Monday, June 5, 2017

Living Spiritually

Let us be clear up front. Being spiritual and living spiritually is very hard work. We may seek a spiritual life out of a desire for internal peace, gentleness, comfort, balance and love in our lives. And it is true that spirituality can bring some measure of those qualities into our daily living. But living a spiritual life does not eliminate the disruptions, often painful ones, inherent in being human. It simply provides us with a broader framework of understanding and expression within which these discomforts can be housed and smoothed out.

Living spiritually is highly personal. We are necessarily alone in our spiritual experience, even when supported by the company of others. It is not a “head game” of rules, commandments, history and stories. It is not about following rules or adopting the beliefs of others – though we may choose to accept some of them for the sake of Community. Rather, spirituality is about finding our own truth for ourselves. It is less about “fitting in,” and more about “finding out.”

Living spiritually is willingly following a path of unending questions that receive only temporary answers. Such questions are the means for our pursuit of continually greater understandings about the Universe and our humankind existence. Our questions are deeply individualized to our unique Self, independent of the questions appropriate for others. The answers we get along the way give us the ongoing sustenance needed to continue the journey, like a series of oases in the parched desert. But after each refreshing drink, and some allowed time to savor the moment, we start out again with our next questions. Like Bill Murray’s character in “Groundhog Day,” just when we think we have it nailed down, old answers come back as new questions. So we continually start over again. It is as if we were on a tour bus, self-guided as we explore various stops, but only the driver knows where the next stops will be. Yet we restart willingly – knowing that it truly is the never-completed journey of questioning that matters most, not the illusion of a final destination of answers. Our lack of answers frustrates us only momentarily before it motivates us further. Daily we ask ourselves not just what happened, but what did we learn new?

Living spiritually is allowing our intuitive mind to find full voice and acceptance. Our day is ordinarily ruled by our logical mind in a series of decisions based upon how we have been trained, what we have experienced, and how we have interpreted those experiences (usually inaccurately). Often these decisions have trapped us into a life of repetition or false knowing. Yet when we open to it, our spiritual Self transcends our taught beliefs and misunderstood experiences. It takes us into a world of simply “knowing,” moving us to places we would otherwise not venture. It is a knowing not of what may sound sensible, but of what is truly right for us. In spite of our resistance, or the resistance spoken by others, “something” tells us the direction to go in this moment, and we trust our intuition enough spiritually to follow its lead.

Living spiritually is inherently experiential. It is the embracing of all that comes into our life, fully engaging the joys and the pains that occur, knowing that each can bring us closer to understanding both our humanness and God. Our spiritual practices run in two directions: at times we take the outside world into our being, and allow it to wrap itself around us and deepen the peace and gentleness of our heart. At other times we push our inner Self outward into the world, fulfilling the sense of our passion and joy that cries out for expression. From solitude to connection and back again, our life is a continuing interplay between that which is human and that which is Divine. It is the touching sound of our laughter and our music; the deep seeing of all that has been put in front of us in this earthly experience; the hearing of the messages of the Universe as they speak so clearly to us. It is seeing who we truly are, and then sharing that Self with everyone. By seeing our adult experiences through the innocent eyes and mind of our childhood, we thereby see Creation and Godliness in all that exists, and are openly dumbstruck and overwhelmed by the wonder of it all.

(With appreciation to the Life Long Learning group.)

©   2017   Randy Bell