I tend to view the virtues and principles of the spiritual life through the clear lens of nature. My soul soars with freedom in the presence of an open sky. I find inspiration expressed in the grandeur of a panoramic vista and see hope within the sparkling rain drops of a sun shower. I believe that both the sunrise and the sunset are not just remarkable in their show of color, but instead, both of these atmospheric creations are complete thoughts written out across the canvas of the sky in a spiritual language not often spoken, in this material dimension of life.
When we become still, silent and serene we can touch the surface of our soul and make contact with truth. It is said that the truth will set you free, but we only arrive at that point when we are brave enough to be honest with ourselves. It is not easy to unplug from this noisy, distraction-rich culture of ours, but here we must persevere. Until we quiet the parade of thoughts and go within, we simply carry on deceiving ourselves.
Snow and rain and mountains and birds and all that constitutes the great outdoors are exactly what they have been created to be, in the purest sense of reality. There is no propaganda, no back story and no illusion in nature. All that is disingenuous in the world is a fabrication outside of truth. The sweetness of the breeze on a spring morning is not the same as the artificial air freshener of the same name. If you need to connect with your spirit, simply step outside.
Spiritual seekers are in search of what is eternal, real and genuine. For many, it was ever-present pain that pushed them onto this path of truth. As we look back, we can pinpoint the circumstances that may have led us away from this path, as much as we can re-live the moment that brought our lives back into focus. The point, is to stay the path once we find ourselves back on it. To do this, we must begin to practice the tenets of a spiritual life.
To receive love, we must give it away. To know peace, we must cultivate it within and extend it outside of ourselves. To bring an end to fear, doubt and anxiety, we must place all our trust in our Creator. These lofty, spiritual ideals don’t become habit overnight yet with the simplest of intentions, we can begin to build a more spiritual life. When we choose to shine a light on our own blind spots, we initiate the process of authentic living.
It’s not simply a matter of wanting to lose weight, get in shape or pursue a dream; it’s about assuming spiritual responsibility for the overall quality of our lives. There is no way we can possibly live out our destiny in a manner that reflects all that we are truly capable of, if we are drowning in debt, seriously overweight or living life on the surface. I know this because I lived it. The beauty that is inherent in every situation, is that God’s Love is already present, His Help is a constant and we are stronger than we realize. We have the responsibility, as well as the opportunity to realize our potential in all areas of our lives.
Our understanding of the tenets of a spiritual life deepen as we live them out. Consider the principle of obedience for example, it may not appeal to us at first as we may view it as a constriction of freedom, but when we apply this concept to the eternal nature of the laws of the universe, we begin to see its merits. We reap what we sow, we become what we think, we are what we eat – all of this is the obedient fulfillment of spiritual law, because our actions, as well as our thoughts have consequential results in the physical dimension.
Once the true nature of obedience is understood as an act of honest, humble acceptance and not a loss of freedom, we can bring into fruition the circumstances we previously believed were outside of our grasp. We gain peace as a result and thus, our understanding of obedience only deepens. We can apply this promise to those spiritual truths that at first appear difficult, such as the act of forgiveness, and count on a more profound comprehension as we apply it in our lives.
Honesty, discipline, perseverance and hope replace self-deception, sloth, distraction and guilt when we choose to assume the spiritual responsibility of our own self-improvement. It’s not easy at first perhaps, but the good that comes into one’s life as a result of this transformation is truly incredible. Down the road, we marvel at the enrichment of our lives and feel blessed to be on such a beautiful journey.
Right now, in this very moment you can decide to begin to live in a new way. If you feel paralyzed at the thought of where to begin, know that for every question the answer is Love. Apply Love to every problem and you will be led to the solution. Most important of all, is the truth that hope is available now.