Be true to yourself and you will never fall.
-- Beastie Boys, “Pass the Mic”
The idea of indie spirituality attempts to make all of the ideas and concepts shared in this book, “spiritual” or not, more accessible for those of us who’ve previously had a tough time with them. This isn’t a new spirituality, but rather all spirituality. It is not exclusive to any person, sect, religion, race, sexual identity, or creed. It simply is. It is right here, right now, and it’s all good, even when it’s not. While speaking with MC Yogi, he did a wonderful job of elaborating on this point when he said:
Once you’ve discovered who you are and what this all is, it doesn’t matter where or who you are. There are saints in India who meditate on huge piles of trash. It doesn’t matter what it looks like on the outside. It’s all about being able to feel that which is beyond the senses, that point where the senses emanate and shine from within our self, the center of the wheel, clock, compass, mind, heart, whatever you want to call it. Our innermost point is there, the center of our universe. It’s so important to be able to find that blazing sun that is in the center of our self and return to it quickly, so that when the mind kicks up all of its ideas, which it does because it’s designed like a machine to do so, we can detach from our ideas of how we think it should be and continue to return to the center.
In yoga there’s a beautiful saying that “it shines through you as you.” It takes the form of everything, but if we’re slightly off center, then we’re going to think it needs to look a certain way. (from an interview with MC Yogi).
Honoring the Truth in Ourselves & Allowing Others To Do the Same
The importance of being able to “detach from our ideas of how we think it should be and continue to return to the center” cannot be stressed enough if we want to truly remain open in our journey and able to honor the truth in ourselves while allowing others to do the same. Even if they aren’t as accepting of what resonates with us, or our own personal life choices, we will be rooted in a place where, like Yogi says, “the senses emanate and shine from within our self, the center of the wheel, clock, compass, mind, heart.” That’s a place where a lot of people — including spiritual practitioners, unfortunately — don’t come from. Yogi also went on to say:
I really struggle with that as an artist because I always feel like my art should look and sound a certain way. I always strive for perfection. It’s very humbling and a constant reminder to return to center. When you align yourself, everything on the outside starts to fall into place. It’s that shift, like when you go sailing, you make a tiny little course correction, a subtle little shift but it alters your course extremely. It’s a tiny little internal shift, just like turning a key in a lock, sinking the mind back into the center, dropping in, you can’t even see it from the outside.
That tiny little shift however, radically changes your perception so you can actually see that everything is love in disguise. Everything is yourself in disguise and the personality is just the costume the Self wears. It’s like the mind is a mask, a facade. What is behind the mind, below the breath, what is shining through the senses, what is seeing itself through you? The universe sees itself through our eyes. The universe is shining through our nervous system and to have this perspective takes work, it takes effort. There’s a lot of conditioning that needs to be stripped away. You have to train your mind diligently in order to have that sort of breakthrough where you can shine through your own thoughts and become intimate with the infinite, which is shining in, and all around us. I love what Noah [Levine] is doing because he’s shattering the idea that it has to look a certain way and I feel like that’s spiritual maturity, when you can see it in everything, even in the fucked up situations too. If you can see that a great power is orchestrating that as well, in order for us to have that remembrance, it’s strong medicine. It can be very bitter at times but if you’re into the experience of being illuminated, then you just kind of relish and savor every square inch of it. (from interview with MC Yogi).
Yogi really nails it when he mentions the tiny little internal shift that, even though we can’t see it, radically changes our perception, allowing us to see that everything is in disguise. On the material level, it’s all just image and stuff, and we too are spiritual aspirants regardless of what we’ve previously been told by traditional society and spirituality. It’s our insides, not our outsides, that guide us on our paths, and we’re full of heart, aren’t we?
©2014 Chris Grosso. Reprinted with permission
from Atria Books/Beyond Words Publishing.
All Rights Reserved. www.beyondword.com
Indie Spiritualist: A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality
by Chris Grosso.
A guidebook for today’s generation of spiritual misfits who crave a dogma-free path. Drawing on his punk rock roots and question-everything mindset, Chris Grosso offers a collection of stories and musings about his meandering journey of self-inquiry, recovery, and acceptance. He rejects all the hypocrisies and judgments of religion to show that spirituality is not something that only happens on meditation cushions or yoga mats, in sanghas, churches, mosques, temples, or synagogues. Brutally honest, bitingly humorous, and radically unconventional, his collection of vignettes shows what it means to live an authentic, open, and mindful life. Indie Spiritualist empowers you to accept yourself as you are, in all your humanity and imperfect perfection.
About the Author
Chris Grosso is an independent culturist, freelance writer, spiritual aspirant, recovering addict, and musician. He serves as spiritual director of the interfaith center The Sanctuary at Shepardfields and writes for various websites including Intent Blog, Huffington Post, Rebelle Society amongst others and is a monthly correspondent for the Where Is My Guru radio show. He created the popular hub for all things alternative, independent, and spiritual with TheIndieSpiritualist.com and continues the exploration with his debut book titled Indie Spiritualist. A self-taught musician, Chris has been writing, recording, and touring since the mid-1990s.