“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.” – Buddha
When you think about spirituality, do you immediately think of a fat, smiling buddha sitting with his legs folded in complete peace as he contemplates life’s truths? Or a barefoot woman sitting and meditating in a field of flowers?
While these images are certainly representative of humans who have united with their inner spiritual nature, it doesn’t mean we have to be just as they are to tap into our own spirituality.
Spirituality is not a one-size-fits all thing, instead it’s an ever-changing, ever-evolving part of our existence.
Unfortunately, many of us separate ourselves from our spiritual nature because we carry deeply-rooted misconceptions about what spirituality is. That being said, the purpose of this piece is to bring those misconceptions to light so we can stop denying it simply because we don’t understand it.
Here are 8 common misconceptions about spirituality:
1.) If You’re Spiritual You’re Always Happy
Life is full of ebbs and flows meaning change is always on the horizon. Sometimes change is scary and sometimes life is hard.
Not everyday will go exactly how we want it to. In fact, more often than not things will go differently from what we expect (the universe has a sense of humor too).
Challenges and hardships are a natural part of life, and connecting with your spirituality doesn’t mean you always have to be happy. You can still embrace your hardships and be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling AND be spiritual.
That’s the beautiful thing about humanity — we get to experience contrast and emotions (even the tough ones), and it’s a big part about what connects us all together.
2.) If You’re Spiritual You Don’t Have Bad Days
As #1 states, not everyday is going to be perfect. We all have bad days — days that we wish we didn’t have to experience (in the moment anyways) and days we wish we could fast-forward through.
Just remember that bad days don’t make you “not spiritual”, and they also don’t last forever.
3.) If You’re Spiritual You Can’t Enjoy Money
Contrary to the all-too-often misquoted bible verse, money is not the root of all evil.
Money can and does bring a lot of good into the world. It also brings a lot of bad into the world. But life is a ying and yang — it’s a great balancing act.
Money actually allows us a lot of luxuries that we might not otherwise have, such as personal freedom to do what we want, when we want. And being spiritual doesn’t mean that you have to suddenly stop making money and trek off into the jungle to live amongst nature (although there’s certainly nothing wrong with this!).
Instead, you can still enjoy money to its fullest extent — by not worrying about how you’re going to pay for this or that, or buying yourself a nice experience (a trip, day at the spa etc.)
Money, just like everything else in this universe carries an energy and that energy can either be good or bad depending on how you use it. If you’re using the money that comes into your experience for good things — such as to make yourself and others happy, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t be enjoying it!
4.) If You’re Spiritual You’re Also Religious
Many people think spirituality and religion are the same thing, but they aren’t.
Here’s an example of a conversation I frequently experience when talking about spirituality:
“Are you religious?”
“No, I’m spiritual.”
“Isn’t that the same thing?”
“No. Spirituality is an organic, natural part of you. It comes out when you connect with your true self. Religion is an organized set of dogmas you follow, based off of a particular set of beliefs and values within a culture. The two are not mutually exclusive, although you can certainly identify as both religious and spiritual, just as you can identify as being a woman and a mother, although you don’t need to be a mother to be a woman.”
Spirituality isn’t something someone has to convert to. Nor is it something that needs to be studied intensely to be understood. Instead, spirituality is just something we all are, and whether we choose to deny that or embrace that truth is entirely up to each of us.
5.) If You’re Spiritual You Have to Be a Minimalist
Connecting with your spirituality doesn’t mean you have to rid yourself of all of your material comforts and live life as a minimalist. Instead, it often means you develop a great affection and appreciation for all of the blessings you have in your life — including your material assets.
Now, to be clear — there is a difference between attachment and non-attachment. Attachment is when we have certain material items in our lives we believe we simply cannot live without, non-attachment is appreciating those items, but understanding we are just temporarily using them.
6.) If You’re Spiritual You Have to Practice Yoga
Yoga, which is a Hindu practice that includes breath control, meditation and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is not for everyone.
You don’t have to be a yoga master (or even a yoga beginner!) to be spiritual. Just as not everyone likes to lift weights or run, not everyone likes practicing yoga. And this lack of participation doesn’t make you anymore or less spiritual.
Find an exercise program or physical activity that you enjoy and do that — you will feel good mentally, physically and spiritually.
7.) If You’re Spiritual You Have to be a Vegetarian
While your dietary preferences do have an impact on your overall health and wellbeing, you don’t have to be a vegetarian to be healthy, nor do you have to be a vegetarian to be spiritual.
Meat eating is a long-standing part of the human diet, and there’s nothing wrong with you enjoying meat as part of your diet.
As long as you’re appreciating your food, and eating what feels good for your body, then you’re living in alignment with yourself and the universe.
8.) If You’re Spiritual, You’re a Hippie
This is one of the most entertaining (in my opinion) misconceptions about spirituality. People often think spirituality is synonymous with dreadlocks, long hair, hallucinogenic drugs and the rejection of conventional values.
When in reality, embracing your spirituality doesn’t mean you’re a hippie (but if you are, that’s fine too!). Instead, embracing your spirituality means you’re connecting with your true, formless self — the real part of you.
We’re all spiritual, whether we openly admit it or not. We all have a unique path we’re guided along with the aim of showing us our purpose for existing. And one of the most magical things about life is that no two paths are the same, but all of our paths are deeply interconnected.
About Antasha Durbin: Antasha is a spiritual writer, life-long student of the universe, and psychic tarot card reader. Her website, cajspirituality.com, is dedicated to casualizing the spiritual experience and making it attainable for anyone, anywhere, anytime. Follow her for free, easy-to-digest and highly actionable advice on spirituality, mindfulness and empowered living.