The purpose of spirituality

Omkaradatta's picture

Average: 3.8 (4 votes)

What is the purpose of spirituality? Folks have different ideas about this, as "Realizing the Self" really means nothing in and of itself.

I originally wanted to disappear like Shankara was purported to, vanish. I had had enough of fear, anxiety and trouble and wanted to be gone, and I suspect this is the 'goal' of many folks.

It's understandable, too. Yet, this isn't spirituality's purpose. It isn't so you can be comfortable with the idea of life after death, that you will live forever and are 'eternal'.

You do not get some kind of greatness either, accolades from the public. Nisargadatta: "My world is an open world, common to all, accessible to all." "Truth is simple and open to all. Why do you complicate?"

Lately it's become very clear: Spirituality's purpose is to free us from fear, desire, seeking and suffering, so we can live life to the fullest. It's very simple, and has always been so throughout the history of mankind.

Nisargadatta: "Everybody is glad to be. But few know the fullness of it. You come to know by dwelling in your mind on 'I am', 'I know', 'I love' -- with the will of reaching the deepest meaning of these words."

Do you get free of 'fear of death' too? Sure. Do you get some assurance of an afterlife? Where do you think such a thing would come from, the sky? Rather, you lose the fear of dying, because you are really living. Continuity of the mind (you) is no longer of interest. There is only Life.

I don't know what you may or may not be seeking, but it isn't going to turn you into a white blob of oneness, or let you sit there all the time like a stone Buddha :-). Being in the Here and Now is the state of a child, the natural state, the ego-free state. You are free.

The Here and Now is more sacred than the mind can possibly imagine -- yours or mine. It is the sound of water running through pipes, the coolness of a shirt on your back, the smell on a city bus after the rain, the smile of a young child, the warmth of the sun on your shoulders, the delicious notes of a song. It is you, your own Self.

Nisargadatta: "It is not the body that you love, it is Life -- perceiving, feeling, thinking, doing, loving, striving, creating. It is that Life you love, which is you, which is all. Realise it in its totality, beyond all divisions and limitations, and all your desires will merge in it, for the greater contains the smaller. Therefore find yourself, for in finding that you find all."

sonti's picture

no purpose

There is no purpose because "you" are only a tool in this game.

When there is a purpose, you must inspect yourself at once because what you have is not spirituality any more (not because spirituality couldn't have a purpose in theory, it is just a convenient symptom that something went wrong).

There is no purpose as you have not decided to embark on it, you are doing nothing to participate, actually, what you do is to interfere and spoil...

sonti | Thu, 09/18/2008 - 05:08
nancy pro's picture

tacit skepticism

your view is based on an underlying skepticism, you vacuumed the spirit and essence and left only mental perspective. A common error we constantly make.

Many times, it is a clever trick of the skeptic mind allowing spirituality while pumping behind all spirit from it and filling the hole left with words and definitions. Be aware!

I don't see any point in discussing purpose other than satisfying some concern of the mind of loosing control. What is the isolated purpose of my very standing on a moving escalator? Just the standing itself? and even this is a bad allegory.

nancy pro | Thu, 09/18/2008 - 07:51
sonti's picture

I must admit that you are

I must admit that you are right!

sonti | Thu, 09/18/2008 - 09:18
Omkaradatta's picture

All 'purpose' is isolated...

There's no such thing as a 'general purpose'. If you're standing on a moving escalator, you may want to go to the clothing department at the bottom, change your mind in the middle, change it again toward the top. Or maybe you ARE just standing. The question is: What is your purpose for being into spirituality, *right now*? What other time is there?

As per the rest of your message: Thank you :-). Maybe you're the only one here getting the Heart focus from my posting, which was the whole "purpose" (sorry :-p) of it.

P.S. sometimes I wonder if people more need anti-depressants than spirituality :-/. Clean up the biggest negativist boulders with that, first.

Omkaradatta | Thu, 09/18/2008 - 07:45
angel76's picture

How can there be a purpose

How can there be a purpose if there is no "you" and actually there is no "spirituality" - it is just a name given to a process which means that it does not exist (in the true sense of existing).

angel76 | Thu, 09/18/2008 - 06:30
dora's picture


It depends from which perspective you are talking about when you say purpose.

Of course, if there is a purpose, we cannot have a clue about what it is since we do not have access to the bigger picture. How can you know a purpose of something when you don't perceive anything beyond this something. Purpose is defined between the something and the environment.

It can be roughly said that if someone wants to name a purpose the closest guess is annihilation, assisting death, making death to come earlier. Or rather, to rephrase it, making sure less non-existent objects believe they and other non-existent objects exist.

dora | Thu, 09/18/2008 - 06:57
Omkaradatta's picture


There's no me, no you, no spirituality, and this message is an illusion too. Bye. *sigh*.

Nancy prophet: "your view is based on an underlying skepticism, you vacuumed the spirit and essence and left only mental perspective."

Omkaradatta | Thu, 09/18/2008 - 07:24
enlight's picture

It's like asking what the

It's like asking what the purpose is in having sex (without the "having children" aspect).

It's an instinct, it's an urge, it's a whim, it's a pull.

enlight | Thu, 09/18/2008 - 06:52
Omkaradatta's picture

What I meant by 'What is the purpose'...

What I meant is this: Why do you feel yourself to be into spirituality? What do you hope to attain, get out of it (or lose from it), what reasons are you involved, if any?

P.S. yes, I know there is ultimately no purpose to anything. So what? Everybody feels to be into it for one reason or another, even if it's an urge, whim or pull as someone suggested. Don't they? What does it hurt to make the unconscious, conscious, and figure out why?

P.S. perhaps the title "purpose of spirituality" wasn't the best... I didn't give it much thought, but just spouted as usual ;-). These bloggings I do are very spontaneous and (with the exception of a few minor updates usually) just 'come out as-is'.

Omkaradatta | Thu, 09/18/2008 - 07:13
crazydiogene's picture

Ha! you are still searchin pupose.


crazydiogene | Thu, 09/18/2008 - 10:39
Omkaradatta's picture


... not searching for anything. Only words like "purpose" don't bother me any more ;-).

Omkaradatta | Thu, 09/18/2008 - 16:29
Omkaradatta's picture


I'm sorry I posted this blogging... the essence of it was lost. I'm either not communicating well, people aren't receiving well, or both. I'm going to stop posting here much anymore -- it isn't working out well, and there's no point in it.

Omkaradatta | Thu, 09/18/2008 - 17:40
Phroggy's picture

Attention deficit disorder?

First of all, though I had no comment to make on it, I thought your blog was very well said.

I've been reading with some fascination how a blog about the function and personal motivations for spiritual work immediately became a discussion about ultimate purpose, and by the end people are basically telling you to get over it already, there is no ultimate purpose. Hehe. Once again.....I see zombies.

Phroggy | Thu, 09/18/2008 - 18:32
Omkaradatta's picture

I'm concluding...

... really, that the Internet is not conducive to spirituality at all. There's no real interaction, words are far too cheap/easy, and it encourages the mind to think, think, think. The location itself is a dream, being digital data located in some unknown country on some unknown server, but we pretend we're "here on together".

There's little or no point in this.

Omkaradatta | Thu, 09/18/2008 - 23:59
Phroggy's picture

I've been moving away from

I've been moving away from it myself, as you know, but I contend that such interaction has been a major part of my spiritual work for many years and has resulted in daily insights that have had a major impact on my clarity, understanding, struggle and my level of daily peace. Still, I would not recommend it to anyone since it's not clear that anyone else approaches this work quite the way I have. Maybe we can say such things can happen anywhere if there is the devotion to Truth. Somebody said Truth can be found on the back of a cereal box if there's the willingness to see it, though I never tried that one. Hehe.

Phroggy | Fri, 09/19/2008 - 02:08
Omkaradatta's picture

How do you know...

... that the insights wouldn't have come anyway, perhaps even if you had been sitting and playing with Legos instead? ;-).

From here, truth comes with the loss of our absence from the here/now -- thus, words may take us away from the truth more than anything else. They are mostly our resistance.

I like to say that 'awakening' is not presence, but absence of absence. So much for Tolle and "The power of Now", eh? :-p.

Omkaradatta | Fri, 09/19/2008 - 03:30
Phroggy's picture

Yes, it's true that the

Yes, it's true that the insights aren't caused by the focus, so I guess we can't really make a connection one way or the other. We're where we're sposed to be all the time.

I would agree that thought and words and communication are not a movement toward Truth, but there isn't really a movement toward Truth, just a movement away from illusion, and this may require exploring the illusion in one way or another. IOW, Truth seekers are never actually seeking Truth but rather revealing illusion, so the fact that Truth is obscured by these activities isn't the point.

"I like to say that 'awakening' is not presence, but absence of absence"

Could you explain a little more what you mean here? You mean the absence of the egoic diversion?

Phroggy | Fri, 09/19/2008 - 03:41
Omkaradatta's picture


The absence of our shuffling back and forth mentally between past/future, which is the egoic diversion in a nutshell.

P.S. ever consider that the power of your 'reflective focus' may be mainly in the 'focus' part rather than the actual reflection taking place?

Omkaradatta | Fri, 09/19/2008 - 04:07
Phroggy's picture

My understandiung of Tolle

My understandiung of Tolle is that he has us end this past/future mentation, so you're implication that it isn't workable threw me a bit.

Yes, the focus forms the reflection, and I see it as a kind of amplifier to help me gain insight from it. At the level of ego dynamics this is most apparent as the reflection lays bare any unconscious dynamics of judgment, projection and denial, and if there's the interest in noticing them, it's a simple matter. At 'higher' levels of exploration, we confront boundaries of a different sort. Traps, diversions, limiting concepts, and the validity of the assumed identity itself.

The reflections are a wonderful part of the perfection, and solitude can deny this tool of insight. The monk who attains perfect equanimity in the monastery may violently encounter his reflection on his trip to town. Otherness provides a stimulus for a sharpened focus in which intuitive clarity often happens, which is why I still have an internet presence in spite of my repeated frustration.

Phroggy | Fri, 09/19/2008 - 06:26
Omkaradatta's picture

You may be right...

You may be right about Tolle... I haven't read much of his stuff.

Why not expand the 'reflective focus' to not just words/thoughts, but everything? ;-). You seem so focused on ego dynamics... everybody is focusing on something, but few of us seem to be into expansion, letting the 'here and now' take over. You're right about the monk, but doesn't the same thing apply to the 'mental solitude' of focusing mainly on ego dynamics?

> Otherness provides a stimulus for a sharpened
> focus in which intuitive clarity often happens

This is what I mean... why just otherness? Can *everything* become a stimulus for a sharpened focus in which intuitive clarity can happen?

Am I "merely" suggesting to become interested in life? Sure. Get deeply involved in every little response to life, as it happens.... *lose yourself* in it ;-).

Isn't that the function 'otherness' plays for us... we 'lose ourselves' in others? Can this be transferred to life, as a whole?


Omkaradatta | Fri, 09/19/2008 - 09:14
Phroggy's picture

Well, no, I don't seem to

Well, no, I don't seem to lose myself in others. Not sure what that means, really. Others seem to serve the function of reinforcing the self for most folks.

My focus is not exclusively on ego but primarilly so. Why, because that's the problematic delusion. No ego self, No problem.

Not sure what you're getting at with the interest in life deal.

Phroggy | Fri, 09/19/2008 - 10:38
Omkaradatta's picture

It's about bifurcating...

Yes -- no ego self, no problem. But who ever said *focus on* ego was the way to get rid of ego?

I know all the stuff about understanding falsehood so deeply that it drops, blah blah. It just seems to me that there is more to falsehood than ego-related issues. The mind as a whole is in confusion, with most folks.

Childhood fear of monsters under the bed turn into adult fears of 13th floors of buildings, full moons, bosses at work 'out to get them'. Belief in Santa Claus turns into a belief in winning at casinos, playing the stock market, etc. You say even a child knows the difference between reality and imagination. I say most folks are totally clueless.

> Not sure what you're getting at with
> the interest in life deal.

The key is in the phrase "lose yourself". Did you pick up on that, or is it that you believe "losing oneself" when deeply occupied in something has nothing to do with what 'losing oneself' would be like in the nondual sense?

Omkaradatta | Fri, 09/19/2008 - 10:55
Phroggy's picture

One may lose oneself in

One may lose oneself in creative endeavor, inspiration, devotion, one-pointedness, but otherness does not generally serve this function. It can, as in sexual surrender or genuine compassion or parental love, but more often we associate with others because they make us feel good, and this is not losing oneself but rather reinforcing a false image of oneself. Almost all friendships are formed on this basis, and rarely survive if ego is not being adequately fed in some way.

Phroggy | Fri, 09/19/2008 - 20:24
genep's picture

broken record

echo: "I'm sorry I posted this blogging... the essence of it was lost. I'm either not communicating well, people aren't receiving well, or both. I'm going to stop posting here much anymore -- it isn't working out well, and there's no point in it."

-- but we keep beating the same dead horse, over and over, with more posts.

-- really

genep | Tue, 08/04/2009 - 19:21
Phroggy's picture


Could you keep it down? There are people trying to sleep here, ya know. ;)

Phroggy | Wed, 08/05/2009 - 04:21
Michael ji Ramaprasad's picture


Hi om,

Spirituality does not have a purpose, it is the purpose. We being a spiritual being do not have a spiritual purpose..but a spiritual nature..the nature being spirituality. Our true self does not propose to be just is. Its purpose is to be it's self which is spirituality. The realization of this is just the process of remembering our true nature. Everything then is spirituality.

Michaelji Mahatma Ramaprasad

Michael ji Rama... | Thu, 01/29/2009 - 18:23
Quantum's picture

Actually, I liked your post.

Okay.. my ego liked your post. And that picture of the statue of the Buddha--I have a small wood carving of it in the room on a shelf. It reminds me to meditate.

Phroggy: Your comment a bout a monk attaining equanimity in the sterile isolation of a monestary might meet with a violent reflection of himself on the way to town makes sense to me. I wonder in amazement sometimes that all these so called enlightened ones...well...they didn't have any young children to raise or deal with. And Buddha? Well, he did...but as I understand the story, he walked on on his wife and kid. Then...he became enlightened.

St. Paul, St. Frances, Just about any other yogi, I can think of...except wasn't there one? I dont' remember...anyway..none of them had kids. The life they lived was secluded. Easy enough like a secluded monastic monk to gain equanimity.

Omkarra: Power of Now is a very good book. I find it "transmormative." A New Earth is also a good book. I find it more "informative." I have many highlited sections in "A New Earth", but if I highlight "Power of Now", every word on every page would be highlighted. So, when I read Power of NOw, I just take in the entire message and digest it. The two techniques--to enable being more Present-- Tolle seems to emphases the most are "Breath-Inner Body" awareness.

Being Present, for me, allows "cosmic energy", to flow unresisted. Thoughts block the flow of cosmic energy. Or, thoughts --specially negativity toxic ones held over from past events, or brought about by future worries-- prevent a higher dimension of awareness from expressing itself thru and around us. In Christian Theistic jargon, "forgive", and "Let Go, let God." A similar way of putting it, from "Zen in the ARt of Archery", is "It (the Great IT)shoots itself (the arrow for you)."

Anyway, my point in that long winded disseration is that I think you might like reading Tolle. He speaks with amazing clarity. Well, okay, for me anyway. My own brother might think he makes now sense.
But when I read your posts, specially, the very abstract and cryptic ones, I can still understand them in relation to "The Power of Now."

My purpose for spirituality?: We'll, I enjoy the presence of God. Whatever you personally might conceive "God" to be. My human mind, and human mental faculties, interprets "God", into an image, in it's own way. And that's fine with me. It doesn't stop me from feeling God's presence when I need Him. In fact, I think it helps. But call a rose, by any other name, and it is still a rose.

The way of devotion (Bhakti yoga) is faster and easier than the abtract method of seeking the absolute inpersonal all pervading inconceivable devoid voidless void, though seeking the voidless void also get's you there, but much much harder for a 3 year old to understand and apply than the same 3 year sitting in prayer at night thanking God for His Blessings and asking God to bless mommy and daddy.

I think Bhakti Yoga, love, worhsip, and devotion, to a personal Deity is the way of Judaeo-Christians. Letting Go and Letting God is easy. Then, "It --The Great Doctrine--shoot's itself (the arrow)"

Attaining the non-personal inconceivable ablosute is the way of meditation. Harder, more difficult, because the ego get's in the way. It wants something to grab on to. But once experienced, "It--The Great Doctrine--shoots itself (the arrow).

Not sure if any of this makes sence.

Oh, back to my purpose...think of this entire post as "non-linear, okay? Meditation clear my mind. It enables me to still my mind and heart so that I may receive God in communion. Not just in the wafer, but all around me. Without meditation, my mind is a total noisy mess, and try as I might, believe as I might in God, I am full of worries, anxieties, stress, anger, hate, you name it.

Meditation enables me to quite my mind. When things I quite, I am more able to feel God's presence all around me.

Reality Check: How do maintain during the rat race? Good question. Jesus seemed to managed to maintain during his ordeal. So, peace, even during traffic jams, is possible. I just need to meditate more, so that I do not run into violent reflections of myself as often as I as soon as I leave the confined spirituality experienced in the quiet of my room, or the quiet of a peaceful walk, or the sterile environment of Mass. That's my purpose.

PS: I think think you original post was good.

Good work.

Quantum | Mon, 10/05/2009 - 19:11
Jasmin's picture

Purpose of spirituality

The purpose of spiritual life is not knowledge, is not truth, is not eradicating karma, is not cultivating love, is not ending the rebirth cycle, is not enlightenment...

It is being able to waste your life in terms of conventions, being able to do nothing, being able to let time go by with no achievements whatsoever.

Jasmin | Sat, 12/19/2009 - 00:16
Quantum's picture

Day after day....

....... alone on the hill,
The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still.

But the fool on the hill,
Sees the sun going down.
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning around.

Well on his way, his head in a cloud,
The man of a thousand voices, talking perfectly loud.
But nobody ever hears him,
Or the sound he appears to make.
And he never seems to notice .....

But the fool on the hill,
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning around.

-The Beatles

Quantum | Sat, 12/19/2009 - 05:50
Quantum's picture

There are...

There are those who don't know, and don't know they don't now. (I suppose deserve compassion, for they know not what they do or don't do.)

There are those who don't now, and think they know. (RUN!!!!!!)

There are those who don't know and know they don't know. (Me!)

There are those who know, and don't know they know. (I see quiet a few, actually. Lovely people. Saw one the other morning, she was driving a bus.)

There are those who know and know they know. (Hard to find, I think they keep a low profile.)

Quantum | Sat, 12/19/2009 - 05:56