Thursday, February 22, 2018

Spiritual Journey

I started taking an interest in my spiritual life decades ago. Once I made the commitment, there was no going back.

When I first started, my interest was huge, followed by a long dry spell when I forgot about it all. Then something a while later caught my interest and I explored some more.

It seemed to come in cycles. Interest built again and then receded again, like waves washing to shore with a natural rhythm. Yet over time, the ups and downs stabilized, the dips seemed less intense and lasted for less time while the upsurges lasted longer as I adjusted and found joy more easily. One of the happiest insights I found about the journey is that when I really feel stuck - even despairing, it's an indication that things are already on the rise again. It means the deepest dark is behind me and I am more in touch with the spiritual voice calling me home.

Over millennia, saints and masters have suggested things we can do to help us move ahead in our spiritual journeys. Here are a few of their ideas, processes and techniques:
  • be in the moment - it's the only thing that's real
  • develop awareness
  • be kind
  • appreciate what we have - even the little joys
  • take time regularly for prayer, reflection or meditation
  • surround ourselves with work, activities and people that reflect our inner values
  • quit the blame game
  • listen to our inner wisdom
  • learn humility - disassemble the conceit of ego
  • accept both good and bad fortune - life never goes according to plan
  • trust that we are being led to grace
One thing to remember though. It's not me that calls all the shots. I can incline myself in this direction and take whatever steps may work well for me, but in the end this is about more than just me. If I am drawn to a spiritual life, it is spirit calling to me as much as me calling to spirit.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Circling the Wagons

A potential client told me that she liked my website. Then she asked me before placing an order if I believed in God.

I don't remember what I answered her. It's a loaded question intended to place me thoroughly inside or thoroughly outside her circle. She needed to vet me as acceptable or unacceptable.

That's lazy thinking, but I can understand it.

When we are stressed or overworked, it's easier to read the tl;dr version or just scan the headline without reading the piece, even when we lose something important by taking the shortcut. When feeling helpless or vulnerable, we use whatever strategies we have on hand to cope. And that can include circling the wagons around our values, beliefs and associations. Safety in numbers - or something.

Perhaps one day she'll slip one toe outside her circle to see if life has something better for her. Perhaps she did when she looked at my website. Perhaps not. She arrived at her position honestly. To give up everything takes tremendous strength and courage and a willingness to be wrong. She could be putting not just her way of life at risk, but perhaps her livelihood, family and friendships, too.

I don't lose hope though. She may not have stuck her toe outside that circle, but she looked over it.

Now, as for her question: do I believe in God? Have a look at my website and decide for yourself.

First published March 2018 in my free monthly email newsletter, Starry Night. Sign up here.