Posts Tagged ‘spiritual path’

Until Your Last Breath

August 9, 2011

In a talk this week at the Self-Realization Fellowship World Convocation in Los Angeles, a monk recalled how more than thirty years before, the senior monk in charge of training the new monastic initiates inspired him with these words:

I pray with all my heart that with my last breath I (more…)

Finally Home

August 6, 2011

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, site of the annual Self-Realization Fellowship Convocation

It’s Convocation Eve, the Saturday night before the annual, weeklong Self-Realization Fellowship World Convocation commences at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. Arriving at the Westin always feels like a homecoming, like I’ve stumbled upon an oasis of peace, love and devotion hidden away among six-lane freeways and towering skyscrapers.

At a meeting for volunteers, an SRF monastic who has been in the order for more than fifty years, related the story of how he came to the organization. He had shown up a few minutes late for his first service in the small chapel inside the SRF International Headquarters atop Mount Washington in Los Angeles. The first thing he saw was devotees pranaming. His first thought was, “This is weird.” Yet at the same time, he felt a deep peace and (more…)

Only By Loving Do We Wake to Love

July 28, 2011

Hugh Prather

I find it interesting that those who profess to be spiritually awake are often just as asleep at the wheel as people who don’t have a clue that they don’t have a clue about life. Spirituality encourages direct contact with God; yet, without a disciplined commitment to self-awareness, seekers on the road to truth may miss the turn for humility and veer off toward arrogance.

I came across a thought-provoking essay by Hugh Prather about this phenomenon. Hugh discusses the role of the ego as it relates to the spiritual path in the context of the A Course in Miracles teachings. But his observations apply to spirituality in general. Here are some excerpts:

The day you started your spiritual path, your ego started it also, and for every spiritual motive you have, there is an ego motive as well. This is not reason to be afraid, but it is reason to be more aware.

Those individuals we know intimately who we believe are close to being awake, seem to have no interest in (more…)

Devotion + Dedication = Enlightenment

December 16, 2010

A religious or spiritual path that demands that I  follow an external set of rules based on the experience of others does not appeal to me. I value paths that encourage me to seek my own experiences through inner exploration and discovery.

Many a doctrine is like a window pane. We see truth through it but it divides us from truth.
Kahlil Gibran

Sufism is one such path. Guidance is required but it is up to the spiritual seeker to do the work necessary to gain enlightenment. Click here for my video interview on the principles of Sufism with Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe, the leader of the Shadhiliyya Sufi order in the United States, and the founder of both the Shadhiliyya Sufi Center and the University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism.

Self-Realization Fellowship is another path that demands much of its followers. As founder Paramahansa Yogananda said in a Thursday evening talk at the Self-Realization Fellowship temple in Encinitas, California, some sixty years ago:

Most religions try to hold followers by rousing their emotions or intellect, or insisting on blind belief in theological dogma. But the Masters of India hold you by (more…)

Walk, Don’t Run

August 28, 2010

Walking a spiritual path is called just that for a reason. It’s not called running a spiritual path. It takes time to drink in new ideas, to integrate them into your perspective and consciousness, and most importantly, to reflect them in your relationships with God and with others. I like how Paramahansa Yogananda conveyed the importance of patience for spiritual aspirants:

A thirsty man coming upon a lake craved to swallow all its waters. Naturally, he could not drink more than his stomach would hold. Likewise, many thirsty seekers of limited understanding sit by the lake of truth and aspire to drink all of its vast waters and contain all of its mysteries. They do not understand even this truth: that to swallow (more…)

Losing Sight of the Shore

July 3, 2010

Travel far enough on your spiritual path, and you will reach a crossroads. You will have to choose between retreating to the safety and comfort of life as you knew it, or severing all ties with that existence and forging bravely ahead into the vast unknown.

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.
Andre Gide

This does not necessarily mean you must bid farewell to the life you have lived; but it does mean that you are genuinely (more…)

Dying at the Right Moment

April 4, 2010

As you progress on your spiritual path and the ego’s power diminishes, so too does the fear of death, both consciously and unconsciously.

Everyone is so afraid of death, but the real sufis just laugh: nothing tyrannizes their hearts. What strikes the oyster shell does not damage the pearl.

At the body’s final breath, the God-illumined soul discards its (more…)

Believing Is Seeing

March 16, 2010

Walk your spiritual path in faith and you will notice evidence of universal laws at work that reinforces this radical new way of seeing and being in the world. As your field of vision expands, your mindset shifts from “I’ll believe it when I see it” to “I’ll see it when I believe it.”

Faith is to believe what we do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.
Saint Augustine

That statement is not equivalent to “If I believe it, it must be true.” Your beliefs will only be made manifest if they are in harmony with universal law. As your awareness continues to grow, all doubt is removed and the ideas you once questioned or even ridiculed you now know to be true.

We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey (more…)

The Universe Will Make Arrangements

March 15, 2010

As you walk your spiritual path, be kind to yourself and do not get discouraged when you slip up. Taking two steps forward and one step back still moves you in the right direction. When you are ready to learn more, the universe will make arrangements and the appropriate opportunities will present themselves.

Going slowly does not prevent arriving.
Nigerian proverb

As awareness grows, you realize that there is never a time when you are not presented with such opportunities, because you are always ready to take a step forward.

Don’t go through life, grow through life.
Eric Butterworth

Every step forward leads to another step, and another step beyond that. Shove (more…)

Be Kind to Yourself

November 29, 2009

Not long ago, I shared a table at the raw food restaurant I frequent with a handful of friends, one of whom was a woman who was relatively new to the concept of a raw food diet. After hearing some of our stories, she enthusiastically announced that she was going to go 100 percent raw the very next day. Gently, I told her that going raw was not as simple as it sounded, that it typically took two to three years to make the transition, and that she was setting herself up for certain failure.

I bet you can relate to that woman. Who among us hasn’t excitedly started an exercise program, changed our diet, started a spiritual path or leapt into any other self-improvement effort with high hopes and stars in our eyes? And who among us hasn’t raised the white flag after a few days, a few weeks or a few months and slunk away defeated and disappointed in ourselves?

The pattern is always the same. You (more…)

God’s Fingerprints

October 24, 2008

When you’re going through a rough patch, it’s easy to feel alone, abandoned, and scared of what lies ahead. And yet, if you believe that you are one with God, that you co-create whatever comes into your life, and that everything happens for a reason, then it follows that hardships are nothing more than course corrections on your spiritual path. It may take some time and distance, but if you look closely enough you will see God’s fingerprints everywhere.

Granted, this may be difficult to do in the midst of an emotional maelstrom. Still, the instant you (more…)