Wednesday, 17 February 2016
How much spirituality do we need?
Lent 2016: Day Eight
For some of us, there is no spiritual quest, there are no longings for the metaphysical. Life is focused on earning money and making our way in society. Externally we may all look the same, but matters spiritual are deeply hidden. Intelligence isn't the clue here, nor is gregariousness; it is something intangible. It is about how some people feel a strong urge to make sense of it all and to seek communion with the Eternal Sublime. How often though? How intense is that need?
Devout people may have daily rituals around prayer at set times. But how often do they genuinely feel that they have engaged in meaningful contact with the metaphysical? Some indeed will have, and do so frequently. But for others - the ritual brings comfort, rather than a genuine spiritual insight.
This is not about religion or being religious. Some go to church each week, but they do so because they feel that one should go, rather than this being an active form of seeking contact with God, a chance to enter an exalted state of existence.
Prayer is a two-way communication with God; it requires a sincerity and an openness to the return channel. It can happen when you create the right conditions - a calm mind unfocused on the worldly, a readiness to listen to that inner voice. Some people need ritual for this to happen, familiar magic words that open the door to a spiritual state. Others can let their consciousness attain that state readily. Is it hard work? Or should it come spontaneously to those who reach out and seek? How much spirituality do we need?
For me, such moments are rare, but as I get older, they become ever so slightly more frequent. But I am aware of this being a lifelong quest for enlightenment, a spiritual journey on one short stretch along the infinitely long road from Zero to One. Moments when one stops short with an insight that amazes, that casts new light on life. But always - more questions than answers. Not just questions of logic, based on scientific reductionism - "yes, but by what mechanisms does this happen?" The deepest questions that our consciousnesses need answers to revolve around purpose.
Spiritual evolution is key. Those of us who actively seek growth, seeking a closer connection with Unity, can do this in tiny steps. Progress is slow and hardly tangible, and yet is there. Away from the beast, towards the angelic. It begins from understanding your biology and rising above it. The base, the furious reptile brain, driven by the most primordial of motivations. A calm, clear awareness of the span of life, from birth, development to maturity - and in maturity a life focused on continuous improvement. From that first moment in which one is conscious of being conscious.
Sitting here and writing, I know there is a long, long way to go. So many profound insights that need to be experienced, studied, understood instinctively and communicated. The Lenten time is one in which I focus more intently on matters spiritual, but not to the exclusion of the remaining seven-eights of the year.
Should we be spending every moment of our waking life in pursuit of spiritual goals? Probably not. Sometimes, these things come to us, an if we try too hard, they evaporate before us. Better let chance intervene and take its course. The middle way between trying too hard, and not trying at all.
This time three years ago:
The Chosen Ones
This time four years ago:
Fixies in the snow
This time seven years ago:
Just the ticket (in praise of Warsaw's 20-minute bus/tram/metro ticket)