Today’s blog explores the value of a personal, spiritual practice….and answers the great marketing question: WIFM? You will learn that you can’t afford NOT to cultivate a sound spiritual practice if you desire peace and joy in your life.
Thus says the LORD: Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season, But stands in a lava waste, a salt and empty earth. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.
Jeremiah 17: 5-9
WIFM? What is in it for me if I embrace a spiritual practice?
The first reading from today’s scripture pretty much says it all. I don’t think I have read anything that more accurately describes the contrast between a life without spiritual practice and a life that is firmly rooted in meditation, contemplation, creative endeavors….anything that is directed toward knowing God and knowing ourselves. When we give time to God in meditation, contemplation and prayer, life takes on a quality of ease, peacefulness, contentment. We are able to be present to the ebb and flow of the human condition – facing adversity, challenge, loss with a sense of surrender and peace. We are also able to celebrate the gifts of the human condition with fulfillment and joy. When we do not have our lives rooted in spiritual practice, life tosses us about like a plastic bag in the wind and life feels like a barren wasteland….stark, depressing, blech.
Fruits of Contemplation
In the Western Contemplative tradition, these benefits of sound spiritual practice are referred to as “the fruits of contemplation.” Teresa Tillson speaks of these fruits in an article she penned for the St. Olaf college website:
Jesus taught no specific method, but did regularly withdraw to be alone with God. The fruits of prayer described by Paul the Apostle are love, joy peace, patience, generosity, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, self-control, and purity. (Galatians 5:22-23). According to Thomas Keating, the fruits of centering prayer are freedom from self-centered motivation, action in service to others, a sense of interconnectedness with all creation, dis-identification with our self-image, healing of fear, conviction of our basic goodness, and capacity for union with God.
The Way of Meditation and Contemplation by Teresa Tillson http://www.stolaf.edu/people/huff/classes/religion/Essay.html
In short, spiritual practice is good for us. It helps us to be happy and to find peace. It fills us up, nourishes us, makes life palatable. If it is so good for us, why don’t we do something about it?
All Good Things, Right!?
That is a really good question. If spiritual practice is so dang good for us and centuries of teachers seem to know this, why don’t we do it? The first answer is that maybe life hasn’t yet kicked our butt enough. The second answer might be lack of motivation. The third answer might be the illusion or false perception that ” I don’t have time.” The fourth answer might be that you have never been given the tools or taught effective means of contemplation that SPEAK TO YOU. Not everyone is called to silent meditation and the rosary doesn’t speak to everyone. In the coming days and in support of the March 15th global launch of the Agape’ Project…..I hope to blast through some of the obstacles to spiritual practice, while providing you the tools and support you might need to either begin or further develop your existing practice. Because more than anything in the world…..I hope for you to know the peace, joy and love that I have discovered through sound spiritual practice and to find those things for yourself.
If you do not have a daily spiritual practice……why not?
Where do you seek more peace, fulfillment, love and joy in your life?
How are you being called to deepen your existing spiritual practice if you have one?
Authentic Freedom Ministries