As I look before me on my little bookshelf I see many wonderful books created to educate, inspire, uplift, and educate. I have the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, and books on I Ching wisdom and Buddhism. I have Dr. Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Andrew Cohen, and Doreen Virtue adorning my shelves as well. I have books on acceptance, living in the now, recovery, humility, religion, faith and self help. You will also see this roster punctuated with Stephen King, Dan Brown, and Mitch Albom. I think there is also a Dr. Seuss up there too.
The interested thing I find in the tomes I have read containing a more spiritual nature, they all, in their own dialect, point to certain values, practices, and observations of how to live a spiritually fulfilled life. Although varying in many ways, they also conjoin to teach us of awareness of ourselves and our actions, compassion to others, beliefs of a higher nature, accountability, and certain moral modes of conduct. It is this research that helped me understand and appreciate others and their right to what they believe, and if what you place your faith upon, or whom for that matter, works for you, then who am I to judge? Many of the ideals I learned, once distilled to their spiritual core, all seem to eventually converge to certain universal core values.
For me personally I was called to write this more so as a digestion of my observation of why I read, research, and try to develop myself. Why do I try to keep a glistening shine on my spiritual self? On top of that, I was pondering the paradox of enjoying the journey and if it is and infinite one, or do we eventually become truly enlightened? Do we hit “cruise control” at a certain level? How does one become considered a prophet, a holy man, or a sought after pinnacle of his or her faith?
As I looked through time, I noticed the most revered people of faith, the tops of the spiritual pyramids if you will, were not only praised, but often equally chastised. I also found the beliefs they taught or followed had many common traits described in their own vernacular, but they came from what many consider very “different” belief systems. They leaders were often ostracized or banished or even killed. Even though they taught love and human compassion, many of their followers thought others were incorrect, and at times deserving of imprisonment, or death. Regardless of what you or I believe, I find it confusing.
I guess what led me to this is I indeed have read, practiced, and researched the works of great spiritual teachers both current and past to experience a better life and appreciation for all things. Once a certain level is understood, the basic tenets are simple. Like basketball for example; it is easy. Put the ball in the basket. Now doing it in the dynamic of a game, when the obstacles are flying at you are where the challenges come in and the practice is needed. It shows too why there are only so many legends in this game as well. Consistency, patience, practice, understanding, tenacity, and heart all leverage growth and can be a difficult recipe for the masses to acquire.
I then wondered, is there a level where things just level out? Is there a time when your understanding is just so ingrained that life’s challenges are no longer as difficult or consuming? Is there a time when you totally release all circumstances to the, “it is in God’s ( the universe’s, the Source’s, the deity of your choice’s) hands now, and I am totally okay with it?” Is there a point where faith and or spirituality are strong enough to where you truly, I mean truly find you are in honest and total acceptance and allowance? Not a façade you stand behind because you feel it is the right thing, what is expected, or that others will think less of you if you do not wave a banner of faith. It just was something I wonder about.
I see many of my friends of strong faith and conviction, and spiritual practice recently enduring some challenges. They turn to their faith and belief systems (as they should) to find solace. They turn to following the practices and teaching of the belief systems they follow. I then wondered, about the demeanor of the leaders of the faiths in question and how they got where they were spiritually in such situations. Maybe I have too much time on my hands. But I thought, we follow them because they have something extra special. They have overcome or gained an understanding we hope to someday achieve. They have endured enormous challenges of both physical and spiritual nature, and seem to arrive well on the other side. There is a gap between them and us we are led to aspire to close. That is why we study them.
Unfortunately since most of the supreme leaders of most belief systems are deceased, I am saddened that I cannot ask them some simple questions. I want to go to the source and not a mortal’s interpretation of their words.
A couple of days ago it was brought to my attention that His Holiness the Dalai Lama was coming to my neck of the woods soon. Then I thought, “He is a good example; a kind, gentle, and very wise soul!” Here is a man who is a leader to many and of great spiritual conviction. He also lives in the world I live in, in a time I live in. He also has suffered and to a much greater extent. He is estranged from his homeland against his will. He tries to share a message of love and peace in a challenging time. Great candidate!
I know that it is none of my business, but I just want to know that the people I have read about, and those I and others revere were perhaps a bit closer. To just for a moment think we are not so distant. Hopefully I will get a chance to see the Dalai Lama when he comes here to Ohio. I just want to know if he cries, and when I do that it is okay.
(*Note - I read many things to understand them, but it does not necessarily mean a practice or endorsement of the material)
This is a re-post from Artisan of the Human Spirit