In the previous sensory balance post we completed a four-part exploration of how the second of our four inner senses—vitality—helps us imbue our experiences with meaning. We now turn our attention to the third inner sense with the first of two posts on our sense of spirituality.
Spirituality: I believe and trust. My life is a purpose-filled journey, not a destination. I am more than I appear to be.
I repeat here a point I have made throughout this book: I provide specifics from my own life and experience. They serve as illustrations to inspire you to find your personal path to wholeness. My specifics are not prescriptions. Nowhere is that more true than when I share my thoughts on spirituality. To keep the writing simple and smooth, I will not preface every statement with the qualifier, “I believe.” I respect all spiritual paths based in love, whether they use the word God or not. I benefit from all of them. Because you have chosen to read my book, I assume you are interested in knowing my particular perspective. Here goes!
Spirituality is about believing there is more to life than what we experience through our five outer senses. That there is more to everyone and everything than we are seeing, touching, hearing, smelling, and tasting in any given moment.
Spirituality and religion are not necessarily the same thing. For some people, participation in a form of organized religion is part of how they demonstrate their spirituality. For others, it’s not. If you are one of those who carry painful memories of abuse you received in the name of religion, I invite you to free yourself from those painful memories now. Recognize that any damage inflicted was fueled by the perpetrator’s fear. Spirituality is about love and endless possibilities; it is not about fear or lack. Choose love, embrace the possibilities of spirituality, and release with love and light any past pain you received in the name of religion. Please do not keep reinjuring yourself and limiting your world by continuing to rehash past injustices. Many who have let go of that painful past relationship with religion and have embraced a broader sense of loving spirituality have found their way home to a spiritual practice that better aligns with their definition of spirituality based in love.
God is not a four-letter word. Though some advisors warned me that using that word or its synonyms in this book might limit the marketability of my message, I have opted for authenticity. Please do not get hung up on a specific label. There are many names for this Force, because It is beyond words. I use a variety of labels: God, Source, the Divine, Higher Power, Universe, Life Force, Creative Power, and Spirit, to name a few. The reality of God is so large, It transcends the limitations of any name or description I could conceive of. Substitute whatever label resonates most powerfully for you.
God is everywhere, within and without, always paying attention, always fully engaged with everyone and everything, and smart enough to know when whatever we’re thinking or saying concerns Him/Her/It/Them. Thankfully, God is not dependent on us getting the words just right. God already knows it all. We are the ones who are figuring it out. Because God transcends time and space, nothing can limit Its power, including human constructs such as perceived barriers of language, belief, denomination, or spiritual institution. Though we sometimes elect to limit and separate ourselves through fear-based thinking, we are always one with everyone and everything, even when we choose not to remember or experience that good gift.
The great spiritual teachers did not come to earth as exceptions; they came as examples. They didn’t come to say, “I’m It, and you’re not.” They came to say, “I’m It, and so are you!” They came to show us a larger way of being, what’s possible when we free ourselves from fear and claim our birthright of love, creativity, wisdom, and power. Because God is love, there is no fear or scarcity when I remember that I am sourced in God. My Source is excellent, limitless, and reliable. I know who I am and Whose I am: a unique and precious cocreative expression of the Divine. To honor them and because you may also find their teachings supportive on your journey, in the appendix of this book, I have included a selected list of the spiritual elders who have touched my life profoundly in recent years.
Prayer is not about begging God to care enough about me to help me or do it my way. God’s full power and complete presence are available to each of us 24-7. A lack of interest on God’s part is not the problem. Our fear-based limiting beliefs are the only blocks to living all of God’s power and presence in each moment. Prayer and meditation are about being aware of when I have drifted off center, remembering who I am and Whose I am, realigning myself with the highest good, and recognizing where my chosen fear-based limiting beliefs are keeping me frightened, trapped, and small. It’s about transforming that fear back into its Source Energy of limitless love and then expanding my presence to encompass all that is possible when I’m centered in that love.
A great spiritual teacher once said, “I have so much to do today, if I hope to accomplish everything on my list, I must meditate twice as long.” In contrast, most of us are more inclined to say, “I have so much to do today, there’s no way I have time for meditation or anything else!” I used to say that myself until I figured out that I have all the time I need for the things that matter. My only responsibility in each moment is to discern what matters most right now, to focus, and to follow through. People from spiritual traditions throughout the world have long reported that regular meditation results in greater efficiency, productivity, and prosperity. It amplifies the benefits of living in a state of generous, effortless, gracious flow grounded in who you are being not what you are doing.
Mindfulness and meditation are important elements in keeping myself centered and aligned with Source Energy. Paying attention and breathing. Any activity or lack of activity is meditative and restorative when I set an intention that it be so. Singing, walking, washing dishes, scooping cat litter, or doing absolutely nothing. While I sometimes engage in structured formal forms, meditation does not have to last for hours and involve uncomfortable postures to have a constructive effect. It just needs to happen, early and often. You will find a lengthier discussion of my thoughts on meditation in the appendix, including one of my favorite formal practices: written meditation, more commonly referred to as journaling. It also contains an overview of the free Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience™ programs and a piece entitled, “Tonglen,” which outlines a simplified form of Tonglen meditation.
The next post will share more thoughts on the sense of spirituality.