The Outside Looking In: Knowing About vs. Embodying

pearWhat does it really mean to be spiritual? Some have attended numerous discourses by spiritual leaders, read volumes of life stories and quotes by spiritual Masters, and have gotten to the point where they know all about spirituality. They get it. Some have deeply heartfelt emotions about their spirituality. They love God. They pine for God. They adore God.  And some are captivated both intellectually and emotionally with their spirituality. All of this can be very fulfilling and quite beautiful.

After years of such dedication, some of those people become spiritual teachers or spiritual leaders. They teach other people to dedicate themselves to spirituality in the same manner they do. Oftentimes this includes behavioral patterns, including diet or conforming to a certain outward appearance that they consider to be spiritual.  This too can all be well and good, up to a point.

The fact is that knowing all about spirituality, getting emotional about spirituality, and modifying behavior and thought processes in accord with your notion of spirituality, falls short of actually embodying spirituality.

You see, spirituality is not an attitude, philosophy, or emotional state. True spirituality is a state of physiology with a corresponding level of consciousness. In fact, as your consciousness refines, your understanding of everything you thought you knew about spirituality refines/changes. Behavioral modification can bring about change, but it is a superficial change.  True spiritual growth comes from the Transcendental depth of your being and radiates outward.  It’s important to note that by Transcendental, we mean beyond thoughts, beyond emotion. A lifetime of thinking and getting emotional about spirituality falls quite short of resting in to the Transcendental level of your being.

On a very fundamental level, spiritual scholars and emotional devotees know this.  It is often too difficult for them to acknowledge it.  As a result, they live in denial and attempt to manipulate the surface to look like what they think it should look like.  It can lead people into a desperate and sometimes resentful state.  It’s not a pleasant thing to witness.

Now do understand that intellectual knowledge and emotional dedication has value. That value is multiplied many, many fold if it is used to facilitate a life that cultures the Transcendental level of one’s awareness.  If true spirituality is likened to gold buried beneath the ground, emotional and intellectual spiritual endeavors are the shovels and hoes used to dig for that gold.  They are not the gold.  Nor are they the technique used to implement those tools.  The technique is the cultivation of Transcendental awareness.  The technique is proper meditation.

To learn the Surya Ram Meditation, click here.

© Michael Mamas. All rights reserved.


  1. What a great question: “What does it really mean to be spiritual?” Just that I could ponder for a long time.

    I think this is my favorite sentence of this Michael Mamas blog: “…as your consciousness refines, your understanding of everything you thought you knew about spirituality refines/changes.” This sentence in particular encourages me to evolve my understanding of spirituality, knowing that it will continue to evolve. To me, it is an attractive thought that I will never have total grasp of spiritual knowledge. It is a frontier I can continue to explore.

  2. This blog feels like a gem to me. Your words and examples, especially about the buried gold and shovel shed light on some key distinctions that are so often overlooked or not understood. Thank you.

  3. I love this blog. It is so liberating. If the whole game was all about “doing it right”, I know I would be a failure. Thank goodness, it’s really the Transcendent doing the heavy lifting.

    Also, this reminds me of Dr. Michael Mamas saying, “It’s like the difference between owning a piano and being able to play a concerto.”

  4. This is really GREAT information. I can’t express enough how valuable this blog about spirituality is. I will be revisiting it and sharing it with friends.

  5. I am so enjoying all of the blogs on this sight. The information is varied and all so intriguing. Thank you for writing them Dr. Mamas.

    This blog is particularly useful in remembering not to get caught up in the trappings of trying to evolve, but to stick with the simple technique that cultivates the Transcendent, and meditate.

  6. Great Blog!