Humans are community animals. We need community and co-habitation, touch, sharing of experiences and emotions, and relationships. Without which we wither away and our souls get sick. However, big city folk necessarily learn to screen out other people. They learn to see selectively. They learn to see without taking cognisance. So how do we develop our spirituality under these conditions?
For non-big city folk the big city is certainly a place chock-full of people; normal people, "people of colour", colorful people, strange ones, crazy ones and different one. However, when you live in the big smoke its nothing more than just another jungle. There are other beings in the jungle but you navigate around them, learn to share space with them, learn to not engage them and you keep to your own 'kind'. Its not that hard except for that you do know in the back of your mind that some of those others, some of them are suffering and some may even need you--yet for survival you keep to your own. You act as if you dont see their pain.
Now, we do know that when we live in the jungle and a baby monkey is in distress that we would want to reach out and help. However, as many people in Beijing would attest, that can come back to bite you. You risk being ripped apart by the 'other' for exposing their lack of parenting, for shaming them, for interfering, and they may even accuse you of doing for the potential gain of accolades, money or fame. So, you stick to your own and navigate around the 'other'.
Big city fold are usually very good at making time and head space for spiritual retreats. They get out to peaceful quiet places whenever possible. They rush to gym, and yoga in-between appointments. They do active meditation in the park. Many own dogs so they could walk them, a way of forcing themselves to get out more.
Big city folk also, typically, dont have the larger families around them. No nana to go visit, no laundry at mom's house, fathers day and mothers day, cousins' birth days, etc. They live for themselves and invest their time in themselves (and in commuting but that can be a spiritual retreat in itself). It is therefore not harder (some say it is easier) to work on your spirituality in the big city.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this.