At times, it can feel as if the demands of physical life keep us so busy struggling to survive that there is no time for the mystic pursuits of spirituality. And yet, there is a way to live as a mystic in the mainstream of life, dancing gracefully between these seemingly opposite worlds.
We are not just physical bodies rushing through life; we are timeless spiritual beings experiencing life in the physical realm. And to thrive, we need to learn how to operate in both worlds: the world of the unseen Presence and the world of manifest physicality. We need to learn how to coexist in the realm of the timeless Now as well as the realm of linear time. Together, these realms offer us boundless gifts and opportunities for personal growth.
Shamans refer to this interface between realms as walking between the worlds: learning to live in both the realms of the timeless invisible and the manifest world. Walking between the world implies action, for it is not an abstract intellectual process. We come to understand life by experimenting and experiencing, not just by passive intellectual pursuit.
How do we become better at this process of living as mystics in the mainstream of life? Here are three guidelines to consider:
- Review and integrate the learning from your experiences so far.
Making peace with the past is important because it can empower and orient us in the present. A periodic review of our path offers the chance to release what is no longer appropriate in order to make space for the values and actions that can empower our future.
This process requires us to be ruthlessly honest and vigilant with ourselves. Where have we excelled? Where can we improve?
One of the subtle pitfalls on the spiritual journey that requires vigilance to purge from our lives is entitlement. You know, that sense of false righteousness that demands that Spirit bestows on us the things we desire, because we think we deserve them. We don’t even need to be followers of the prosperity gospel to fall for this trap, because it appeals to the ego in all of us.
Entitlement is an egoic illusion! Life gives us what we need, not necessarily what we want.
Spirit knows exactly what we need for our learning and growth. Entitlement, on the other hand, operates from the false premise that we know better than Spirit what we need and that we cannot trust in the loving care of a benevolent Creator. It is driven by fear and arrogance instead of trust and faith.
Because entitlement is driven by ego, it insatiable and cannot lead to long-term happiness. The key to happiness is not entitlement, but gratitude.
We are not our neighbors; therefore, the things they need for their growth are not the same as what we need. To fully trust, we need to let go of what we want, and to instead learn to embrace what we are given with gratitude.
2. Clarify and prioritize what is most important to your life right now.
Your unique life, in this very moment, is all you have. What is it you desire to accomplish with this precious gift? What is the legacy you wish to leave behind after you have passed from here?
So often, I hear people saying that they want to have more joy and happiness in their lives. They think that once they have more joy, they will be more grateful.
In reality, it works the other way around. The root of joy is gratitude: It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful!
We have thousands of opportunities every day to be grateful: enjoying good weather, having a good night’s rest, being able to walk and talk and express ourselves, having a functional body, having enough food to eat… night and day, life rains down gifts on us without us even asking. Had we been more fully aware of this, we’d be overwhelmed by gratitude!
Instead, we often shuffle through life in a daze until we are jerked back to reality by the loss of things we’d taken for granted. A power failure can make us aware of what a gift electricity is; a sprained ankle lets us appreciate the freedom of walking; an illness renews our appreciation for health; a sleepless night brings appreciation for the gift of sleep.
Instead of noticing the gifts of life only when suddenly deprived of them, we can bring awareness to these things and cultivate an attitude of gratitude instead.
3. Identify what is yearning to emerge in your life and take appropriate action.
When we fully live from the present moment, where we are aware of our place in both the seen and unseen realms, miracles can start to happen.
The soul’s yearning for more can be heard whenever we turn inward to listen.
We can let this yearning find expression in our lives by looking for what is meaningful, what we need to actualize our potential.
We can support the unfoldment of our potential by leaning into life and becoming an active participant in the process.
Along the way, we can cultivate an attitude of gratitude to keep our hearts open and to avoid the pernicious trap of entitlement.
We can remember that we are on this journey to experiment, experience and become – not to win or lose!
And we can muster the courage to follow our passion, knowing that through the failures, setbacks and challenges of the journey, we are evolving into our full potential.
About the Author
©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit http://adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.