By Jose Bulao
Spirituality is directly linked to prosperity in life but most people do not know this. Either they have a false notion of spirituality or they think only of prosperity from an economic or materialistic point of view.
When people hear or read the word “prosperity” the immediate image that usually comes to their mind is that of an abundance of material goods. This easily evokes the image of financial prosperity or wealth.
They do not realize that generally there are three levels of prosperity.
The basic meaning of “prosper” from which the word “prosperity” comes from is to “succeed,” from the Latin “prosperare.” Because most people measure success in terms of financial gains, the word “to prosper” has come to mean “to succeed in business or in financial endeavors.”
Prosperity therefore can be applied to success in the acquisition of wealth or material goods. But this is only one level, perhaps the lowest level, but for most people the most important level.
But it can also be applied to success in the acquisition of education or psychological goods. This is a second level. The person has attained success as a teacher, as a professional, or as a person honored in his community. He has prospered in his career.
Thirdly, prosperity can be applied to success in the acquisition of spiritual goods. This is prosperity in the spiritual life. This is what we want to describe here, how you can create prosperity in your spiritual life.
But first let us be clear what the meaning is of prosperity in our spiritual life. Prosperity in our material life is easily gauged by the amount of money we have in the bank or in the investments we enter into. Prosperity in our mental life is also easily gauged by the academic titles we add to our names, usually abbreviations of doctoral degrees. But prosperity in our spiritual life is a little more difficult to measure.
The things of the spirit are not visible, like money or diplomas or transcripts of school records. They are only perceived by the effects that they produce in our lives. Therefore we can only describe prosperity in our spiritual life by the effects this produces in our life.
Basic to prosperity in our spiritual life is a nearness to God, a nearness that is personally intimate.
I once met a person who was financially successful. He had built a school and it was thriving. He was also educationally successful. He had a sharp mind and mixed easily with other highly educated persons. But he told us that he just could not conceive of an intimate relation with God. For him God was remote, God was someone impersonal. His concept of God was that of a being who created this world and left it to work out with the laws he put into it. This man was not prosperous in his spiritual life.
How is this nearness, this personal intimacy with God manifested in a person’s life? It is manifested in the kindness he shows to those around him.
Another essential element of prosperity in our spiritual life is the richness of spiritual values in a person’s life. This is manifested by a tolerance of religions. The person who is spiritually prosperous is never bigoted. He is rich spiritually, so he is not attached to one doctrine or opinion.
A third essential element of prosperity in the spiritual life is wisdom. The spiritually rich person is rich in wisdom. This is manifested by his timely advices and wise decisions. I once went to an old man in the dead of the night. Before I could speak, the old man knew that I needed help and in what aspect I needed help. He had the wisdom to tell the members of his family to help me. He was spiritually prosperous, though financially poor.
These three things, intimacy with God, richness of spiritual values, and wisdom constitute spiritual wealth. The person who has them is spiritually prosperous, has prosperity in his or her spiritual life.
How then do you create this kind of prosperity in your spiritual life? The question seems misleading because in a sense you cannot do something in order to create it. When we say or read the word “create” the connotation is that we are going to do something in order to produce something else. The artist creates a beautiful picture by thinking about it in his mind and by painting it on canvas. The writer creates a novel by thinking about a plot and weaving a story around this plot.
But in the spiritual life strictly speaking we do not create prosperity. It is a gift. We ask it of God who creates it in us. Analogously we do create spiritual prosperity in our life by disposing ourselves to receive this gift. Without this disposing on our part we would never attain prosperity in our spiritual life.
So, a proper question to ask is: How do you dispose yourself so that God can create prosperity in your spiritual life? There are three dispositions you need to go through.
The first disposition is to be open to all the treasures of the spiritual life that you can see or read about you. You read the Bible if you are a Christian, the Quran if you are a Muslim, the Bhavagad Gita if you are a Hindu, the Tripitaka if you are a Buddhist, whatever is written by the sages of the religions, great and small. Or you read any or all of these books whatever your religion is.
The second disposition is to ponder on the sayings you read in these books and relate them to your life. It is not a matter of reading for the sake of curiosity. You read in order to pause and ponder. If you read through one of the great spiritual books just to finish it, it will not profit you. You read and pause and think and relate what you think with your life.
The third disposition is to just rest your mind. Do not think when the moment comes that you feel not thinking anymore. Just think of the presence of the Great Spirit in you and others.
As you become used to these dispositions great wisdom is going to flood into your soul, you accumulate more and more of the values of the spiritual life, and you become more and more intimate with God. You become prosperous in your spiritual life. You create prosperity in your spiritual life.
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