economic crisis

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I spent an hour in a Sunday School class this morning contemplating the meaning of spirituality and what it means to lead a spiritual life. We were studying the Prologue and first two chapters of The Rule of Benedict (Chittister,1992).

Here are the main “ah-has” I got from the class:

  • God is in us and all around us
  • If we are not careful we waste our life on things that are of no eternal value
  • We need to ask ourselves “Is there life before death?” (p.12)
  • What gives life meaning is being open to God in ourselves and in others

What does all that mean to me? Well, to begin with, I need to focus my awareness on God as often as I can—-not just in myself but also in others. Doing so will make what life I have left to live meaningful so that I can “say yes” to having lived a “life before death.” When I make an effort to do this I start viewing my life and everything in it quite differently because everything is framed within the context of God rather than fear and the need to control.

From a longstanding immersion in 12 step values, I already know that serenity comes from living a life focused on acceptance, honesty, willingness, self knowledge, changing my problematic behaviors and reaching out to others. I  know being open to God in others and in myself is what gives my life meaning. I know my purpose in life is to accept God’s love and to share it with others. I know when I waste my awareness and attention on being emotionally mired down in the past or worrying about the future I fail to live in the now with God.

Now the real test, how can this insight be applied in my “one day at a time” existence?

  • When I worry, I can  turn what I am worrying about over to God so I am  not throwing my life away on a non-existent future.
  •  I need to accept I cannot control anything except my own attitude which often needs to be “shifted” to one of acceptance.
  • I need to accept the gift of God’s love and to share that love in my behavior and the way I relate to others.

I hope all of this makes at least some sense! Perhaps if I close with my favorite part from today’s lesson it will help put what I have said in perspective. This is from page 32 where Chittister( 1992) quotes material from the Chinese Book of the Way (Tao Te Ching):

“Fill  your bowl to the brim

and it will spill.

Keep sharpening your knife

and it will blunt.

Chase after money and security

and your heart will never unclench.

Care about people’s approval

and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.

The only path to serenity.”

Please  comment and share your ideas about the thoughts expressed in today’s blog. May the force be with you; may God bless and keep you.

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