Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Looking Outside, Seeing Inside

For most people, their spirituality is anchored in one particular spiritual home.  A religion, a particular church/congregation, a specific dogma or spiritual philosophy.  In the majority of instances, this home is the one they were born into, passed along by their parents along with the other inherited hand-me-downs.  Later in life, some leave that familial spiritual home and either go into the blank canvass of no spiritual life, or convert to some other spiritual home.  Maybe to a new home just next door, or perhaps to a home far away from the original family homestead.  A conversion perhaps stimulated by a disappointment in one’s current place, a marriage and a new life partner, an intellectual outreach, or a set of enticing spiritual experiences.

In the end, it really does not matter where you end up calling home, as long as it enhances your connection with Spirit and the Universe, and brings out the better person of you.  Having spiritual companions who walk a similar path, however, helps to keep you moving forward when your energy may be lacking.  Having a structured set of spiritual ideas to explore, ideas from one of the Ancient Masters or a contemporary teacher, can help point out the direction to proceed at the many inevitable spiritual intersections we encounter.  Having an established ritual can give us a supportive form within which to express our spiritual self, often comfortably linked back to a tradition thousands of years old.

Companions, teachings, and ritual can provide a powerful tripartite framework for our spiritual pursuit.  On the condition that we truly enter into these by genuinely informed choice, not by an unquestioning default to our past-or-present cultural surroundings.  True spirituality is not fixed.  It is a constant quest for deeper understanding, a continual self-questioning of our truth, a changing view through our spiritual eyes.  And sometimes we have to go outside of our spiritual home and then look back in order to see more fully what is housed inside.

For the spiritually restless, it may be necessary to look back from several vantage points in order to see the full landscape.  To go to the absolutely unfamiliar in order to see where one has truly been.  From such an unfamiliar place, the old neighborhood can be seen afresh.  It is by laying our beliefs open to contrasting views that real Truth can be discovered.  It is by questioning our beliefs, and working through those questions to find answers, that we deepen our faith and understand it more fully, more genuinely.  Questioning our faith, like questioning our understanding of our Self, does not negate our faith.  It affirms it.  Even if our specifics may change as a result.

For me, my spiritual home is a camp tent that picks up and moves with me each day.  That journey has led to some very interesting, challenging, difficult and rewarding places.  A journey to greater themes and messages from God’s blessed Teachers.  Abraham teaches me to know only one God, but an infinite God that encompasses all things.  Jesus teaches me about the love of God, and how to reciprocate that love back to God and to share it with others.  Buddha teaches me how to know myself, and know the world around me, and how to live properly within that knowledge.  Lao-Tzu teaches me that there is a natural flow and rhythm in Life – God, Universe, Nature – and to live in harmony and sync with that flow.  Muhammad teaches me to surrender my will and my being completely to God, and to follow the teachings of the Ancients in fulfillment and commitment to God.  Moses teaches me to live in community, in a society informed by God.  And from all of this, God teaches me Life, Love, Fulfillment and the Understanding of all of Creation – an expansive Creation that is endless and continuous.

Build your spiritual home where you may choose.  But shape that home through the questioning prism of many different angles.  Our life is constantly moving.  Whether we stay on one path or take many different turns, our spirituality must always move alongside in accompaniment to that journey.  We ground our being in our spiritual feet, but they move upon constantly shifting ground.  If our spiritual GPS has always said “turn right,” then we should on occasion try turning Left.  We may be surprised that an unfamiliar route still brings us safely back home again.

©  2014   Randy Bell              www.OurSpiritualWay.blogspot.com


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading this message about our spiritual home. Often I used to ponder the location of my spiritual home ... Gratefully I have found this knowing.

Anonymous said...

On a small scale, I experienced what you write about, when in my 50's I visited the southern Baptist church of my youth (which I had fled) and saw it through "new eyes." The ah-ha for me was that those caring people who really loved God had always been there, but I had to do some growing up spiritually before I could recognize that.