The Seven Spiritual Practices: A Path of Devotion
Mystics all share the common thread of having a direct experience of God that transforms them from one perception of the world to another; what Christians refer to as a born again experience. This experience includes a shift of living out of the mental realm of judgment, figuring things out, naming and organizing, linear thinking, living and projecting our thoughts onto the world to living from the Eternal Heart where Love directs the mystic.
This shift happens in one of two ways — through Grace prompted usually by what we would refer to as a “tragedy,” like a near death experience or the death of a loved one. This is a wake up through a shock in the physical body which rearranges and completely changes how one sees their life on planet earth. The other way of transforming is a drip method where spiritual practice is engaged in as a discipline and little-by-little the individual becomes more attune to the Higher Dimensions and awakens as Buddhism would describe like a blossoming lotus flower.
The major religions share seven spiritual practices in common; all of them existing with the intention of opening the heart and allowing Divine or Agape Love to become our operating system:
- Meditation. Quieting the mind and developing internal spaciousness to receive is gained through a regular spiritual practice of meditation. Meditation is SO good for the nervous system of the body and for success in business that it is used in secular settings quite efficiently. The Christian Bible says, “be still and know I am God.”
- Prayer. The dictionary says prayer is a cry for help or a hope for something different. This sort of prayer is for the beginner where God is an object. As a person advances their practices, prayer becomes a verbal tool of aligning one to “God’s will,” or to the “Will of Divine Love.” I include gratitude in the practice of prayer. Prayer is an alignment technology.
- Service. Service heals the heart and reveals the Presence of God in ways unexpected. It brings people together who may not have ever met, humbling both parties, and creating a brotherhood/sisterhood between someone we may have once labeled “other.” Service is the doingness of the Divine Love on the planet.
- Acceptance. The Eastern religions refer to this practice as acceptance and the Western folks call it forgiveness. What is forgiveness at its essence but accepting what is and with new eyes possibly even becoming grateful for an experience once labeled “bad.”
- Giving. For Christians, financial giving takes the form of a 10 percent tithe. This is recognized by some as a ‘goal’ and by others as training wheels or a start to learning how to living a life of giving. In the Eastern practice, more than ten percent is given as the most valued commodity is the manna of God which comes through a spiritual lineage and teaching.
- Community. The Catholics refer to community as the Communion of Saints honoring both those in and out of body. In Hinduism and Buddhism it is referred to as a “sangha” or a group of those who have taken spiritual vows. I have become fascinated on how spiritual communities have formed on-line throughout the world in a different way, yet as solid, as the communities who meet in the flesh.
- Study. I see an image of our Jewish brethren when I say study; yet all religions engage in the ongoing study of a sacred scripture or of the insights of those were changed by the scripture.
Today I experience the sadness that comes with perceived loss. I am mourning how I have seen and known the United States. It feels to me like the leveling of a beloved home or community building with the use of dynamite. The disruption feels harsh and quick. My body has responded by not feeling safe; so my spiritual practices have taken on a deeper and more intimate tone. It is a practice of the Spirit of God within me loving the embodied me so deeply this Divine Love cradles me. I am learning God is my Comfort; The Great Comforter. It’s beautiful. Isn’t it interesting that when the world needs me the most; my body does too? And, of course they are the same.
Be Gentle with Yourself and Keep Loving,
P.S. Beginning Monday, Reverend Bonnie is offering a Facebook Live 30 Day Master Mind Group. If you have One Thing you’d like to be sure is accomplished or moved toward in the month of July you will want to join this group. For more information click here.