We live in an era in which misinformation travels around the world in seconds before truth has an opportunity to be determined. Prior to the advent of the Internet and instant communication among the masses simultaneously (Face Book, Twitter, etc.), people checked and rechecked facts before disseminating information. Given this fact it is important for each person to distinguish truth from misinformation, because if not, those who do not check will fall for anything and everything.
Myth: People who are spiritual do not believe the life of Jesus existed.
• Fact: As many people who are spiritual believe Jesus existed as those who practice religion. Christian Science does not teach that one needs to pray through Jesus. The Jewish faith does not teach that one needs to pray through Jesus.
Myth: Spirituality is complicated and difficult to understand.
• Fact: The premise of spirituality is simplicity. The Hindi has an adage, ‘Jo Saral Hai Wohi Sathya Hai,’ – the truth is simple. Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba reminds us of this over and over. He says in Kali Yuga (the present age), ‘We need to be good and loving to ourselves and each other. Nothing else is needed. Help! Never Hurt!’
Myth: Spiritual seekers need to be serious.
• Fact: Spirituality promotes accepting ‘What is,’ sans rancor or derision. Taking the ups and downs of life in good humor is necessary for spiritual evolution. A hearty laugh can silence the noise of the mind.
Myth: Animal sacrifice is part of spiritual practices.
• Fact: This is the most egregious of all spiritual myths. The scriptures which talk about animal sacrifice, actually mean the sacrifice of animal qualities. We need to rise above our animalistic impulses. It is a symbolic teaching and has been misunderstood as literal animal sacrifice.
Myth: Spiritual practice includes torture of the body.
• Fact: There is no evidence in any spiritual practices to inflict bodily harm on oneself or others. The Roman Catholic order Opus Dei and its use of ‘corporal mortification,’ promotes voluntarily punishing one’s body as a religious discipline. Catholic penance is an act of self-mortification or devotion performed voluntarily to show sorrow for a sin or other wrong doing.
Myth: One needs to develop healing and psychic powers to evolve spiritually.
• Fact: A spiritually evolved person may effortlessly have these gifts and use them for their own benefit and the benefit of others. However, it is not a requirement to be considered spiritually evolved.
Myth: Spirituality requires that for spiritual growth you need to come in contact with U.F.O or Aliens to evolve spiritually.
• Fact: More people who practice religion are seeking to track down a U.F.O or Aliens than people who practice spirituality. People who practice spirituality take it for granted there are U.F.O presence or Aliens present. There are many U.F.O sightings. However, it does not mean that people who practice spirituality are waiting for a U.F.O to abduct someone to make them enlightened.
Myth: Spiritual evolution is determined by material wealth.
• Fact: We use our emotional and mental power to attract or manifest ‘good’ things in our lives, because we know we are connected to the power of the Universe. Our physical and material circumstance has nothing to do with the inner state of evolution. Poverty is not a sign of spiritual evolution and conversely material abundance is not a sign of spiritual evolution.
It is true that humans are capable of attracting circumstances by tapping into his/her emotional/mental energy. Bhagayed Gita teaches us to carry out our daily duties selflessly by being detached from the fruits of our labor and to enjoy the process. When one enjoys the process they reap the benefits of their magnificent creation.
Myth: We are required to practice difficult physical Yoga postures, Ti Chi, etc. to become enlightened.
• Fact: Yoga postures and Ti Chi have a wonderful effect on a person’s body and mind. Yoga and Ti Chi are beautiful systematic body movements to heal and rejuvenate the body. Both help in controlling the mind to a great extent. However, it is unnecessary to entangle your limbs in a knotty Yoga posture to walk on a spiritual path.