Blogging as a Spiritual Practice

August 29, 2011

When I began this blog four years ago, I had no idea what it would come to mean to me. Indeed, I had no idea what a blog should be, how to do one, what I would say. Looking back on this experience, I can see now that it has been a spiritual practice for me. Sometimes, I was faithful and regular, other times erratic. I have “quit” more than once, only to find that I missed this practice.

One of the books I return to again and again is Everyday Spiritual Practice: Simple Pathways for Enriching Your Life, edited by Scott W. Alexander. There is something compelling to me about the idea of consistent practice (of anything, really), since I have always felt that my attempts at practice (whether spiritual, physical, mental or otherwise) were jerky and on-again, off-again. Just look at my previous posts about exercise and health: such good intentions, so little follow-through!

But this blog keeps on going like the Energizer bunny, if in fits and starts. And it has helped me understand at a deeper level that imperfection is our nature, that we fall down and get up again and again in this life, and that’s OK. Every day is a new opportunity to realize our vision of what living a full life can be. And every day we will get only partway there–that is,  if we have any forward movement at all. Let us practice living as though this day is our last on this earth, and as if we will live forever.


The Energizing Spirit

August 28, 2010

Nothing is secure but life, transition, and the energizing spirit. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lately, I am keenly aware that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, not the other way around. I am not my body. I am not my emotions. I am not my personality. When I remember this, the energizing spirit fills me with joy. There is no separation between the spiritual and the material, between mind and body, between the earth and the sky, between you and me.

Roy Eugene Davis (founder and director of Center for Spiritual Awareness in Lakemont, Georgia) says: “Come to terms with the fact that you are in relationship with life for a purpose. Find out what that purpose is and fulfill it. You will then fulfill your spiritual destiny. Merely to be inclined to drift with the tides of circumstances, or to focus on satisfying petty personal desires and whims, is to waste the precious opportunity living in this world provides. There is no better place than where we are to learn our lessons and to awaken and express our spiritual capacities.” And I would add, no better time than now.

What is your experience with the energizing spirit?


Grace

February 16, 2008

The winds of grace are blowing all the time; you have only to raise your sail.  ~Sri Ramakrishna

I have always loved this quote, pointing as it does to the sea we swim in, but of which we are usually oblivious. After listening to The Power of Now, I am interpreting “raising one’s sail” as being present–without resistance–in order to experience unity with all that is, enlightenment, or “the winds of grace.” Tolle says that surrender, acceptance of what is, doesn’t mean we have to give up doing, but gives us clarity about what needs to be done, and I have found this to be true.

It is so refreshing to hear that direct perception, (consciousness, feeling) is as critical as thinking in our mind-dominated Western world. I’m the first to disagree with (uh-oh, mind identification!) those who would dismiss reason in the affairs of the world, but I do know that my mind will not get me to a state of grace, enlightenment, unity. Judging, thinking that we are separate from all that is (ego-identification) is destructive for us and for our planet. Tolle cautions that once we take a position, we have identified with an impermanent form, have created a resistance to what is that blocks our natural flow of energy.

So raising one’s sail to the winds of grace occurs through experiencing the now with full consciousness, Eckhart might say. Have you had such moments of spiritual connectedness? 


Now

February 14, 2008

When you have a disease, do not try to cure it–find your center and you will be healed.  ~Tao proverb

I can now highly recommend Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. I have listened to about 3/4 of the audiobook, and now I am planning to buy the print edition.  Read it and learn why humankind is insane, and why we must individually and collectively save ourselves by learning to be present in the now. Instead of talking about how when we come to die, we need to have lived, Tolle talks about the importance of having already “died” (as an ego, a form), so that we understand that there is no death.

It is the wisdom of the ages, if only we could hear and practice it. There is no present or future, only now. It doesn’t mean we cease to plan or set goals, it just means we fully experience the present as it occurs, without mental reference to past or future.  We step out of time and do not resist what is.

I started this blog on August 12, 2007, by speculating that mindfulness was the key to “God, the universe and everything.” Now I am convinced of that. It is no coincidence that mindfulness is the largest tag on my tag cloud!

Mindfulness may be the antithesis of thinking, however; it is awareness of being in the body, of the emotions as manifestations of thought. Transformation is through the body, not away from it, says Tolle. Going within and focusing on the inner energy field of your body helps you stay grounded, still and rooted.


Singing

January 5, 2008

I know nothing; still, I cannot help singing.  ~A. R. Ammons

This has been a favorite line of mine for a very long time. I don’t remember where I ran across it, since I don’t think I’ve read Ammons’ poetry. (There’s something I need to do!) The line, to me, is perfect, though.

While it is not literally about singing, the line reminds me that I miss singing. For several years I sang in the local UU church choir. Although I don’t consider myself to have a particularly good singing voice, I can mostly carry a tune, was tolerated in the alto section, and loved doing it. I’m always hesitant to become part of group effort (I chafe at the social and political aspects), but there is something about making music with others that is spiritually satisfying.

For at least a couple of decades in my younger life, I was almost always conscious of a tune underneath my breath. I think I sang my way through a lot of hard times, comforting myself with that inaudible head music. But at some point, I realized it was no longer there, and I can’t say why. Do I just not need the comfort anymore?

I want to sing again.