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Quest of Spirituality


The growing tension and the search for true Spirituality is a postmodernquest. Each religion professes its own faith according to its own beliefs and teachings. David Brian Perrin once lamented that, “People throughout the world experience spirituality whether they are Christians or not, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism are all forms of spirituality, but have no reference to a God.”
The term “Spirituality” can be expressed in various terms such as feelings, connected or belonging in the universe, believing in a supernatural power outside of oneself, searching for a personal truth, and developing a relationship between the divine and the human. However, there are two great poles of spiritual formation that is, the Eastern and the Western pole of spirituality. The Eastern spirituality takes a cosmic reality rather than a personal view of God. It is holistic and emphasis is placed on the oneness of body and soul, matter and spirit, and on seeing that the whole universe is interwoven. Eastern spirituality is “creation-centered” (Daniel A. Helminiak). It focuses on contemplation, silence and intuitive prayer, and it pays attention to bodily posture in prayer and emphasis towards guru. However, spirituality in the West is largely influenced by Christianity which is centered on God and the concept of sin and redemption. Without God, there is no spirituality.
Christians, who are one among the religions of this world maintains its own spiritual identity through a personal connection with the triune God. The practices of Christian Spirituality consist of prayer, scripture reading, meditation over the reading of the Word of God, and accepting Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In referring to Karen Lebacqz and Joseph Driskill they concreted that “the root of spirituality is spirit.” The word ‘spirit’ draws from the Hebrew word ruach which is extended as ‘breathe’ and ‘wind.’ To them, to talk about ‘the Spirit’ is to discuss about what gives life and animation to someone. Christian spirituality refers to the way in which the Christian life is understood as lived experience in faith and the explicit devotional practices which have been developed to foster and sustain that relationship with Christ. It describes the whole of the Christian’s life as this is oriented to self-transcendent knowledge, freedom, and the love in the light of the ultimate values and highest ideals perceived and pursued in the mystery of Jesus Christ though the Holy Spirit.
What then is this Yoga? Is it not a means of meditation that is practice by Hindu religion in search for its spirituality? It is instead, ambiguous to such an apologetic person like me to read, “it [yoga] has nothing to do with religion” (Nagaland Post: Yoga is a Way of Life says Ramdev, vol. XXI, No. 82, Saturday February 26, 2011). Does it mean that yoga is outside of Hinduism? Or Hinduism has nothing to do with Yoga. To my understanding, any person who submits and adhere to spirituality without religion become only a human phenomenon rather than an explicit belief in one divine God. Such search for spirituality, trying to preach unity without God is professing a message against our Christian faith.
Ironically, our Christian state is a landlock state surrounded by others’ faith. We are immune to all these faiths and practices. To my observation, I wastangled to celebrate Christmas and Diwali on the same day. In a secular world, the essence of Christmas has lost its meaning. The Free Yog Camp at Dimapur is a grant success with testimonies by few Christians testifying through our daily papers.  The Christians as well as the churches are happy to attain such practices of spirituality without any questions. God forbid! to see the indifferences of our churches. Forgetting about the debates over denominations or doctrines, we are splitting our own congregations. We become so sceptic even among the Christians within the same church building or the functions of another church. Whereas, the churches are silent to let the Hindu Missionary teach their spirituality at the same place.
To an authentic Christian, one important verse that reminds them often is the epistles of Titus 1:9: “He must hold firm to the trustworthy Word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (ESV)” They never let loose their statement of faith. They hold Christian doctrine as the shield to defend from others’ faith. On the other hand, it enhances to maintain the absolute biblical teaching and making an awareness to practice the true Christian spirituality and not the spiritualities of this world.
An authentic Church should put a little effort in teaching and nurturing her congregation with the true formation of Christian spirituality and its practices. At present, church clergies who once studied theology and Christology were all consumed by their time and space. Hence, our churches are too structural and not functional. As a community of believers, we can gather together to worship and attain spirituality, but we cannot be spiritual altogether at the same time. We can be spiritual only when we truly understand our personal God as our saviour thus keeping our trust to one God who is alive. There is a tendency in our religiosity that secularism becomes more important than nurturing Christian spirituality. In other words, we become too busy for God’s institution and not with God and His people. Giving emphasis on the triune God and His people with its correct practices of Christian faith will keep us united rather than Yoga or any other form of spirituality.