No, Spirituality Didn’t Wreck My Social Life. It Purged Negativity for Happiness
Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay
“Are you kidding me?” asked my friend when I told him that I won’t be able to do a sleepover ever again. I was hanging out with my best friends whom I first met back in high school.
Whether it was coming up with scripts for a drama or completing our assignments, the answer was always a sleepover. Further, for us, the practice of meeting at least twice a year and spending the night together was not a mere outing, but a ritual.
We played, talked, ate good food, watched movies and had fun. I loved those sessions. So why did I refuse to never do it again?
Because I’d committed to meditating every morning (and evening) for an hour.
Even though my friends are considerate, I’m sure the voice in their head said “What! Really? So what if you skip it one day?” But to me that was incomprehensible, and I made it clear to them.
This was just one example of how my spiritual beliefs and practices have recreated (not ruined) my social life.
When a person starts to turn more spiritual or goes through a spiritual awakening, it’s natural for their desires and preferences to change. Not everyone, however, understands this.
Most feel that spirituality comes at the cost of life’s pleasures. Worse yet, they say, “You don’t know what you’re missing out on.” Actually, I do know what I’m missing out on and I’m pretty happy about that!
The only thing spirituality changes in a person is the direction of his “searchlights”. Spirituality makes one look more and more within than without. It deals with your relationship with God and your higher Self.
To nurture this relationship, one needs to spend time in solitude or with other spiritual seekers.
Suppose you start a business and get in touch with other entrepreneurs to learn. Your existing social circle will feel that you’re leaving them behind. Others will say that you’re “ruining” your social life.
But you know what you want is different from others. Which begets different friends and a different mindset altogether. Everything else is a distraction.
Now then, just as businessmen mix with businessmen and top students hang out with other top students, spiritual seekers want to spend time with those like them. When such a company is not available, books, talks, and videos are the next best option. Any other kind of company is a distraction.
For the serious spiritual aspirant, the need for “socializing” is met by the company with the Self. When you realize that there’s more happiness in the Self than in the outer world, you naturally begin to withdraw.
Yet, this withdrawal is only the first stage of progress. Once you find people who are like you, you grow stronger in your own self. You grow stronger in your belief systems so the opinions of the world cannot shake you. This inner conviction then gives you the strength to be more social instead of less.
Socializing for the normal man is a barrage of negativity, gossip, and downward pulling ideas. But for someone who’s firmly established in his Self, he can be much more loving than the average person.
This love draws others to you. You smile more, you are friendlier and happier. God created this world so we could enjoy it with His joy and not be entangled in our egoic quests.
He doesn’t want you to deny yourself the happiness of peaceful relationships with others. Anything that promotes isolation, in the long run, is false spirituality and a new age belief you should question with all your strength.
Ergo, the fact of the matter is that spirituality increases the quality of your life. But to do that, it makes you go through a cleansing process. To remove the weeds from the garden of your consciousness and plant healthy trees of love and joy there.
Here are some of the ways it has changed my life.
A Massive Change in Company
The importance of the right company cannot be overstated. As you saw above, when spirituality started ranking higher on my priorities, I had to change the people I surround myself with.
This was a two-step process:
To avoid or hang out less with people who lower my consciousness
To add people to my circle whom I aspire to be like
I am fortunate to have friends that understand my priorities and keep up with them. I didn’t have to cut them out at all. In fact, I like meeting them once a month or so.
But when things became too “worldly” I stepped out. For instance, going on a trip with “friends of friends,” watching a movie, or going to a bar were some activities I gladly opted out of.
You don’t need to cut friends out of your life. Determine your boundaries and stay strong. If they don’t respect those, then perhaps you should consider exiting for good.
As for the second step, I started visiting my spiritual community more often. Every week ideally. I participated in all kinds of fun events with them, went for group meditations and retreats, and didn’t miss any opportunity to receive their uplifting vibes.
For me, both these changes came without any stress or difficult conversations. It might not be the same for you. If you’re worried about spirituality changing your social life, know that in the long run, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by embracing your spiritual nature.
If those around you don’t like it, you don’t have to feel bad. Find those who do, and stick with them. You’ll improve your social life instead of ruining it.
Finding Happiness in Simple Pleasures
A happy life doesn’t need to be extravagant. You don’t need to go to a fancy restaurant and have expensive wine to celebrate. Simplicity brings more joy and fewer troubles.
Most celebrations for me mean having good conversation and good food. The less Instagram-worthy it is, the better. I don’t get people who go to a different city just to drink and party on new year’s eve.
They forget the most important thing there is to learn — that happiness is within. Everything you want is within. Outer circumstances may aid to bring that inner happiness to the surface, but it’s not dependent on them.
Before I understood subtle spiritual laws of self-improvement, I tried to make a relationship harmonious by controlling others. I was too focused on how they could change to suit my needs.
When the switch flipped inside me, I started working on myself. I asked questions like “Why does that bother me at all?” I came to the realization that I was happy when I was loving and I was unhappy when I was angry, or filled with hatred.
The choice was then simple — to be loving as much as I could regardless of how others behave. People will stop hating you if you respond with love.
When you become attuned to your inner self, you naturally manifest virtues like love, kindness, and peace. Your magnetism affects those around you and makes them an instrument of the same virtues.
Love Became More Impersonal
Unconditional love is a tall order that few of us can fulfill. When I first heard about loving everyone unconditionally, I failed to grasp how arduous it can be.
We don’t even love our family unconditionally. We give them our love when they act in accord with our desires and needs. When they don’t, we feel there’s nothing wrong with giving them a taste of their own medicine. Thus, we get habituated to loving others only when they behave a certain way.
A potent example of love is when Jesus said on the cross “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That is a high ask indeed.
But that’s the only way to truly have the kind of relationships we want. The more you advance spiritually, the more you learn to love others. And love, far from ruining your social life, makes everyone your friend!
The more your love becomes impersonal and unconditional, the happier you feel. I’m nowhere close to making my love truly unconditional, yet every step on the path has given me more happiness.
Spirituality adds much more to your social life than it takes away. Don’t let the fear of loneliness stop you from going further. There’s an altogether different life waiting for you at the end of the tunnel, and the tunnel gets brighter with every step you take.
You just need to have the faith to walk.