Spirituality in Everyday Life
The purpose of our spiritual development is not to draw away from the world and everyday life but to live more consciously awake and present with an open heart. This may create a love for the world which gives both meaning, power and lustre to life.
We need time for stillness to be able to feel that life isn´t only existence,
but a gift to be cherished. Day by day.
Some useful methods might be meditation, yoga, prayer, some daily stillness, or initially nothing more than some conscious relaxation. Perhaps with some soft music. Maybe you´d like to use visualization, read a few lines in a special book. You may be too overstrained to permit yourself to relax. Try to go for a walk. Enjoy your quiet moments outdoors and listen consciously to nature.
To be able to live life more wholeheartedly we need to start by going inwards
and look at things from a distance. We need to find out what is really
important. For the person who is totally unaccustomed to listening inwards it
may take some time to get used to the response from inside that quiet moments
give. Don´t expect your quiet moments to give you any particular experience
that you may have heard or read about. Our inner dialogue is unique and so
are our emotions and experiences.
What we need is a sensitive ear, trust and patience.
Meditating, contemplating, or praying in a group can often give a more intense
experience than doing it on your own, especially if you are a beginner. This
is only natural since a stronger field of energy is created. Accordingly it´s
preferable that a few people get together, if possible. Even a small group of
three may be enough.
If you´d like to use particular meditation techniques you should have a teacher or get in touch with a center or school where such techniques are taught. This is important. The purpose of meditation is to bring the mind home.
When starting meditating on your own you should make it as simple as possible. Relaxation and stillness is most important. Anyone who seriously wants to go deeper in his/hers quest will find that some kind of spiritual discipline may lend both form, support and freedom to spiritual development. Spirituality has nothing to do with either hot experiences, magical games or the rules of religions or sects. Spiritual development is totally personal and the spiritual dimension a natural part of everything in our lives.
Many seekers who have covered some ground long for some spiritual continuity in their everyday lives, but find this difficult to achieve. Then what´s most important is to find likeminded people with whom you can talk deeply and heartily. Some have problems integrating spiritual experiences, that have affected them deeply, with everyday routines. They may find these experiences so essentially different from everyday life or from "their old life" that they don´t know how they should fit in.
It also happens that one abandons both friends and family because they haven´t found the same "insights" as oneself. This "newly-redeemed" attitude is often due to the fact that one hasn´t yet found oneself in one´s new role. Everything must take it's time and this is all natural and very human.
Our spiritual development, however, consists of many "breakthroughs" which are not the end, but stages on the way. We may need several of those before reaching a stage where we can accept both ourselves and others the way we are. The pitfalls on the way are many. Not until we let tolerance and understanding become more than mere words will we be able to apply the spiritual ideals in everyday life in a simple and natural way.
In Buddhism there´s a simple sentence that runs "Before enlightenment chopping wood and carrying water - after enlightenment chopping wood and carrying water" and it´s full of insight.
When the deeper questions appear
Life has it´s changes and different periods and now and then we are faced with
the really big questions. Sometimes due to outer events, sometime because of
natural inner development.
A feeling of deeper meaning behind the surface can only be experienced when we allow ourselves time to be in touch with our innermost. But this feeling is not something to be taken for granted, something that may not be questioned, even by the spiritually conscious person. A person in conscious spiritual development isn´t free from inner or outer conflicts, on the contrary, but he/she is aware of them and willing to do something about them. The religious scriptures also describe doubt, darkness and despair.
It takes courage to live consciously, to dare to see, feel and act out of one´s heart. Most of the time we live screened off to be able to "cope with reality". We don´t have the strenght to absorb everything or to become engaged. We create a "bubble" around us. Unfortunately this bubble may also make us feel very lonely. So we need to find our way back out into the world and the only way goes through the heart and it´s not painless. To live fully is daring to live through light and darkness, happiness and sorrow. Light and darkness succeed each other according to both cosmic and physical laws.
The almost hysterical hunt for happiness in our society, with a fear of anything that might challenge it, is not altogether sound. A deep, genuine, positive attitude to life can only be built from within and we need to strengthen it during our whole life through all the changes that come with life development.
A spiritual perspective on life is invaluable. Trust in a meaningful universe helps us to see seemingly unsuremontable problems in a new perspective. If we can imagine that our problems may help us to grow and develop, that they have some kind of meaning, they´ll be easier to deal with. Then we don´t have to repress them or flee from them either.
Life is a gift to be cherished. Day by day. One day at a time.Upp