Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘spiritual practice’ Category

John Keats asked the question, “How then are souls to be made?” He wasn’t referring to how our soul is originally created, but how it is brought into its fullness of being. He knew that the soul is a “spark” of Divine creation. The question was, “How then are these sparks which are God to have identity given them—so as ever to possess a bliss peculiar to each one’s individual existence?” Our soul is a work in progress, and this life is designed to assist it in reaching its fruition. We are placed in this physical setting, with all its contradictions and oppositions, so our soul doesn’t have all green lights on its eternal journey. There are some yellow lights and some red lights along the way; then the green lights follow. Developing an identity can become a very confusing matter. Knowing who we are is not meant to come easy.

Soul-making is what happens when we live life deeply, and learn by heart the lessons intended from all the conflicts and struggles encountered here. As Keats says, “How [are souls to be made], but by the medium of a world like this?… Do you not see how necessary a World of Pains and troubles is to school an Intelligence and make it a soul?  A Place where the heart must feel and suffer in a thousand diverse ways!” Or, as Thomas Moore puts it, “The whole world and all of life are nothing but the raw materials for soul-making.” There you have it. We’re here to learn from everything we encounter.

A 48th way to explore your soul’s story – Could it be that who we really are is linked directly to where we came from? Beyond all the here-and-now stuff of our lives, we all come from a common origin, someplace deeper and longer-lasting than this surface level existence. Beyond the daily, mundane events of our lives, we all also have an eternal soul. How has your soul’s journey through this physical quagmire given you your lasting identity? How has living deeply, learning from life’s intended lessons “by heart,” given you a sense of certitude in who you are and what your purpose is? How has your heart’s sufferings contributed to your changeless identity? Think about all the pains and troubles of your life, as well as the joys and successes, and tell the story of how the raw materials of the world have been a leaven for soul-making for you.

Read Full Post »

On this National Day of Service and Remembrance, nine years already since 9/11, and one year since I began this blog to explore ways we can remember who we are deep within us, we may still wonder how far we have come in uniting the great divide between us.

A little service to others goes a long way in helping us remember who we are and how much we are all connected. Stepping into the wounds of loss, separation, and grief with acts of altruism and selflessness leads to healing and reconciliation. Service can be the first step toward peace, both within and in the world. Service is prayer made visible. As Abdu’l-Baha said, “Service to humanity is service to God.” What will you do this day to serve and to remember?

A 39th way to review your life story – In your own place of quiet, where you can reflect deeply, ask yourself these questions about service. What does service mean to me? How does service fit into my life, now and in the future? In 5, 10, or 20 years from now, what will I have done with my life that is most satisfying? What will I have contributed to the world that will be my greatest source of happiness? What strengths and capacities will I build upon, and what weakness will I overcome, to be of service in this way? What do I need to do, or change in my life, today that would enable me to carry this out? Take as much time as you need to put all your thoughts on this down in a way that sounds and feels right to you, tell this story in your own voice, and post it here for others to benefit from, if you would like to.

Read Full Post »

At the heart of our quest for understanding life are three questions: “Where have I come from?” “What am I doing here?” and “Where am I going?” The mystery of our origin, purpose, and destiny is intricately tied to the nature of the soul. The world’s sacred traditions have always provided answers to these mysteries of life.

Beyond this, it now seems that we are hardwired to remember where we came from and where we are going. Remembrance is a meditation that leads to a deeper reality. It is the conscious effort of reflecting on and listening to our own eternal thoughts that connect us to the heart of the universe. As our remembrance expands, our consciousness, our view of the world and our place in it, leads us to greater action in the world. Remembrance is a stepping-stone to spiritual transformation. As a regular practice, remembrance helps us remain conscious of who we are as sacred beings.

A 37th way to review your life story – Meditate on these sacred writings: “The spirit returns to God who gave it.” “What is unseen is eternal.” “All things proceed from God and unto to Him they return.”

Keeping your focus on the sacred, try to find, as Bede Griffiths did, that “window” in your consciousness where you “can look out into eternity” and “see the world as it really is” where “all is one, united in a single vision of being.”

Be thankful for the ability to remember; to remember who you are, where you came from, where you are going, and most of all for remembering that God’s love brought you into being. Be grateful for the gift of your soul, your link to the Imperishable.

Take a moment to remember all the gifts you’ve ever received as often as you can. Take twenty minutes of focused time out of your busy day, each day, to remember all those things that are most important to you, and to let go of the unimportant, so that you remain in touch with your essence. Remember to honor both your joys and your sorrows in your life, because both are what provide your life with its greatest meaning.

Keep up this practice of remembrance regularly. Ask yourself each day these questions: Am I me? Am I in my everyday life who I am at the core of my being? Am I in the process everyday of fulfilling my own potential? And if you ever find yourself answering no to any of them, then ask yourself: What else do I need to be doing to be fully me? With this regular practice, you won’t have worry about needing to rush to answer these questions at the end of your life.

Read Full Post »

The ancient legends shedding light on the unborn soul tell us that we already know where we came from and where we are going. The part of us that always remembers, that always lives in close proximity to God, is called the “secret soul” in the Sufi tradition. What we seek is within us, as the sacred traditions also affirm. Our remembrance of this would fundamentally change us and transform all our relationships into relationships of authenticity, respect, and compassion.

The great mystic poets knew, ultimately, that remembrance links us to the spirit we all possess, which links us to each other, as well. Rumi puts it this way:

“What I tell about “me” I tell about you

The walls between us long ago burned down

This voice seizing me is your voice

Burning to speak to us of us.”

Walt Whitman says:

“I celebrate myself;

And what I assume you shall assume;

For every atom belonging to me, as good belongs to you.”

The practice of remembrance leads us from the depths of ourselves to the heart of our deeper connection with others. Remembering our true origin, identity, and destiny leads us ultimately to the service of humanity, through our own deeds and actions that benefit others.

A 36th way to review your life story – What secrets does your soul have to tell you? What is already within you that might lead you beyond yourself? How could remembering what is within you transform the relationships you already have and even those you don’t yet know you have? Reflect and meditate on these questions, asking your soul what it knows about the walls between us that are not really there, about the voice that is the voice of all of us, that burns to speak to us of us. How does every atom that belongs to you also belong to everyone? If you would like to, share this story that your soul tells you with us all here.

Read Full Post »

Transcendence and remembrance are two halves of a whole process. Remembrance, the conscious effort of reflecting on and listening to our thoughts, in prayer or meditation, helps us to achieve transcendence. Transcendence helps us remember more of what we once knew, as unborn souls having come from an eternal realm. As a regular practice, remembrance can help us become and remain conscious of who we are as spiritual beings, how we see ourselves in the world, and how everyday events and circumstances affect and influence us. Consciousness is a unique characteristic of the self, and is the key to both transcendence and remembrance.

As souls born into physical bodies, we may be meant to go beyond what is not only most familiar to us, but to seek that which we truly are, at our inner most essence. And this process has been a very long time in the works, matter transcending into mind, and the powers of the mind transcending to a consciousness of spirit. Just imagine what else might be possible as we continue to add more and more levels of consciousness to our transcendent nature.

A 35th way to review your life story – As a way of remembering more of what you once knew, try to listen to your thoughts in a way you may not have done before. Try to reflect deeply not just on the events themselves, but on the feelings or emotions they evoke. Pick out a specific experience, incidence, circumstance, or situation from your life, and in meditation on it, see if you can take yourself beyond what is most familiar to you about that particular situation by looking at it from the perspective of the soul, the part of you that is on an eternal journey, so that you enter into a new realm of consciousness about it. How does this focused practice of reflective, meditative remembrance expand your consciousness of who you are as a spiritual being? After you’ve had enough time to reflect on this new consciousness of a moment in your life, tell the story of your deeper remembrance and transcendence, and share it here for others to enjoy, as well.

Read Full Post »

Through our various spiritual traditions, we have a variety of practices designed to guide us to, and keep us focused on, an awareness of the pervasiveness of the sacred: yoga, the Eightfold Path, the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, the Five Pillars, and many other rituals and ceremonies. They all involve regular, even daily, ways to draw our attention to the sacred.

At the heart of most spiritual practice, what is left when we move beyond form, constricting language, and what may be for some the stiffness of the prescriptions, as Wayne Muller has said, is simply remembering. Remember who you are. Remember what you love. Remember what is sacred. Remember what is true. Remember that you will die, and that this day is a gift. Remember how you wish to live, and that you will return to where you came from.

Remembering these things on a regular basis will keep our focus on the sacred, on the spiritual aspect of life. This is where we will find our greatest comfort, the healing of our ills, and the love that we will most cherish. One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is finding the practice, simple or otherwise, that will help us remember who we are, what we do know, and what we do not yet remember that we know. It can be meditation, prayer, writing, singing, walking, even the mundane routines of life. Having such a means to keep our focus, a simple act that helps center us into a remembrance of what we already know is sacred and beautiful, is essential to our spiritual growth. Simple acts of remembrance greatly enrich our spiritual life.

A 34th way to review your life story – What draws you to whatever is personally sacred to you? What one practice has most helped you remember who you are? What keeps you on a path that leads you to your spiritual essence? Where do you find your greatest comfort, your deepest love? What keeps you focused on what matters most to you? Reflect on these questions, and put your responses into a flowing narrative that tells the story of how simple acts of remembrance enrich your spiritual life. Share that story here for others to learn from.

Read Full Post »