your true home with God,
and the thought of
separation, or individuality." --Gary R. Renard
What does spiritual living mean?
Would my living spiritually make a difference, or have a positive influence on the world?
To live spiritually must mean to apply our spiritual beliefs and principles to our everyday living and find a way to apply metaphysical and mystical practices to the concerns of daily existence. We want to find and use the methods that release us from lack, limitation and suffering. We sense life should be about freedom, joy, love, and peace. We perceive it is possible for our souls to feel at home in our bodies, that we can be secure in an uncertain world, and we are connected to the Divine always.
We also desire to be happy. Gandhi said, "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." ...having agreement between our internal being and outward expression.
Illumination and Transformation
Our spiritual practices of meditation, prayer, journaling and study bring us insights and moments of illumination. This includes the feeling of knowing something is true; a sense of the answer in a symbolic form--a single image or word expressing a complicated concept; or perhaps a feeling of release, as if a burden has been removed accompanied by a feeling of joy, when the image relates to an important concern.
These moments of changed perception transform our experience and our lives, clearing a pathway for us to see ourselves and others in a new way. When we act from this inner awareness, the shape of the situation can change instantaneously.
Angeles Arrien has written about a woman reading a newspaper who is brushed by a youth skateboarding. She responds with anger. He goes down the block to talk to a buddy, the two looking at the woman. After a moment, she walks to them and says, "What I meant to say, was I was afraid I might get hurt. I apologize for what I did say." The young man's face lit up and he said "Cool!" In her willingness to be aware of the feeling within herself from which the response came--and then tell the truth, she transformed the situation.
Arrien comments, "The woman chose to shift the shape of her experience by moving out of reactivity into creativity. This kind of shape shifting is possible when we allow ourselves to speak directly from our souls. Part of the business of soul, in fact, is to be a shape-shifter. When we are in touch with the deepest undercurrents of our lives, we have no choice but to act honestly, to speak soulfully. Our soul work is, quite simply, to find and remove whatever gets in the way of our being who we are."
Awareness of our thoughts, impulses and emotions is key to the direction of our spiritual practice. As we watch the conversation in our own heads, we notice what no longer serves us and gain insight to release old ideas and choose new ways of thinking. As long as we are unaware, we will continue to get the same old things, relationships and situations.
Ernest Holmes wrote, "When we are dealing with real Life--thoughts, impulses and emotions--we are dealing with Causation, with original Cause, and we should be most careful how we deal with such powers and forces. In dealing with this subtle power of Mind and Spirit, we are dealing with a fluent force. It is forever taking form and forever deserting the form which it has taken. Thus, don't be confused over any given form, but know any form, not of the original harmony, is subject to change."
It is through our thought that we move from a state consciousness of a personal hell to heaven. When we align our thoughts with the Spirit, we move into heaven. Spirit is Love, Harmony, Peace, Joy and Life. As we think on these things, we begin to experience them in our lives.
Sweet Mystery of Life
Dr. Holmes urged us to be careful in how we deal with real life. Situations of life, birth, love, where and how to live, how to be sick and how to die are all part of the sweet mystery of life. If we deal with them from a psychological method, we see them as problems to solve, instead of part of the wholeness and sweet mystery of life. We are likely to project our belief of unworthiness onto our situation and judge ourselves as failures. Putting these judgements into the creative law creates more negative energy, and also barriers to the very insights that will open the depths of spiritual awareness for us.
Thomas Moore discovered a good way to deal with mysteries, "concentrate on being keenly observant and patient, watching for near-invisible clues, and holding off final judgment about the nature of things until the last possible moment. That's why in spiritual matters contemplation is more advisable than action, and waiting is a special virtue and an art."
When willing to take time, we find Truth awaits us within the process of questioning. By suspending our conclusions and interpretations, we are drawn into questions of what we truly believe.
The word "belief" comes from a Germanic root word meaning "to hold dear." Belief itself, is therefore a form of love. The nature of belief is to grow, change and deepen through the experiences of life. As we learn to love the mystery, we also learn how to live spiritually.
Coming Home to God
The Kabala teaches that God, the Universal Essence, first creates a void by withdrawing Its essence. This is necessary because all there is, is the presence of God, no room for God's individualization. Then, the Divine projects Its energy into the void, as containers of light. The last containers shatter and the fragments are scattered. Our work, as Spiritual Detectives, who are the individualization of the Divine Light, is to gather these fragments together. The very desire of the One is to find a home in the world through us. As we discover the shards of light, the flashes of illumination in our everyday experience, we create that home within ourselves heaven on earth.
As we seek God, God is seeking us.
Our answer to God can be: "Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary. Pure and Holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving, I'll be a living sanctuary for you."
How Does Our Spiritual Work Make a Difference in the World?
These shards are the illumination of our insights as we explore the mystery of our individual life situations. The Bible reveals the method for our search, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so you may discern what is...good and acceptable and perfect."
The way we bring heaven to earth and create the world we want to live in, is in our interactions with each other. As the woman in the first story, created heaven for herself by her conversation with the skateboarder, she also made it available for the youth and he accepted it for himself.
When we align our minds with the thoughts of God, then speak and act from this Truth, we create the opportunity for others to align themselves with Heaven by passing it on in our relationships.
Martin Rutte asked, at the 1999 Association of Global New Thought Conference, "What is the common work of humanity?" His answer was, "To create Heaven on Earth." He asked us to create a new story for humanity, imagining what it would look like for humanity to act as one. Thomas Merton said, "We are already one, but we imagine we are not." So, this work is to begin to realize and speak the Truth of our Oneness. There is a community nature to the Mind of God, for within it is all form and all people. Are we willing to begin to acknowledge this connection we have with each other? Are we willing to recognize our false thoughts of hatred and prejudice, and replace them with the Truth that we are all interconnected in a web of creation? Are we willing to use every situation in our lives for spiritual growth and illumination?
Are we willing, not only to replace thoughts of separation with realization of our oneness, but also to act on this illumination? We are responsible to each other to make our home (the earth) safe. By sharing a sense of community in the world and by each doing our part, we receive the hope and energy to create heaven on earth. By acting in our own individual ways and coming together in new ways collectively, we can change the world.
We can serve Life not because it is broken, but because it is Holy!
Pilgrimage: Spiritual Living
Awareness: Be aware of the conversation in your head. Become a Spiritual Detective, observe with patience, watching for clues while withholding judgment.
Action: Take some action that makes this world safe. Recycle, volunteer, give money to a worthy cause, become involved with life in an area that interests you. Serve Life while being aware that It is holy.
Affirmation: I am a spiritual detective and, with patience and observation, receive the insights and illumination contained within each situation.
REV KRIS COLLINS is Minister of Sanctuary of Spiritual Living, A Science of Mind Center
5446 North Citrus Ave Covina, CA