Beliefnet
Awake in the World

“Patient and regular practice is the whole secret of spiritual realization. Do not be in a hurry in spiritual life. Do your utmost, and leave the rest to God.” – Swami Shivananda

In American culture we want our desires fulfilled NOW! The practice of patiently waiting for the right timing and place for things to happen has slipped away. When our ancestors lived closer to nature, we were attuned to the rhythm of days and seasons without computers, clocks and cell phones measuring out the seconds. We were better able to understand the power in the process of waiting.

In nature seeds are planted in fall or early spring. Soil is tended and the seeds are watered and labored over long before the first shoots poke through the earth. An impatient gardener will want to dig down to the seeds and see what’s going on beneath the surface. But if he gives into that desire, he’ll disturb the growth and possibly kill the sprouting seedlings. The wise gardener plants the seeds and has faith that they are growing out of sight in the darkness. While he patiently tends to weeds and waters the surface, the seeds will take root and grow into potatoes, a pear tree or whatever he has planted.

Consider the seeds you’ve planted or are planting.  This is like karma. What we plant today in thoughts words and actions will grow into events in our lives tomorrow. To make the waiting process easier, it’s possible to tend to the details. What can you do to fertilize the space and make it ready for the seedlings? Can you bring more positive energy into today? What do you need to do to tend to the seedlings wisely so that the good seeds will grow? Good thoughts, good words and good actions will bring about a good harvest in the right time.

Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at http://www.debramoffitt.com and http://www.awakeintheworld.com.

Wisdom or jnana, in Sanskrit, is a spiritual path recognized by ancient wisdom traditions. It means using inquiry, contemplation and reflection to discover the Truth. Truth with a capital “T” relates to the absolute, unchanging reality. Two kinds of truth exist. Relative truth may change with time. I may say, “The grass is green.” It is true now, but tomorrow it may turn brown due to drought or frost. Absolute Truth seeks to find the deep unchanging, all abiding Truth that is the same throughout time. For me, this is spiritual truth. The body changes and will be shed like an old pair of jeans. The mind will waver too. But the Spirit remains the same in all periods – past, present and future.

I love words and etymology. Sanskrit is a very ancient language that retains much purity. Truth in Sanskirt is “sathya.” The root of is “sat” which means “existence” or “being.” Going deep and contemplating the nature of existence is a practice to connect with the Divine in the form that speaks to you. This deep inquiry into the nature of life and what is real and unchanging is a powerful and profound way to open doors of inner wisdom.

Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2011) She’s a world traveler and longtime student of the world’s oldest spiritual traditions. An instructor at the Sophia Institute, Debra leads workshops on spirituality in the U.S. and Europe, writes for publications around the world. Visit her at: www.awakeintheworld.com and www.debramoffitt.com.

If someone hits you or insults you at work will you consider it a blessing? Jain monks and lay people strive to live the ideal of complete imperturbability even if attacked. The underlying feeling is one of “whatever happens today, I accept it with calm serenity. I am at peace with the world.” This feeling of equal-mindedness views all situations and events with forbearance and evenness-mindedness. Equanimity is the aim regardless of the situation. It’s akin to the notion of spiritual surrender.

The Jains tell a story: If a house burns, instead of lamenting the woman inside it remarks, “With no roof to obstruct the view I can now see the stars.” The perspective is one of looking for the good in the worst and most painful situation. If someone loses her temper and you become the target of harsh words and insults, the wise ones advise us to disregard the cruel words and not take them to heart. But they take it farther and suggest we not get angry when beaten and to even refrain from hurtful thoughts. Rely on patience and endure with peace in the heart. They suggest the ideal attitude should be, “If I am hurt, it could be worse. I could have lost my life.”

Can you imagine many people taking this path? What if we did? What if when someone spoke sharply we responded calmly without harsh words in return? What if when someone insulted us instead we reacted with a quiet outpouring of love rather than the usual stream of returned insults? This would radically and profoundly transform our world right now!

Imagine a world where even a small percentage of people act with conscious self-control, where instead of reacting, people hold fast to their inner peace and remain anchored there even through the hurtful and hateful insults. What a revolution! For today, will you make that imagined dream your conscious reality? Become part of that peaceful revolution.

Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at http://www.debramoffitt.com and http://www.awakeintheworld.com.

“Spirit is an invisible force made visible in all life.”  – Maya Angelou

What does it mean to live a spiritual life, why do we do it and how, are some of the questions that call to anyone seeking a sense of purpose and meaning. Spiritual life attests to the power of the human spirit to expand beyond the limited physical capabilities of the body. Some people with handicaps or extremely debilitating illnesses seem to soar with joy above their physical limitations. Other people moan at the slightest dis-ease. Living a spiritual life means connecting with God in whatever way or form is right for each individual. For some people this is through an organized religion. For others this is through contact with nature, through volunteer work, parenting, or work. The Buddhist tradition doesn’t refer to another being or divinity as separate and apart, but finds the Divine in experience and through taming and training the mind and through teachers. The ways are as many as there are people in this world. The Native America view of the world sees all as sacred and spiritual. It’s not possible to go somewhere or do something without the Divine being an essential part of it. God is above you, below you, around you and inside you, one teacher says.

I find God speaks clearly to me in nature. Watching the trees bud and turn green with leaves, observing the cardinals feed their babies and the herons grieve when they lose their nests teaches me about the ephemeral nature of the physical world. It also teaches about the rhythms and cycles of birth, life and death. Everything has a time and rhythm that happens in an almost imperceptible way, but all is infused with deep purpose. When living life as a spiritual experience, everything becomes a way to learn and grow – even the most painful and difficult events are filled with opportunities.

What helps you to connect most with the Divine every day?

Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2011) She’s a world traveler and longtime student of the world’s oldest spiritual traditions. An instructor at the Sophia Institute, Debra leads workshops on spirituality in the U.S. and Europe, writes for publications around the world. Visit her at: www.awakeintheworld.com and www.debramoffitt.com.

 

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