The title of my upcoming book is “Spiritual Practicality.” I’d like to take a moment to explain to you what I mean by that, and then in my next post I will begin to address the Seven Keys I have discovered underlying these teachings that, if kept in mind, will bring clarity to you as you read. This is regardless of what particular book or religious system you draw upon in order to interpret the world around you and guide you on your way.
One of the issues that is discussed with regard to spiritual living is that is it considered by most to be impractical and ill-suited to living in the modern world. If we are talking about trying to live your life according to a literal or “dead letter” reading of The Old Testament for instance, I can see the point as at least partially valid. Those of you who have read some of my work will probably know that I don’t believe that is the way to read any scripture. They are written symbolically so they can bring truth to a wide variety of readers along a continuum of conscious awareness. To a child the Gospels tell the story of a preacher roaming the holy land teaching love and compassion. To a biblical scholar they give insight into a period in human development and history as well. To me and many others, they tell the story of the awakening human consciousness. The path to that awakening is presented in the story through the events in the life of Jesus, who never claimed to be the only begotten son of God, but did refer to himself as the light and the path and the way. How can those words be interpreted in any way other than symbolic?
So how can any of this be of practical use? There has been an attempt by some to qualify practical spirituality as the application of some of their system of belief to the practical world around them. Embracing principles which do apply to daily life, and there are many that do. “Thow shalt not kill” is a great example of a pronouncement that makes as much sense in the modern world as it did when Moses first spoke it to the Israelites. As a matter of fact, it was true and practical before that as well. These ideas are in many cases moral in their nature, and adopted (appropriately) by the various systems of faith and belief, and used to guide the congregation in just and right behavior. It’s a start, but I believe this is an incomplete way of living your faith because it really involves cherry picking tenets you think still work and applying them in your daily living.
I turned the phrase on its side for a reason. I refer to “Spiritual Practicality” because I believe that when you understand what is being taught, you can live a spiritual life that is completely practical and applicable in the modern world. Now there are things which are included in many of the scriptures of the world that need to be, and have been abandoned as we have grown in our conscious awareness. Many others still need to be dropped by the segments of the populace who still adhere to them. Just because an idea is old doesn’t make it true. The second tier status of women as human beings is one that cannot go too soon. Even though Leviticus tells us it’s OK to sell our daughters into slavery, that has more to do with the structure of a society created thousands of years ago than it does with the teachings at the core of the Judaic traditions. Many of the old texts have those kinds of “don’t eat stuff off the sidewalk” instructions that are really not necessary in modern society.
The spiritual living that is at the center of the various religious teachings of the world is still very practical today. Instead of trying to figure out which parts of our spirituality are practical and applicable to modern life, I propose that the only practical way to approach modern life is the spiritual path. How many of you have done what was asked of you throughout your lives from a practical angle and still feel empty? You went to college or work, raised your children to the best of your ability, worked hard at your job, bought tons of stuff with the money you made, and yet your life does not feel full. You have concentrated on the results, and gotten them, but something is missing. The materialistic approach to living in the West is an empty and illusory lifestyle. I met a woman who represents a product line we use in my work. She travels 4-5 days a week 3-4 weeks a month and so does her husband. It’s commendable to work that hard under the right circumstances, but she has an infant at home. He mother is raising the child so that they can accumulate stuff. Can you see the possibility of an “aha moment” later in her life when she feels she has missed out on living?
When you live spiritually you will find that every aspect of that approach to life has a practical application in the modern world. Spiritual Practicality means applying your spiritual life, your inner being, to the practical world. Instead of taking a few seemingly practical aspects of the teachings you hold dear to your current circumstances, you live spiritually through every experience, because your awareness is changed. Meditation may seem like an impractical waste of time to someone who does not practice it, but the results in your consciousness from its practice will make you a more effective human being in any walk of life. Kindness and compassion can be practiced in any circumstance. Harmlessness is a way of life. You cannot have happiness or bliss if there are incongruities in your life and actions. Being a cut-throat business man, because that is the only way to survive in a hostile world does not square with what one claims to believe in church on Sunday. Integrity is the continuity between your inner life and your actions in the physical, emotional, and mental worlds. Physical acts have physical repercussions that can be seen and tested. What many don’t realize is that not only do emotional and mental acts have effects on their own planes but those effects precipitate down into the physical as well. Do you think that understanding these things has any practical application in everyday life? Obviously I do.
Stay tuned. We will be going through the Seven Keys one by one.