How Does One Sustain a Spiritual Outlook?

Sunrise at Goblin Valley

A friend recently asked me, “How does one sustain their spirituality?” The answer to that question will be somewhat different for each person. Some may say that participation in religious practice and/or community are needed to sustain one’s spirituality. Those things can have role, but what we’re addressing here is a continuity of spirituality throughout everyday of our lives.

For me, spirituality is not only a way of living, but also a state of mind. It is that state of mind or spiritual presence that is the key to sustaining one’s spirituality. In some ways it is like being in a constant state of prayer or contact with God and the spiritual realm.

As we move through our day, we should always be silently expressing our gratitude and thanks for every little thing we see, experience, and receive. We should strive to always be present and to take notice of the many expressions and beauty of God all around us. We should allow feelings of love and compassion to come forth naturally, unfiltered by the intellect or prejudice.

When we do these things; when we allow our spirit to express and commune with God and His holy spirits, we find ourselves in a constant state of grace, happiness, and bliss.

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Disasters: An Awakening

Spiritual Awakening
Artist unknown

With regard to those directly affected by disasters such as the recent hurricanes and the earthquakes in Mexico, I think it’s important to maintain the right perspective. These events can lead to great suffering and many people lost all of their possessions. But in the midst of this, it is important for those directly affected to reflect and give thanks to God for what was, for what and who survived, and for what will be, going forward.

After the devastation of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines some years back, a journalist came upon a man standing in front of a pile of rubble that was once his home. He asked the man how he felt about the destruction. The man simply said, “Blessings, [God’s] blessings.”

These events often bring out the best in people. It’s as if they have had a spiritual awakening or renewal and realized who they really are and how they are intended to live. We heard about neighbors helping neighbors and how volunteers flooded into devastated areas to help any way they could. Others organized or contributed to the collection of relief supplies.

These acts of love and compassion are expressions of one’s spirit. They give us joy and happiness like nothing else can. For some, experiencing a disaster is a life-changing experience and they make a commitment to always help people whenever they can as they go forward with their lives. For others, their old ways of living quickly return and sadly, an opportunity for spiritual transformation is lost.

 

It’s Been a While

Indian Summer by Sergey Lutsenko httpwww.picture-russia.ruenpicture46977

 

#weekendcoffeeshare

It’s been a while since I last joined you for coffee. I have been busy preparing my new book for publication in paperback and as an eBook. It was a substantial project that is now complete. Yay!

Hopefully, I will find my way back into writing again soon. After completing a book project, there is often a concern as to whether you still have more to write about. It’s kind of like when you have been engaged in a long conversation with someone about something and you both suddenly find yourselves in an uncomfortable, awkward silence wondering where the conversation should go next.

Anyway, it’s good to be free of major projects so my mind is free to wander. I look forward to seeing what you guys have been up to.

Spirits Calling

sun-through-trees

Upon leaving the gym today I was compelled to stop by a small grove of trees. As I looked up into the branches with flashes of the sun passing through on the breeze, I felt so much love. Love for the beautiful trees and love from the trees.

I felt a presence welcoming me to a meditation. It was a remarkably sublime feeling of calm, contentment, and fulfillment. It was a wonderful moment that I did not want to end.

I have walked past those trees hundreds of times without noticing them. But this day I heard them call to me and say, “Come stay a while and let us commune with God and feel His love.”

You might also like to see the following related articles:

Spirit’s Answer to My Prayer

The Golden Morning

Sentinels of Peace

 

The Scientific Aesthetic

Lightning Storm Over the Grand Canyon Copyright by Rolph Maeder, Photography Sedona

Lightning Storm Over the Grand Canyon
Copyright by Rolph Maeder, Photography Sedona

#weekendcoffeeshare 9/17/16

If we were having coffee, I would tell you how I wanted to be a scientist since about the age of ten or eleven. Unlike most children who declare a vocation at such a young age, I never lost sight of the goal and did indeed become a scientist (now retired).

But the other day I was thinking about what it was that kept my dream alive from childhood to fruition as an adult. I mean how many young kids who say they want to be a fireman actually do it? What I realized was that I had an abiding wonder and fascination with all of the mysteries of nature. Science was a tool to reveal its secrets.

As a young boy, I wanted to explore many and varied aspects of the natural world and science. For a time I was an avid mineralogist. I made many expeditions into the creek bed behind the apartments where I lived. My holy grail was to find a geode; I never found one but found some petrified wood instead. I was disappointed at the time, but years later realized how cool and unusual that find was.

I had an inexpensive microscope and peered into the previously unseen details of all sorts of things from hair to bugs and leaves. When the Russians launched Sputnick in 1957, the first satellite, I became fascinated with rockets and space travel. Yes…of course, I fabricated my own rocket. It was a unique home design made from an aluminum pipe with balsa wood tail fins and a crude fuel made with chemicals in my chemistry set. Back then the sets included the components needed to make gun powder—oops.

I realized in retrospect that my design was badly flawed— more like a dangerous firework than a rocket— but it did manage a few flights of maybe 50 feet up before the aluminum could no longer withstand the blast. Thank God my brother and I had the good sense to run like hell when the fuse was lit!

As time went on, I began to develop a pantheistic view of the world. My vision moved beyond practical, objective aspects of my surroundings to a more aesthetic appreciation.

Into middle age, my relationship with science and nature became more inspirational and spiritual, and less investigative. Rather than study and analyze nature, I wanted to experience it. Rather than simply being a refuge from daily life, the natural world became a celebration of the diversity of life—something sacred to be revered, loved, and protected.

Thus, I have come full circle; once again I have that innocent sense of wonder and I am amazed and thrilled by the incredible beauty and complexity of the natural world around me, just as I was as a young boy growing up.

You might like to see the following related articles:

Just So…

The Golden Morning

Nature: A More Expansive Spirituality

The Battle Against Evil

Michael Defeating the Fallen Angels By Luca Giordano – 1660-1665, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1855147

Michael Defeating the Fallen Angels
By Luca Giordano – 1660-1665, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1855147

The world today seems to be in the firm grip of evil. The advent of terrorism is perhaps the most outstanding indicator of this but the widespread badness, selfishness, greed, and lack of compassion among society are other important bellwethers. Understandably, the majority of people feel powerless against many of the evil forces.

The prayer below is a call for help and protection that is very salient to current circumstances. I urge everyone to say this prayer (or your own version of it) as part of your daily devotions.

Prayer for Delivery from Evil
(based in part on the Prayer to St. Michael)

Heavenly Father,

I wish to call upon the Heavenly Hosts to defend us and fight with us in our battle against evil.

I ask that they be our protection against all evil spirits and evil doers in this world.

Send the Heavenly Hosts, I humbly pray
by your power, to thrust Satan into hell along with all evil spirits
who wander through the world for the ruin and confusion of souls
and keep them there so as to remove their negative influences on the people of the world.

And so that the darkness that they created will dissipate
Revealing your wonderful sacred light
That can then, once again, shine upon all of humanity
Drawing all of humanity closer to you.

Lord hear my prayer!

You might like to also see the following related articles:

A Letter to God

Spiritual Lawlessness

A Path from Darkness

Path Out of Darkness

Path from Darkness

…and Spirit told me: Do not be consumed with fear and regret for past sins. Neither should your transgressions be dismissed nor forgotten. Repent, but recognize them as lessons to be learned and do not repeat them. Use them to move forward and fuel your resolve to rise to higher levels of spiritual understanding and virtue.

You might like to see the following related articles:

Spirit’s Answer to My Prayer

How is My Divine Self Revealed?

What is Spiritual Awareness?