Huffpost UK Lifestyle uk
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Alice Grist Headshot

Spiritual Living: It's Not All So Serious

Posted: Updated:

When I started off pursuing a spiritual life I took it all rather too seriously. I believed that opening myself up to the divine meant holding myself to some super holy standards. I was setting myself up to fail. As a result I would torture myself over the smallest thing that did not fit some uber-important spiritual philosophy I had garnered from too many books, too many gurus. Time and time again I felt that I betrayed my self-inflicted soulful world with sins of a very human nature. It was a difficult place to be, an impossible standard was set and one that I came to realise almost negated the very point of me being a (soulful) human on this earth.

Indeed under my spiritual microscope we were all failing quite dramatically. One mentor turned out to have a hilariously bitchy side, another guru I threw my learning upon, placed his hand a little too low down my married back during a 'friendly hug' and I, well I believed I was the worst of them all. No matter how hard I tried, I just kept slipping.

My spirituality became a danger to my health and that of those around me. There is nothing like taking yourself too seriously, when surrounded by circumstances beyond your control, to realise that something is awry. Car crash followed car crash, followed death of pet chicken, followed severe marital distress and eventually, well eventually you just have to laugh because prayers, obsessive tarot readings and mantras only go so far. Within this melee of spiritual catastrophe I realised that maybe living spirituality is not so serious after all.

Serious and enlightened are not concepts that fit easily together. To be serious in this mixed bag of human madness called life, leads only to spiritual insanity. It is my conclusion that for all but Monks and Nuns, serious and certifiable enlightenment is impossible. Believing that some form of enlightenment only comes through self-denial and lonely ritual led directly to a pit of unspiritual misery.

In taking my spiritual self too seriously I nearly lost everything. I pushed people away and I denied my human self it's pleasures, it's fun, it's stress-relieving love of laughter. I became a spiritual shell, one surrounded by a core of self-inflicted dogma, but with very little going on inside. Rather than give up on a soulful life, I decided to reengage my spiritual sensors, alter my spiritual philosophy and live with my humanity at the heart of my quest.

Being spiritual does not mean negating life as we know it. It means having a faith and a belief in life happening, as it ought to. I decided to stop trying to understand the 'divinity' of every single little thing, and just trust that every little thing, is in fact more divine than I will ever know. I decided to go to Alton Towers, then I went to Florida, I lived in the moment for one whole week. I laughed, whooped, hollered, ate too much and went to bed happy. I let the mission I had been on drop away, and I embraced the self in me that just wanted to live, love and laugh.

Spiritual Living is about that kind of madcap, zany, laugh a minute happiness. It's about embracing whatever it is you love, be that theme parks, opera or the occasional cocktail drinking session. It's about giving up control, releasing your ego and embracing every minute. If a spiritual life is what you seek then it's so much simpler than a trip to India or a few dozen tantric yoga positions. I simply advise you to allow your humanity to beat at the heart of your quest.

Let your spiritual living be urban, gritty and real. We are not on this planet to float off into the ether quite yet, so get your boots on and get living. Know that your life, as it is today, is enough. Allow your divine side to get up to it's knees in mud and trust that your inner faith, love for oneself and perhaps the occasional meditation session will help to wash your soulful boots clean. Mix things up, indulge a dose of comedy with your karma, yoga and wine with your divine and above all, most importantly, I cannot stress this enough... Enjoy!