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Spiritual bliss through adventure sports
Today’s youth doesn’t shy away from spirituality. It has embraced its hunger for such insight and satisfies it through adventure sports, writes Niharika Nigam
Do you remember that iconic scene from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara where Hrithik Roshan has tears in his eyes after his scuba diving experience? It’s a representation of the spiritual journey which comes from surrendering oneself to nature in all its glory and thus ultimately finding oneself. Was that just cinematic magic or is there truly the remotest possibility of experiencing spiritual bliss through adventure sports?
To the average Indian youth today, because they have been more privileged than their parents, and have grown up with better facilities and amenities, the allure of money, while predominant, is still not as overpowering as the desire for happiness. This explains why the current generation seeks to break away from the norm, experiment with their jobs, enjoy adventure sports, and shell out money for vacations. They believe in investing in themselves to create a more joyful experience of living.
Earlier, several youngsters were tuned out to the subject of spirituality. It was discarded it as a subject unworthy of thought, introspection or discussion. But, the scenario is drastically changing now. It’s because they have the privilege of moving beyond the chase of basic needs.
So, what is spirituality? It is the complete consciousness. It is being aware of the experience of life. It is rejoicing in being alive. It is not just being one with nature; it is the sense of becoming aware that you are nature, a microcosm of the macrocosm of the universe. It is the knowledge that the entire universe resides in one’s whole being. It is about knowing how powerful your existence is. Spirituality is a surrender so complete that there can be no higher level of control.
The walk towards spirituality can be compared to that of a gymnast’s careful stroll on a tightrope- there will be several challenges along the way but the journey is always liberating, and ultimately empowering. There is always more to this life than mere worldly pleasures- no wonder that the serenity comes from a total liberation from all the “mohs” and “mayas” that earthly pleasures come attached with. In this chaotic world of burning out at a young age, finding inner peace is a luxury that is not gifted to all. It is a call from within that evokes the natural desires of the soul.
We all have, at some point, had life changing “spiritual experiences’’ that evoked a sense of gratitude in being alive. None of that can really be described in the scientific language even if the spiritual experience does correspond to a scientific experience of discovery and insight. The significance runs deeper than what we have perceived life to be. People lay immersed in religion, visiting temples after temples, in order to find meaning to life. Even though every religion, and every religious text, says that the real spiritual journey lies within. The answers you seek are within you- and you need to travel deep within to be able to understand them. All one needs, is a pathway to connect with the higher self within. The self that goes beyond the perceived self, the self that inherently knows peace and is not at war with the world.
But how does one awaken that higher self? How does one tune into that sacred interaction with the universe and the ultimate source — whether one calls it god, power, or energy? People often believe that one has to go through great penance to achieve a spiritual awakening- the biggest misconception. One needs to turn inward, rather than going for futile expedition towards the vast unknown. While a soul-seeking journey may chalk out as a veritable path, there is no guarantee to the tenure or the potency of the path. One may end up hurtling in a vortex of disillusionment, without any conclusive solution to it. Listening carefully to the inner calling requires some extreme stimuli to push it to another level.
And this is where adventure sports plays its part as the trigger to dive deep into oneself, and be forced to cut out all external noise, all external distractions- out of sudden fear injected to the adventurer to shock them out of their comfort zone- leaving just them, in that moment- with their resounding heartbeat. One is Left alone to become conscious of their very existence, to become alive to every breath, and to sit up and take notice of just how much life there is in every moment. It is in times of heightened awareness — what’s called being “in the zone” — that spiritual insight is gained, a transcendent perspective on life itself.
Despite the highest safety standards, the fear remains. As in the case of bungee jumping — despite the world-class harnesses, despite the experienced jump masters, jumping off a height that high — takes guts. It’s about challenging one’s deepest fears — and having the courage to overcome them.
But the real test of strength is in that final moment on the edge, with the countdown happening — 3..2..1…Jump! Heart racing, fear overtaking, breathlessness setting in. That moment of looking down. Make no mistake, it IS mental warfare — and it’s you vs your fears. If you think a moment too long, you’ve lost the battle. Oh, but when you jump.
It’s paradoxical, that while you are plummeting through the air, you are soaring too. It is in that moment- where spirituality lies. Where you have let go, but you are still the one who has overcome. Where you have ceased to be, and yet you are. Where you are nothing, and yet everything is you. Where it is you, and your being alive, that are the only two things you are sure of, that are real. In that moment, you have had what is probably your first encounter with your deepest self- and that is the sweet spot. That is the addictive feeling that keeps adventure seekers craving for more. Soak that meeting in, smile, and say hello.
The writer is Director, Business Development, at Jumpin Heights
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