The love thy neighbor types
In my experience, spirituality is a deeply personal process-one that is to be experienced and practiced rather than read about and preached. I always hesitate to use the word God because it carries certain connotations and everyone automatically assumes you’re talking God in the classic Christian context. That’s not what I mean at all-though to be fair I hold Jesus in a similar regard that I hold the Buddha. I think they lived, I think they were connected to something greater than themselves, and I think they showed us all there is a path to connection with this something greater.
Living in Texas, I have a lot of Christian friends and acquaintances, and I love them. Real “love thy neighbor” types who exemplify the best of what those traditions have to offer. Still, for me, having grown up in the Catholic Church, my personal spirituality lies somewhere else. I wish I had a church to go to (the Unitarian Universalists are close, but not quite it for me), but I’m lucky I have a sangha to sit and meditate with, to practice connection. Anyway, my point is this:
There are many ways to know and experience God, or whatever you want to call it. People who have a personal practice, who take time every day to connect to this thing (which is greater than any of us), have a much better understanding of love and compassion and the depths of the human experience, than people who just repeat what they read in a book or get told every week at mass.
On the other side of the hall, are those who are stuck in a trap where they believe they themselves are the greatest force on this earth. The sort of “what I see is what is real” view that doesn’t take into account that there are infinite things we cannot see, yet are inherently true. We are each but a small piece of the greater picture. The average life can be very self centered but it’s missing the point: there is a greater Self than the ego self. There is a Self that is loving no matter what, compassionate and peaceful. There is a Self that is guided by what others might call God, or universal oneness, or nature or whatever you want to call it.
We all have a greatness inside of us. We all have a connection to each other. We all come from God, or the mother, or the universe, or…well, something. The best we can do is stay open hearted and willing to love and learn.
Find your spiritual practices. Design your day to revolve around this greater good. Ask yourself questions often such as:
How can this help me love more deeply?
How can this bring me closer to God, or to my own version of spirituality?
How can I practice radical love?
My dear friends I hope you are all well. I hope that whatever your vision of something greater is helps you live a meaningful, joyful life.