Sunday, April 27, 2014

Indie Spiritualist: A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality (Book Review)

Photos via Indie Spiritualist website and on Facebook.

“You were born to be real, not to be perfect.”
Chris GrossoIndie Spiritualist

Being true with ourselves is so important. This has been surfacing again and again in my life lately: how, at a very deep level, yoga is a practice of being real.

For all its fancy postures and esoteric spiritual practices, yoga is, quite simply, a way of tuning in to what exactly is happening in the present moment. 

I may be on my mat, in a posture (asana), feeling what it feels like to breathe (pranayama). Or maybe I'm choosing to treat others with kindness (ahimsa) in a moment where I want to react in anger.

Yoga helps us detach from needing everything to be perfect, and instead just to feel, to allow, to explore, to truly connect.

I recently received a copy of Chris Grosso's book, Indie Spiritualist and it's one of my new favorites. Chris explores what it really means to be honest with ourselves, to let go of the darkness of a broken past, and to heal.

He says:

True spirituality embraces all of this [life]: the beauty that is almost too much to bear, as well as the paint hat leads some to the brink of insanity. It’s all grist for the mill. We practice our asanas and mantras, prayers and aspirations, and that’s great; but are they serving to strengthen our identification as a “spiritual person” or to help us release our identification with that illusion, and in the process deepen our exploration of more than meets the eye?

I like Chris' down-to-earth approach to exploring what it means to be human. Following his story, I really connected with the idea of him as a seeker, someone wanting to grow, and let go. And his path is not easy -- he falls down, he feels hopeless, he messes up -- but, ultimately, he chooses to keep going.

I was very inspired by his honesty, and the way he embraces all of his experiences (including the road from addiction to recovery) with an open heart.

If I am to be truly responsible for myself, then I have to accept discomfort and acknowledge the aspects of myself that scare the shit out of me and make my heart sink, because this is where the true healing can begin.

These were two other passages that really resonated:

The gift of desperation
“I was blessed with what the twelve-step fellowships call ‘the gift of desperation,’ which means that I’d hit such a rock bottom that I was finally able to surrender. I had nothing left to hold on to, and nothing holding me back. I was completely bankrupt in every sense of the word – morally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically – which allowed me to completely let go. In turn, letting go allowed for true inner spiritual growth to begin.”

The fear behind the fear
“As I kept moving forward with my recovery, I began to explore the reasons I was so scared to look at the things that sucked in my life—self-loathing, fear, emotional scars, and other baggage. I began to see clearly the futile nature of fear behind the fear. And herein lies a perfect opportunity to explore why we’re scared to take an honest look at the unpleasant things in our life (besides the obvious fact that they’re unpleasant). And more importantly, to figure out what we can do today to begin making even small steps toward changing that.”

Thank you, Chris, for sharing your story, for choosing not to hide, and for being true to yourself. Namaste.

1 comment:

  1. The blind cannot lead the blind,” said Paramahansaji. “Only a master, one who knows God, may rightly teach others about Him. To regain one’s divinity one must have such a master or guru. He who faithfully follows a true guru becomes like him, for the guru helps to elevate the disciple to his own level of realization.Thank you