My friend wrote me this letter:
Then I drew this picture:
I was thinking that one definition of the word “spirituality” could be: the ability to take a nice long walk with your brain, and be happy.
My med school professor said there are 4 levels of happiness:
1. Animal happiness (pleasurable things, food, sex, sleep)
2. Accomplishment (being good at something)
3. Relationships (getting good feedback from people)
4. Foundation happiness (This is the happiness that you don’t need the external world for, the happiness you can make in your brain. It can be prayer, meditation, love, thinking, anything, but it’s nice to figure out for oneself what this is and how to improve ones skill at synthesizing it).
A “spiritual” person is someone who can derive happiness just by taking a nice long walk with his brain. To him, the weather, his career, his relationships, his health etc. don’t matter as much (though they still matter a lot).
“It requires enormous intelligence to be alone; and you must be alone to find God, truth. It is nice to have a companion, a husband or a wife, and also to have babies; but you see, we get lost in all that, we get lost in the family, in the job, in the dull, monotonous routine of a decaying existence. We get used to it, and then the thought of living alone becomes dreadful, something to be afraid of. Most of us have put all our faith in one thing, all our eggs in one basket, and our lives have no richness apart from our companions, apart from our families and our jobs. But if there is a richness in one’s life – not the richness of money or knowledge, which anyone can acquire, but that richness which is the movement of reality with no beginning and no ending – then companionship becomes a secondary matter.
But, you see, you are not educated to be alone. Do you ever go out for a walk by yourself? It is very important to go out alone, to sit under a tree – not with a book, not with a companion, but by yourself – and observe the falling of a leaf, hear the lapping of the water, the fisherman’s song, watch the flight of a bird, and of your own thoughts as they chase each other across the space of your mind. If you are able to be alone and watch these things, then you will discover extraordinary riches which no government can tax, no human agency can corrupt, and which can never be destroyed.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
“Master of the Universe / grant me the ability to be alone; / may it be my custom to go outdoors each day among the trees and grasses, / among all growing things, / and there to be alone, and enter into prayer, / to talk to the One to whom I belong.” —Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav