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The Spiritual Mind

The spiritual, or in the Christian tradition, the contemplative mind is a way of seeing and processing life.  Mind, in this context, is far greater than the cognitive function of thinking and problem solving.  It’s more like the Hermetic principle that “The All is Mind”.  The contemplative mind is an element of the universal .  So what are the elements of the contemplative mind? 

For me there are five:

  • Awareness
  • Living in the Moment
  • Trust and Openness
  • Embracing everything without judgment, including what is painful
  • Non-Dualism

These elements all work together.  Sometimes we’re more in one than the other – we can be aware, for example, but not trust so easily.  That’s ok because in the spirit of non-dualism, that doesn’t matter.  What is, is.  I’ll be dipping into all of them over the next few months, but although they work together, the fundamental skill is Awareness.

Awareness is spiritual literacy and my favorite proponent of awareness is Anthony de Mello.  De Mello’s book is not for the faint-hearted.  His take on awareness is uncompromising.  It demands a level of honesty that cuts through our most cherished values and beliefs and leaves us standing spiritually naked before ourselves.

Too much to jump into all at once?  Maybe we could start dabbling a little for starters.   

Any thought on awareness, what it means, how it works in your life?

Higher Purpose

Today it’s time for a rant about one of my pet peeves.  Why do ‘spiritual’ people and groups talk about ‘Higher’ so much?  Higher as in Higher Power, Higher Consciousness, Higher Purpose.  Higher presupposes lower so when I’m asked about my Higher Purpose, I always want to know what my Lower Purpose is.  

I once attended a seminar in Cork, Ireland given by a man from New Mexico called Emaho.  I don’t remember anything else about the seminar, but I remember him saying when he gets up in the morning his purpose is to brush his teeth.  I liked that very much.  Do we have to have a higher purpose, or would enjoying life in the moment be enough? 

If, like Ken Wilber puts it, spirituality is not just the rungs on the ladder but the material out of which the ladder is made, then there is no higher or lower.  Higher and lower is a duality and spiritual experience is generally accepted as being non-dualistic. 

There are things we like to do, things that fulfill us and put us in the ‘flow’, things that energize us and help us feel connected to life itself.  But that could be brushing our teeth, or digging the garden, or listening to the radio or running for president.  These give life purpose, but it’s just purpose, not higher or lower.  Just what is. 

What would life be like if we stopped thinking we must find a ‘higher’ purpose and just embraced what we’re doing right now?  Any thoughts?

Quotes for Life: Hermann Hesse

Quotes for Life: Jesse Jackson