The spiritual life is a life of no illusions. Meet God here in the daily realities of this life, this place, the person or task or thing before you now. Meet God here or you'll not meet God anywhere. There's something deeply false and unspiritual in the temptation to want something else, be someone else, or go somewhere other that where you are now. Some people mistakenly think that spirituality is a flight into a different realm, a rejection of the world and ordinary things. There is no other world or place than this one. And if the incarnation of God in Jesus means anything at all (and I think it does), then this world, this place, the faces before us, the streets we walk, the chores we perform, these bodies of ours are all sacred. The truth is, matter matters. And an intentional spiritual life means you live fully awake to the wonder and sacredness of it all. A true spirituality is a united, undivided self--mind, heart, and body. I'm saddened when I realize how must of my life I've spent elsewhere. Elsewhere is always fantasy, illusion, unreality. I've spent too much of my life simply "in my head" and not really in my body, not truly present. It's little wonder, then, that true love has so often escaped me--except for those moments when I found myself drawn into the exquisite pleasure of the present, intensely awake to things like the allure of a rose's fragrant scent, the wonder of a child's innocent view of the world, the glory of a drop of dew trembling precariously on a leaf and looking as if it may burst at any moment.
The narrow gate into the spiritual life you seek stands before you . . . here, now . . . through practices like meditation, contemplative prayer, and the Jesus Prayer. Many, Jesus said, will take the wide and easy road, undisciplined and nearly always pulled out of the present by the unruly thoughts in their heads. But there's nothing there for you but pain and disappointment.
- Enter through the narrow gate, walk the uncommon path.
- Plop down on the grass (or plunge into the icy, invigorating cold of a snowy field) and see and feel the world from as near the earth as you can get.
- Return to the moment over and over again and you will feel the spirit of life rising in your bones, the fire of the Spirit dancing within you saying, "Yes, Yes! More of that."
This beautiful photo comes compliments of Petra Oldeman Photography, the Netherlands.