Restricting our spiritual life (what do we even mean by that?!) to random moments of meditation, the practice of yoga or other disciplines, religious services or any other isolated events is living a fragmented life, possibly ignoring that anything that happens is there to give us a new opportunity: the opportunity to stop believing that we are what happens around us; the chance to stop identifying with our pain, our sorrows and our joys; and the possibility to dig deeper into our essence and be our true selves.
About two years ago, I traveled to Montreal for a yoga teacher’s training course. I had a 24-hour layover in Amsterdam and took the opportunity to visit the city for the first time. I had the morning off before heading to the airport and I went for a walk which would turn out to be much more inspiring that any isolated practice.
It must have been around 9-10 am on a gorgeous sunny day. I was exploring the city while eating freshly baked bread with pumpkin seeds. Suddenly, I saw a very big and tall man walking resolutely towards me. I tried avoiding him, but he changed his direction to force an impact against me. The next few seconds seemed to last for hours.
He pushed me repeatedly with a very aggressive attitude while asking in a threatening tone whether I was looking for trouble. Funny enough, we were in a wide street full of people, but no one seemed to notice. It was as if we were in a bubble, out of everyone’s sight. I apologized and calmly explained that I had not crashed against him intentionally, and that I must have got distracted for a second.
I feared he would throw me a punch at any given moment. However, there was an unexpected shift within me that allowed me to see beyond that fear. Suddenly, I was able to see that he was teaching me a lesson.
Fortunately, he ended up just leaving. I sat down on a bench for a few minutes to breathe deeply and allow myself to process what had just happened. A while later, I smiled in gratitude. That person was giving me the opportunity to love even my enemies (again, what do we even mean by that?!) and to see beyond the human ignorance that searches to harm someone else. We can only hurt someone when we are not aware of the bonds that bring us all together. He allowed me to go beyond the little me that may feel fear in such circumstances and let me feel from the very depths of my heart that we are all united, and that everything happens for a reason. In this case, the reason might have been to learn how to love equally and unconditionally. But who knows? Who cares?
I could have lied to myself thinking I was a victim. I could have told the story a thousand times and blamed him. I could have chosen to live in fear, finding this world to be a hostile place; but nothing could be further from the truth. We can only understand the true meaning of life when we realise that everything around us happens for a reason.
Spirituality is to be lived day by day, second after second. Life will bring us all necessary experiences for us to be who we are called to be.