Spirits In The Material World
Updated: Jul 25, 2019
Let’s begin with the premise that we possess a spirit or soul. Yes, we are physical beings with bodies that grow, change and eventually deteriorate and die. We feel pain when we stub our toe. We feel nauseous and tired when we’re sick. Our hair turns grey as we age. We enjoy the taste of food and the pleasures of sex. All these things are undeniably true. But there’s much more to our experience on earth than our physical bodies.
In order to get the most out of prayer and meditation, it’s important to accept (or at the very least consider) the idea that there is more to you than just a body made of skin and bones. Your personality, your essence, that indefinable thing called you is much more than just a bunch of molecules and atoms slamming together in a cold, random universe. You are life itself, ever expanding, striving, thriving, forever moving forward and upward through infinite changes and possibilities.
Our bodies are a part of our life experience, and should be respected and enjoyed for the pleasures they bring. But the essence of who we are as individuals comes from something else; not from our fingers and toes, but from our ideas, thoughts and feelings.
There is a spirit within you that is beyond the physical realm. There is a soul within you that craves something more than just food, sex and other physical pleasures. There is a desire deep within the human soul for understanding and enlightenment, wisdom and love. These things, love in particular, come from a place that cannot be seen, heard or touched. They can only be felt from the inner core of your being. They can only be discovered and experienced through a spiritual journey—a journey that begins with prayer and meditation.
To be clear, I am never going to try to convince you or anyone else to follow a particular religion or set of beliefs. You might already be a Christian, Jew, Muslim or Buddhist. Or perhaps you follow the teachings of Ernest Holmes and the New Thought movement. Maybe you’re an agnostic who doesn’t know what to believe because it’s all just too overwhelming and there’s no guaranteed certainty.
I believe that religion is an individual choice that should be respected by everyone. How you choose to understand and draw closer to God is entirely up to you. All the major religions grapple with the same basic questions and all have developed some degree of clarity and truth about life and God.
Wherever you fall on the religion spectrum, keep your mind open and available to new ideas and possibilities. You can’t learn anything new if you shut down your mind. You can’t see the sunrise with blindfolded eyes. The most important thing when starting on a new journey—especially a spiritual journey!—is to keep an open mind and heart. Test new ideas. Consider new information. Find what works and disregard what doesn’t work.
It’s important to remember that no one has a monopoly on the truth when it comes to religion and spirituality. Yes, there are religious leaders and cultist who will claim they have a direct line to God and only they know the truth. But usually people who make such claims have something to sell or are seeking power and fame.
One of the great elements of Buddhism is an emphasis on belief in the teaching, not the teacher. No matter how charismatic, entertaining, attractive or wise a teacher might be, it’s crucial not to become trapped in a cult of personality where the person teaching becomes more important than the teaching itself.
History is filled with the tragic consequences of people following a mesmerizing personality to the gates of hell. Learn from others wherever you can. But recognize when a teacher is offering wisdom and love instead of demanding conformity and blind loyalty.
The most important teacher you will ever find is you. Learn to trust your own inner voice. Follow your own spiritual quest instead of adhering to what someone else is telling you. Yes, there are many things you can learn from other people, and I hope I can offer a few kernels of wisdom that will help you move forward in your journey. But you have an inner voice that will teach and guide you more than you can imagine.
There is a spirit within you connected to the infinite. The sage you seek is closer than your own breath. As you move forward and learn more, always listen to the inner voice within you. From your inner voice, you will discover your true spirit as your travel through the physical world.
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