way of life. Ironically, while we consider ourselves patriotic, we do not know how to meaningfully exhibit this patriotism, other than maybe standing up when the national anthem is being played in movie halls.

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Developing and nurturing scientific temper as a part of our personality is actually a good way to show patriotism. You do not need to be a student of science or be highly educated in order to develop scientific temper. You just need to imbibe a scientific approach in all that you do.

What exactly is this approach? Questioning an existing phenomenon or belief; observing and gathering data that seems to be pointing out to something different; hypothesizing, drawing patterns and conclusions from the collected data; generating testable predictions and statistically testing these predictions, is the hypothesis true in more than 50% of cases in a large enough sample; formulating a new law or theory, the new rule; and finally, communicating this new law to others, so that it can be impartially tested by everyone.

Ask Questions.

As you will realize, a scientific approach can be followed by anyone. The four traits that will help improve your scientific temper are: Sharpening your curiosity, asking fundamental questions and seeking answers though the process does not seem to be benefiting you in any manner; opposing public obstinacy, for example, ‘won’t wear helmets while riding two wheeler’ or ‘will oppose sex education in schools because it is against my religion’; believing in something only if it is statistically validated, for example, questioning whether some days or moments are inherently more auspicious than others, and shunning superstitions by understanding your religion more through its philosophy than rituals. Do you realize that mental discipline and rigor are essential here, too?

It is often presumed that spirituality and scientific temper are mutually exclusive traits and that one can aspire to only one of the two, but do they now appear as disparate as we always thought them to be? Let us accept that one can acquire both, simultaneously, by recognizing and using the infinite power of our own mind

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