Tuesday, May 3, 2016

SPIRITUAL EXPLORATIONS – 128

This is the daily exploration for Saturday, May 7, 2016.
WE ARE EXPLORING THE PRACTICE OF DEVOTION



+ Devotion means prayer and lots of it and in many forms. You need to find a way of praying that works for you. Your devotion helps others the most when it is helping you become more holy, more authentic, more compassionate. Don’t be deceived or misled by people who want you to pray their way. What works for them may not work for you. We live in a time when it makes sense to search for a path which is most meaningful and joyful for you.

For many of us this means renewing our commitment to the path of our ancestors. For me, this is the path of Christ. For many of you, this is the path of Christ. But this path is not for everyone and that’s OK. Too many Christians have believed that their path is the only way to be saved. It is a powerful way but there are others.

I subscribe fully to the motto of my particular tradition: “Reformed and always being reformed.”  Following Christ means being open to change, to “doing a new thing,” to experimenting and even expanding to include rituals and practices from the other wisdom traditions and creating new rituals and practices. Blending the old and the new, the comfortable and the uncomfortable. It’s all about making your traditions work in a world where we now know so many other great traditions.

So, my devotion includes practices not associated with the path of Christ in the past. I am even willing to reject certain Christian practices as my discernment and the discernment of others finds fault in some practices. If the common good of all humanity and all creation is not promoted, I cannot and will not participate in that kind of exclusion and insensitivity.

This means I am devoted to the path of Christ which is radically open to embracing other paths. I call this The New Faith for the New Earth. I believe that this is the “new thing” God is doing now. This is the path for me and for many. We are creating something new now. I believe that The New Faith for the New Earth is essential because the old faith for the old earth is leading us to destruction. We must devote ourselves to the New Faith even as we remain devoted to many traditional practices. This is daunting and exciting. Are you with me?

+ Spirituality & Practice offers many resources on the spiritual practice of Devotion.  You can explore even more with this link to “Devotion” on their search engine. You will find 2153 items as of 4/26/16.  And, of course, there is a Twelves Gallery of Memes on Devotion.  The Body also gets a lot of attention from S&P as you can see if you go to this link to “Body” on their search engine. You will find 1611 items as of 4/26/16.

+ I would love it if you offered a guest post on this practice or any practice.  And, I have work to do on my Devotion page.   Maybe you can help.  Send an email with the subject “Devotion” or “Guest Post” to John@abundancetrek.com.

+ You can always find a link to any of the Spiritual Explorations posts by going to http://abundancetrek.com/sepostsaccess.html

SPIRITUAL EXPLORATIONS – 127

This is the daily exploration for Friday, May 6, 2016.
WE ARE EXPLORING THE PRACTICE OF DEVOTION


+ When fate arrives at your door, there is no lock strong enough to hold it back. It may find you asleep, unprepared, too busy, or defiant, but these states are not a deterrent. Destiny does not wait for your mood to change. When the time is ripe, the rite of passage begins. …

“This is known as the call and it comes in many forms. It may begin as a restless dissatisfaction with your daily life, or a deep depression. It may result from a churning in your gut over the daily news, or an inspiring story told to you by a friend. It may come from a tragic loss, or an unexpected boon. But however the call finds its way into your private chambers, it changes the course of your life.
-- Anodea Judith in Awakening the Global Heart

+ As a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church USA, I experienced  and continue to experience a strong sense of being called to ministry.  But I think Anodea Judith is talking about specific calls to action in areas of life where we can sense we are needed and wanted.  In recent years I have narrowed this down to a belief that humanity is engaged in an evolutionary leap which I am calling The New Faith for the New Earth.  Our mission is to create more Compassion, Peace, Justice and Sustainable Abundance.  I intend to keep writing about it, learning about it, promoting it and sharing ideas with colleagues like you.  

A specific new sense of call for me is now coming to fruition: becoming an InterSpirituality Mentor, certified by the Spiritual Paths Institute.  I need to become more committed to the wonderful work associated with The Charter for Compassion so closely associated with Karen Armstrong who has devoted herself to collaboration and reconciliation among the religions of the planet. Also, I need to find ways to increase my commitment to Sustainable Abundance because our earthly paradise is facing environmental catastrophe if we don’t act boldly ASAP. 

What is changing “the course of your life” these days?
 
+ Spirituality & Practice offers many resources on the spiritual practice of Devotion.  You can explore even more with this link to “Devotion” on their search engine. You will find 2153 items as of 4/26/16.  And, of course, there is a Twelves Gallery of Memes on Devotion.  The Body also gets a lot of attention from S&P as you can see if you go to this link to “Body” on their search engine. You will find 1611 items as of 4/26/16.

+ I would love it if you offered a guest post on this practice or any practice.  And, I have work to do on my Devotion page.   Maybe you can help.  Send an email with the subject “Devotion” or “Guest Post” to John@abundancetrek.com.

+ You can always find a link to any of the Spiritual Explorations posts by going to http://abundancetrek.com/sepostsaccess.html

SPIRITUAL EXPLORATIONS – 126

This is the daily exploration for Thursday, May 5, 2016.
WE ARE EXPLORING THE PRACTICE OF DEVOTION



+ Abba Poemen said about Abbot Pior that every single day he made a fresh beginning.
-- Yushi Nomura, Desert Wisdom: Sayings from the Desert Fathers

+ When you think you've arrived, you realize you've come all this way just to prepare yourself to begin again.
-- Sarah Ban Breathnach

+ The whole course of the spiritual life is falling off, and returning, slipping away from the truth and turning back to it, leaving and returning.
 -- Henri J.M. Nouwen in Home Tonight

+ Be soft in your practice...It will find the grooves, the cracks, the crevices. Just follow it. Never let it out of your sight.
-- Sheng-yen

+ Devotion means staying with it even when the going gets rough. And it does. And it will. But if you have tasted the bliss of stillness, silence and solitude, then you know that continued effort to practice, practice, practice is worth it.

Bliss will always be fleeting unless you devote yourself to becoming your Real Self which is something like being the Real Universe. Yes, Real You, Real Universe. When the walls come tumbling down you know who you really are: fantastic, wonderful, compassionate, just, peaceful, content, satisfied, connected.

So, begin again. 

+ Spirituality & Practice offers many resources on the spiritual practice of Devotion.  You can explore even more with this link to “Devotion” on their search engine. You will find 2153 items as of 4/26/16.  And, of course, there is a Twelves Gallery of Memes on Devotion.  The meme comes from that gallery. The Body also gets a lot of attention from S&P as you can see if you go to this link to “Body” on their search engine. You will find 1611 items as of 4/26/16.

+ I would love it if you offered a guest post on this practice or any practice.  And, I have work to do on my Devotion page.   Maybe you can help.  Send an email with the subject “Devotion” or “Guest Post” to John@abundancetrek.com.

+ You can always find a link to any of the Spiritual Explorations posts by going to http://abundancetrek.com/sepostsaccess.html

SPIRITUAL EXPLORATIONS – 125

This is the daily exploration for Wednesday, May 4, 2016.
WE ARE EXPLORING THE PRACTICE OF DEVOTION



+ The Sufis believe that every aspect of daily life has potential as a devotional practice. Every bodily movement has its source in the divine. Everything we do, everything seen or heard, tasted or touched, can be undertaken as a devotional practice. This level of devotion brings us into a new relationship with the ongoing creation as we realize that the entire universe is dependent upon the creative energy that vitalizes each and every moment.
— Rabbi David A. Cooper in Silence, Simplicity & Solitude

+ Yes, there is a vital connection between Devotion and the Body.  Ultimately, the body is a mystery.  The earthly body clearly has limits but we already have more, far more.  We have a heavenly body.  But let’s not undervalue the earthly body which is a miraculous gateway to heaven even before we realize that we have this heavenly body.

Many mystics have declared that our earthly body is a provisional representation of the Soul.  We will explore this mystery a lot more when we get to the Journey of the Soul and its practices of Simplicity, Delight and Heavenliness.

+ Spirituality & Practice offers many resources on the spiritual practice of Devotion.  You can explore even more with this link to “Devotion” on their search engine. You will find 2153 items as of 4/26/16.  And, of course, there is a Twelves Gallery of Memes on Devotion.  The meme comes from that gallery. The Body also gets a lot of attention from S&P as you can see if you go to this link to “Body” on their search engine. You will find 1611 items as of 4/26/16.

+ I would love it if you offered a guest post on this practice or any practice.  And, I have work to do on my Devotion page.   Maybe you can help.  Send an email with the subject “Devotion” or “Guest Post” to John@abundancetrek.com.

+ You can always find a link to any of the Spiritual Explorations posts by going to http://abundancetrek.com/sepostsaccess.html

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

SPIRITUAL EXPLORATIONS – 124

This is the daily exploration for Tuesday, May 3, 2016.
WE ARE EXPLORING THE PRACTICE OF DEVOTION



+ More from Mary Ann & Fred from their Introduction to the spiritual practice of Devotion:
Devotion is not something that is done once a week, just on religious holidays, or only in response to a particular event in your life. Special devotions may be called for at those times, but as a spiritual practice, it needs to be part of your daily routine.

Devotion then helps you build self-discipline. Being constant in your prayers prepares you for other disciplines needed in your life. On the other hand, if you lack commitment and don't tend to follow through in the long run, your devotional life will suffer as well. This practice needs to be done regularly.
-- Mary Ann & Frederic Brussat

+ Daily commitment, even moment-to-moment commitment to our spiritual path is what we are working on here.  You have come this far.  Let’s keep exploring.  I love having you along on this journey, this fascinating quest making it possible for you and me and everyone to experience and promote the heavenly attributes of Abundance, Joy, Wisdom, Beauty, Love, Truth, Peace, Justice and Freedom.

+ Spirituality & Practice offers many resources on the spiritual practice of Devotion.  You can explore even more with this link to “Devotion” on their search engine. You will find 2153 items as of 4/26/16.  And, of course, there is a Twelves Gallery of Memes on Devotion.  The meme above comes from that gallery. The Body also gets a lot of attention from S&P as you can see if you go to this link to “Body” on their search engine. You will find 1611 items as of 4/26/16.

+ I would love it if you offered a guest post on this practice or any practice.  And, I have work to do on my Devotion page.   Maybe you can help.  Send an email with the subject “Devotion” or “Guest Post” to John@abundancetrek.com.

+ You can always find a link to any of the Spiritual Explorations posts by going to http://abundancetrek.com/sepostsaccess.html

SPIRITUAL EXPLORATIONS – 123

This is the daily exploration for Monday, May 2, 2016.
WE ARE EXPLORING THE PRACTICE OF DEVOTION


+ All forms of devotion share the flavor of dedicated service combined with love. In the material world, the paradigm of devotion is that of parents to children. We also find the devotion of a scientist to science, an athlete to a sport, an artist to an art, a healer to healing, a lover to the loved one, and sometimes a worker to a job. Because its aim is service, devotion does not primarily seek profit, though profits may come. Instead, devotion bears its own success, its own inherent payoff in terms of fulfillment, in the satisfaction of doing what one is meant to do.

You may find it illuminating to ask yourself certain questions. To what, if anything, am I devoted? To what degree? Is there anything I wish I could devote myself to? Can I take steps toward that?

These questions relate directly to spiritual growth. Being devoted to other pursuits need not interfere with our spiritual work. Indeed, an important piece of our inner work involves becoming ourselves fully and uniquely, through devotion to our chosen pursuits. Your individuation renders unto God and society what only you can offer.

The spiritual paradigm of devotion is prayer, where devotion describes the inner attitude one adopts in a sincere act of worship. Though it waxes and wanes, in praying we seek moments of utter devotion to the sacred. That is a major part of the work of prayer: to unite the whole of ourselves, body, mind, heart, attention and intention, in complete devotion to the Divine.
-- Joseph Naft
You can read Joseph Naft’s entire post on Devotion at http://www.innerfrontier.org/InnerWork/Archive/2005/20051205_Devotion.htm.  There are links in that post to some of his other wisdom.  Inner Frontier is a great source of guidance for a devotee of any spiritual path.

+ I invite you to think about your devotion, spiritual and secular, past, present and future.  Here are a few things I have come up with in no particular order:
·         Church
·         Family
·         Friends
·         Meditation & Contemplation & Prayer
·         The New Faith for the New Earth
·         Baseball: especially Red Sox & Giants
·         Travel
·         Rock’n’Roll
·         Photography
·         Coffee
·         Wine
·         Politics
·         Yoga
·         Chi Lel Qi Gong
·         Star Trek
·         Peace & Justice
·         The Environment
·         www.SpiritualPaths.net
·         www.innerfrontier.org
·         www.abundancetrek.com

I would love to know some of your devotional interests, commitments and practices.  You are wonderful.  You are fantastic.  You are amazing.  You are fascinating.  You have so much to offer.  Together, we are creating the new faith for the new earth.  This is making our planet more wonderful, fantastic, amazing and fascinating.  The more we commit ourselves to the spiritual practice of Devotion, the more wonderful we all become.

+ Spirituality & Practice offers many resources on the spiritual practice of Devotion.  You can explore even more with this link to “Devotion” on their search engine. You will find 2153 items as of 4/26/16.  And, of course, there is a Twelves Gallery of Memes on Devotion.  The meme above comes from that gallery. The Body also gets a lot of attention from S&P as you can see if you go to this link to “Body” on their search engine. You will find 1611 items as of 4/26/16.

+ I would love it if you offered a guest post on this practice or any practice.  And, I have work to do on my Devotion page.   Maybe you can help.  Send an email with the subject “Devotion” or “Guest Post” to John@abundancetrek.com.

+ You can always find a link to any of the Spiritual Explorations posts by going to http://abundancetrek.com/sepostsaccess.html

SPIRITUAL EXPLORATIONS – 122

This is the daily exploration for Sunday, May 1, 2016.
WE ARE EXPLORING THE PRACTICE OF DEVOTION



+ A devotional life is one lived in the presence of the Lord. The world's religions tutor us in an amazing variety of ways to practice our devotion. To name just a few: Sufis dance. Buddhists chant. Catholics pray with a rosary. Protestants sing hymns. Orthodox Christians meditate on icons. Hindus gather to receive blessings in temples. Jews wrap themselves in a prayer shawl. Native Americans bring up the sun. Muslims make a pilgrimage. Whether our devotional practices are formal liturgies or informal gestures, they recognize that everything is linked to the Divine. There can be no bracketing of our existence into holy and unholy precincts.

Begin, then, by cultivating your own garden of devotion. Pick as many seeds to plant as you desire. Water them with love. Be vigilant in your caretaking. Add new plants to the garden for variety. And be happy knowing that this garden pleases God.
-- Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat in their Introduction to the Spiritual Practice of Devotion

+ A daily practice of prayer and meditation and contemplation is essential for awakening. There are many paths of devotion.  It is important, however, to make sure that you don’t try too many paths at once.  Maybe it is best to follow one path at a time. 

But, then, you can get stuck on certain paths.  You can be misguided.  That’s why I strongly advocate being open to the wisdom of other traditions and practices.  I particularly like the 14 precepts of Thich Nhat Hanh.  This is wise counsel for any one following any path.  As you go through these precepts, simply substitute the name of your path for “Buddhist” whenever you come across that word ... unless you are a Buddhist of course.   

+ Spirituality & Practice offers many resources on the spiritual practice of Devotion.  You can explore even more with this link to “Devotion” on their search engine. You will find 2153 items as of 4/26/16.  And, of course, there is a Twelves Gallery of Memes on Devotion.  The meme above comes from that gallery. The Body also gets a lot of attention from S&P as you can see if you go to this link to “Body” on their search engine. You will find 1611 items as of 4/26/16.

+ I would love it if you offered a guest post on this practice or any practice.  And, I have work to do on my Devotion page.   Maybe you can help.  Send an email with the subject “Devotion” or “Guest Post” to John@abundancetrek.com.

+ You can always find a link to any of the Spiritual Explorations posts by going to http://abundancetrek.com/sepostsaccess.html

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

SPIRITUAL EXPLORATIONS – 121

This is the daily exploration for Saturday, April 30, 2016.
WE ARE EXPLORING THE PRACTICE OF DEVOTION


+ This post is longer than most as we begin the exploration of the practice of Devotion.  You could bookmark this post if Devotion and Body are spiritual explorations you want to work on. 

+ Ed Bastian’s Spiritual Style #4 > “The Devotee” > The Way of Devotion >
The Devotee is naturally loyal and lovingly committed to a job, a relationship, a set of principles, a way of life, a daily routine, a religious teacher, a spiritual tradition or a life goal.

·         Are you more prone to faith than skepticism?
·         Are you are naturally loyal to a job, a person or a community?
·         Do you yearn to be dedicated to a greater cause or higher principle?
·         Do you long to be committed to a spiritual teaching, teacher or higher power?

MANY OF OUR MOST important life-goals are virtually impossible to achieve without commitment and dedication. Whether the goal lies in the fields of athletics, academics, the arts, society or spirituality, we need to be devoted to our objective, to our teacher, and even to the founder of the tradition of our teacher. Why? Because, in practical terms, devotion helps us to be steady, consistent and determined. Simply put, devotion is a practical psychological tool for accomplishing any life-goal.

+ There are many ways to be devoted and I suspect that you are devoted to a variety of people, organizations, causes.  For some, devotion comes very naturally.  Others have to work on it. I am sure that those of us who are doing these spiritual explorations are devotees either naturally or because of a desire to become devoted in some way. 

Each and every one of the twelve spiritual styles Ed Bastian describes in his InterSpirituality Mandala Process are important.  The ones that come naturally can be over-emphasized if we don’t work on the ones that don’t come so naturally.  Each style becomes more effective as we use other styles to support our efforts.  Here is how Ed puts it: “it is important that we recognize and utilize our dominant styles as beginning points, then include and harmonize our other styles to fully actualize our spiritual potential.” I intend to explore all of Ed’s styles and questions later this year in these Spiritual Exploration posts. 

For some reason Devotion is the only one of my 12 and his 12 that we have in common specifically.  We really have a lot more in common but his model comes at it from a different angle than mine.  His other styles are: Arts, Body, Compassion, Imagination, Meditation, Mysticism, Nature, Prayer, Reason, Relationships and Wisdom.  You can find out more at http://spiritualpaths.net.

The spiritual style of the Body, however, is clearly related to this exploration since I am calling this portion of spiritual practices the Journey of the Body.  And so, here is more from Ed:

+ Ed Bastian’s Spiritual Style #2 > “The Kinesthete” > The Way of the Body >
The Kinesthete uses physical movement as a primary mode of learning and experiences subtle emotional and spiritual states of consciousness in various parts of their body.

·         Does your need for physical activity make it difficult to sit still?
·         Do you like to explore and express your spiritual insights through movement?
·         Do you feel subtle emotional and spiritual states through your body?

THE KINESTHETE takes pleasure and finds satisfaction in physical movement and ‘listening to the body.’ But when a kinesthetic or somatic learner becomes physically inactive, they can easily lose emotional balance and mental sharpness, and thus also lose confidence and begin to suffer from stress. If your style is the Way of the Body, you learn and practice spirituality physically, kinesthetically, or somatically. You may find it difficult to sit still through long periods of meditation, prayer, study or ritual. You may be drawn to Yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Gong, or physical labor, walking, running, climbing, cooking, serving tea, or even eating. You might even find that the focus of physical exercise helps you to achieve a single-pointed, tranquil, endorphin driven bliss, or you’re your greatest epiphanies arise when your body is engaged in just the right form of movement. 

+ Whether it comes naturally or not, taking care of our bodies, indeed loving our bodies, is a very important spiritual discipline.  We need to devote ourselves to affirming both our earthly body and our heavenly body.

+ Spirituality & Practice offers many resources on the spiritual practice of Devotion.  You can explore even more with this link to “Devotion” on their search engine. You will find 2153 items as of 4/26/16.  And, of course, there is a Twelves Gallery of Memes on Devotion.  The Body also gets a lot of attention from S&P as you can see if you go to this link to “Body” on their search engine. You will find 1611 items as of 4/26/16.

+ I would love it if you offered a guest post on this practice or any practice.  And, I have work to do on my Devotion page.   Maybe you can help.  Send an email with the subject “Devotion” or “Guest Post” to John@abundancetrek.com.

+ You can always find a link to any of the Spiritual Explorations posts by going to http://abundancetrek.com/sepostsaccess.html

Sunday, April 24, 2016

SPIRITUAL EXPLORATIONS – 120

This is the daily exploration for Friday, April 29, 2016.
WE ARE EXPLORING THE PRACTICE OF SOLITUDE


 + You do not need to do anything; you do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You do not even need to listen; just wait. You do not even need to wait; just become still, quiet and solitary and the world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
 -- Franz Kafka

+ This is the last post on the practice of Solitude.  Hopefully this exploration of this essential practice is making it possible for you to embrace your holy body which is both earthly and heavenly.  As Nouwen points out, solitude is the furnace of transformation.  Keep making space for solitude and be transformed.

The ecstasy Kafka promises is both an Earthly and Heavenly blessing.  Your Earthly body makes it possible for you to receive this gift here on Earth.  When we get to the Journey of the Soul, we will explore the mystery of our heavenly body.   

The next spiritual practice we will explore is Devotion which certainly requires a level of comfort with Solitude as well as a commitment to a community which shares your values.


+ Spirituality & Practice offers many resources on the spiritual practice of Transformation and a Twelves Gallery of Memes on Transformation. The meme above comes from that gallery. Thank You S&P.

+ I would love it if you offered a guest post on this practice or any practice.  And, I have work to do on my Solitude Page.   Maybe you can help.  Send an email with the subject “Solitude” or “Guest Post” to John@abundancetrek.com.

SPIRITUAL EXPLORATIONS – 119

This is the daily exploration for Thursday, April 28, 2016.
WE ARE EXPLORING THE PRACTICE OF SOLITUDE


+ Here is an excerpt from the Spirituality & Practice book review of The Wonders of Solitude : “This volume offers 300 quotations compiled and edited by Dale Salwak. There are chapters on a noisy world, discovery, inspiration, the natural world, places of solitude, and the power of silence. Erica Jong notes, ‘The most important education you get is on your own--the one you learn in solitude.’ There is Mother Teresa who believes ‘God is the friend of silence.’ And Herman Hesse counsels us, ‘Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at anytime and be yourself.’ This volume is a treasure trove of wisdom about the benefits and blessings of solitude.” -- Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

+ God is definitely doing a “new thing,” “making all things new,” creating “new heavens and a new earth.” So, it is imperative for those of us who want to do God’s will, to discern this new thing and commit to making it happen.  The practice of Solitude is very important , indeed essential. 

You have a very important part to play in this discernment process.  In solitude you make discoveries and get important ideas.  Bring your discoveries and ideas to a community of faith which shares your values.  If your community of faith does indeed share your values, they will listen to you and you will listen to them.  The sharing of the fruits of our solitude is creating the new earth. 

+ Spirituality & Practice offers many more resources on the spiritual practice of Solitude.

+ Spirituality & Practice offers many resources on the related spiritual practice of Questing and a Twelves Gallery of Memes on QuestingThe meme above comes from that gallery.

+ I would love it if you offered a guest post on this practice or any practice.  And, I have work to do on my Solitude Page.   Maybe you can help.  Send an email with the subject “Solitude” or “Guest Post” to John@abundancetrek.com.

+ You can always find a link to any of the Spiritual Explorations posts by going to http://abundancetrek.com/sepostsaccess.html

SPIRITUAL EXPLORATIONS – 118

This is the daily exploration for Wednesday, April 27, 2016.
WE ARE EXPLORING THE PRACTICE OF SOLITUDE


+ Sooner or later the desire to be holy, to be whole, to be heavenly, becomes your goal. You want to be transformed into your highest ideal. You have been healed enough to know you want it all, all of what heaven offers: Abundance, Joy, Wisdom, Beauty, Love, Truth, Peace, Justice, Freedom.

You’ve got to put your mind, heart, body and soul into it. And you need a new body, a heavenly body.

The regular practice of stillness gives birth to this new body. It actually isn’t new at all. It is ancient but you forgot you had it! Once you begin to remember how wonderful, how fantastic, this body is, you want it. You become devoted to it. It is the new you, the real you, the wonderful you, the fantastic you, the heavenly you.

The essential practice of solitude brings this heavenly body to life. You are awakened as stillness and silence and their associated benefits bring you to a blissful state of awareness in solitude. Most of us avoid this blissful state of awareness because it is the unknown, the unfamiliar. We fear this state of awareness because we are attached to all kinds of earthly pleasures which promise satisfaction. But sooner or later we realize that the promises are false. We realize we need to move on to a different and greater reality where satisfaction is guaranteed. The essential practice of solitude offers this satisfaction, this bliss, because your connection to heaven is deep within yourself. 

In this state reached through endless stillness practice, you can hear God speak to you. It’s not a voice you can ordinarily hear. Find time and space for this, this bliss. You will be blessed in so many ways as you practice, practice, practice stillness, silence, solitude.

Here in solitude you feel more connected to everything. This includes those closest to you and those far away, even beyond Planet Earth. You are paradoxically in community like never before. And you take the gifts of solitude with you wherever you go, with whoever you meet. This is amazing. Don’t resist it.

Actually you are always in solitude but you don’t know it. Everything you feel, think, say, do comes from deep within you. All of your relations with others are completely under the control of your solitude which never quits and is constantly changing.

Getting to know yourself in solitude is an essential practice and often very hard work. We avoid it like the plague. But avoiding it leads to all kinds of woes. 

It does get hard here because we have to face ourselves as we really are and we begin to see the difference, the gap, between our Real Self and our false self. We have put a lot of time and energy into that false self, far too much. We need to begin to make solitude work for us rather than against us. Remember, it is always controlling us so becoming aware of its presence and power is essential. There is no way around this practice. Our holiness, our heavenliness, depend on our mastering the practice of solitude.

Enjoy being alone. You always are alone in a real sense. So enjoy it. Immerse yourself in the joy of solitude.  Sooner or later, the bliss will come. This bliss is worth the struggle. It’s not worldly bliss if there is such a thing and I know there isn’t. The ego, the false self, simply cannot experience bliss. Bliss is only for the faithful who strive to “be in the world but not of it.”

We are striving to be holy and the only way to become holy is to be devoted to it. Solitude is challenging so devotion becomes necessary.  Devotion is the next practice which we will explore very soon.


+ Spirituality & Practice offers many resources on the related  spiritual practice of Questing and a Twelves Gallery of Memes on Questing. The meme above comes from that gallery.

+ I would love it if you offered a guest post on this practice or any practice.  And, I have work to do on my Solitude Page.   Maybe you can help.  Send an email with the subject “Solitude” or “Guest Post” to John@abundancetrek.com.

+ You can always find a link to any of the Spiritual Explorations posts by going to http://abundancetrek.com/sepostsaccess.html

SPIRITUAL EXPLORATIONS – 117

This is the daily exploration for Tuesday, April 26, 2016.
WE ARE EXPLORING THE PRACTICE OF SOLITUDE


+
You ask why I live
alone in the mountain forest,

and I smile and am silent
until even my soul grows quiet.

The peach trees blossom.
The water continues to flow.

I live in the other world,
one that lies beyond the human.
-- Li Po in The Poetry of Zen by Sam Hamill, J. P. Seaton

+ We have explored the spiritual practice of Detachment and we will explore the practice of Simplicity soon.  It is imperative that we find ways to let go of many of our ambitions and addictions so the “New Heaven and a New Earth” can be created.  When we practice Solitude, we find that we don’t need all the things we thought we did.  Together, we are creating the New Faith for the New Earth which is “God’s New Thing.”  God is creating the New Faith for the New Earth.  You are creating the New Faith for the New Earth.  I am creating the New Faith for the New Earth.  This is fascinating.  This is wonderful.  This is an amazing journey we are on.   This is bliss.  Let solitude be the path which allows you to realize this. 

Let your discoveries on this journey be known.  We need your insights and inspiration, your wisdom and wonder.  You are a unique expression of heaven.  When you share what you learn in solitude, you make the earth more heavenly.  We never really are anything but heavenly.  We are always in Heaven but we need that sacred space and sacred time to realize how wonderful it all is.


+ Spirituality & Practice offers many resources on the spiritual practice of Questing and a Twelves Gallery of Memes on Questing. The meme above comes from that gallery. Thank You S&P.

+ I would love it if you offered a guest post on this practice or any practice.  And, I have work to do on my Solitude Page.   Maybe you can help.  Send an email with the subject “Solitude” or “Guest Post” to John@abundancetrek.com.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

SPIRITUAL EXPLORATIONS – 116

This is the daily exploration for Monday, April 25, 2016.
WE ARE EXPLORING THE PRACTICE OF SOLITUDE


+ What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.
-- Ellen Burstyn

+ Yeah!

I guess I have enjoyed solitude in so many ways all my life and I recommend it but I also know that the encouragement and accountability of being in a responsible community is also essential.  Everything is sacred, every space, every place, every time, every activity, every thought, every feeling.  Much of this happens in solitude and much happens in community.  Don’t neglect either on your quest for beauty, love and truth.


+ Spirituality & Practice offers many resources on the spiritual practice of Questing and a Twelves Gallery of Memes on Questing. The meme above comes from that gallery. Thank You S&P.

+ I would love it if you offered a guest post on this practice or any practice.  And, I have work to do on my Solitude Page.   Maybe you can help.  Send an email with the subject “Solitude” or “Guest Post” to John@abundancetrek.com.

+ You can always find a link to any of the Spiritual Explorations posts by going to http://abundancetrek.com/sepostsaccess.html

SPIRITUAL EXPLORATIONS – 115

This is the daily exploration for Sunday, April 24, 2016.
WE ARE EXPLORING THE PRACTICE OF SOLITUDE


+ The best and sweetest flowers in paradise, God gives to his people when they are on their knees in the closet. — Prayer, if not the very gate of heaven, is the key to let us into its holiness and joys.

+ In Scetis, a brother went to see Abba Moses and begged him for a word. The old man said, "Go and sit in your cell and your cell will teach you everything."
-- A Saying From the Desert Fathers & Mothers

Holiness is the goal of this portion of the explorations, the Journey of the Body.  Prayer is, of course, what all of these explorations are all about.  I take the command of St. Paul to pray unceasingly very seriously.  But I haven’t figured out how to do it.  I certainly don’t believe that the closet or the cell is the only place set apart for prayer.  But it is an important place and that’s what we are emphasizing here.   The aim is to become so accomplished in the closet or the cell or whatever sacred space you can create for solitude that prayer becomes a natural part of your life with each and every breath.

It is beginning to make sense for me that this practice belongs to the Journey of the Body.  When you create this sacred space of solitude, you become very aware of your body.  It is a good time to make decisions about caring for your body, to affirm your body which allows you to experience this wonderful world so thoroughly.  Our bodies are indeed holy.    


+ Spirituality & Practice offers many resources on the spiritual practice of Beauty and a Twelves Gallery of Memes on Beauty.  The meme above comes from that gallery.  Thank You very much S&P.

+ I would love it if you offered a guest post on this practice or any practice.  And, I have work to do on my Solitude Page.   Maybe you can help.  Send an email with the subject “Solitude” or “Guest Post” to John@abundancetrek.com.

+ You can always find a link to any of the Spiritual Explorations posts by going to http://abundancetrek.com/sepostsaccess.html

SPIRITUAL EXPLORATIONS – 114

This is the daily exploration for Saturday, April 23, 2016.
WE ARE EXPLORING THE PRACTICE OF SOLITUDE


+ Solitude is such a potential thing. We hear voices in solitude, we never hear in the hurry and turmoil of life; we receive counsels and comforts, we get under no other condition . . .

+ So, listen and be amazed, challenged, comforted and revived.  Listen to your Inner Guide and be guided into all kinds of possibilities for your life.  Try to establish an effective balance of guidance from colleagues, friends, teachers in your life and the wisdom of your Inner Guide.


+ Spirituality & Practice offers many resources on the spiritual practice of Listening and a Twelves Gallery of Memes on Listening.  The meme above comes from that gallery. Thank You S&P.

+ I would love it if you offered a guest post on this practice or any practice.  And, I have work to do on my Solitude Page.   Maybe you can help.  Send an email with the subject “Solitude” or “Guest Post” to John@abundancetrek.com.

+ You can always find a link to any of the Spiritual Explorations posts by going to http://abundancetrek.com/sepostsaccess.html

SPIRITUAL EXPLORATIONS – 113

This is the daily exploration for Friday, April 22, 2016.
WE ARE EXPLORING THE PRACTICE OF SOLITUDE

  
+ As soon as we are alone, ...inner chaos opens up in us. This chaos can be so disturbing and so confusing that we can hardly wait to get busy again. Entering a private room and shutting the door, therefore, does not mean that we immediately shut out all our inner doubts, anxieties, fears, bad memories, unresolved conflicts, angry feelings and impulsive desires. On the contrary, when we have removed our outer distraction, we often find that our inner distraction manifest themselves to us in full force. We often use the outer distractions to shield ourselves from the interior noises. This makes the discipline of solitude all the more important.
― Henri J.M. Nouwen in Making All Things New and Other Classics

+ It is very important for us to accept and understand this truth.  You may need to seek a wise teacher or healer or friend to help you confront what you find inside your mind, heart, body and soul.  Deitrich Bonhoeffer, who gave us wise counsel in SE 109, taught us that we need to embrace a “costly grace,” not a “cheap grace.”  This means we can’t avoid dealing with all of that stuff Nouwen  talks about.  Ultimately we find beauty, love and truth as we work through all that stuff in solitude and in community.  It will all work out.  You are wonderful.  You are fantastic.  You are delightful.  You are heavenly.  God made you that way.

I can’t over-emphasize how important it is to find that solitary space where you can go deep into that sacred place which is your mind, heart, body and soul.  That’s because …

You are, we are, I am
intimately infinitely, intricately
connected
by a matrix of
 unconditional, unlimited, uniting Love
which is
miraculous, mysterious and marvelous.

I know I’ve said that before.  And I will say it again.  Our heavenly reality is discovered as we practice all of these practices we are exploring.  What heavenly discoveries are you making these days as you contemplate, meditate and pray?


+ Spirituality & Practice offers many resources on the spiritual practice of Grace and a Twelves Gallery of Memes on Grace. The meme above comes from that gallery.  Thank You S&P.

+ I would love it if you offered a guest post on this practice or any practice.  And, I have work to do on my Solitude Page.   Maybe you can help.  Send an email with the subject “Solitude” or “Guest Post” to John@abundancetrek.com.

+ You can always find a link to any of the Spiritual Explorations posts by going to http://abundancetrek.com/sepostsaccess.html