The Spiritual Life

There is no “objective.” You aren’t trying to achieve something. It’s not some test that results in a reward. This isn’t a treasure hunt through your own house where you find keys to a new life. It’s more like when you’ve been looking and looking and looking for your keys and then you suddenly realize you’ve been carrying them with you the entire time.

18 Relax and Succeed - My actions are my only true belongingsYour spirituality isn’t something you pause your life to do. It’s not a day of the week or a special building. It’s not certain clothes, or words, or people. Spirituality is a verb. It’s an action. Or rather, it’s the heart that beats at the core of your daily actions. It is a moment to moment perspective on living that impacts every decision you make.

As Shunryu Suzuki described it, “Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on your usual everyday routine.” This simply means that you should go about your day awake. That is to say; not shrouded in Personal Thinking. If you’re yakking to yourself you won’t hear the birds. You won’t hear the sound of your own body moving. And you won’t truly notice others. Not in as meaningful a way. When you are fully focused on absorbing the world rather than commentating on it, it is amazing what you’ll notice.

That awareness is the basis of fundamental spirituality. If we’re aware we notice things have causes. If we study the causes we see that everyone is ultimately innocent. Once we can recognize that then our hearts open and our judgmental mind can go quiet for a while. With a quiet mind we are immersed in life and are responding naturally. This no-thinking, love-and-compassion-based approach is what spirituality looks like when it’s enacted.

18 Relax and Succeed - Our days are happierDon’t say you want to live a better life. Don’t say you want to understand the Buddhist Illusion, or the Tao’s Flow, or any other spiritual concept if you don’t first want to care for other beings. You have to take your awareness away from your singular self. You have to re-focus it on the larger event that you are experiencing and thereby you avoid creating the Ego-You.

Surrender the idea of having a holy ego that others judge to be profoundly spiritual. Forget beads and chants and temples and offerings. To lead the truly spiritual life you must quiet your ego and thereby free yourself to enact your spirituality through normal daily experiences. When you can do that you will realize that you and everyone around you is both a priest and a god and that there’s nothing that you or anyone else could do that wasn’t ultimately spiritual in nature.

Enjoy your day. And let that enjoyment by your prayer.

Much love, s

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