by Harriet, Editor-At-Large
Develop the understanding, thought patterns, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness and concentration conducive to happiness and enlightenment, serenity, compassion, self responsibility and wisdom.
Some Catholic traditions have very clear exercises and processes for becoming more at one with God. They have various series of readings, retreats, liturgies, etc which are understood to promote a particular understanding and ways of thinking that resonates with their beliefs and supports their institution.
Reformed and evangelical traditions do similarly. But what of those who find the traditions stultifying or that they take them away from their calling?
From where I am now I think in terms of fruits of the spirit: love, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control. Spirituality provides a way to these and to happiness, enlightenment and serenity ( three words that encapsulate that deep sense of God’s presence and peace that comes from being at one in the Presence), of compassion, of self responsibility and wisdom.
So it is a matter of being disciplined in developing the thought patterns, mindfulness and concentration, so we can make time to do what needs to be done (action) in our life’s work (livelihood and effort).
At its best life becomes a joy (in the Christian tradition, abundant life), despite day to day and long term difficulties, and we feel we are living in the way we are called to be.
If despite believing you are doing the right thing you find yourself deeply dissatisfied then it is time to rethink one or all of the above. If you aren’t getting the results you want you will need to do something different. It may be time for a change of direction. Or it is possible that the direction you are moving is not right for you, though it might have been once, or it might be right for someone else, but not you.
Spirituality, the practice of the presence of God in your day to day life will make you aware of changes you need to make. Always stay open to the need to change, but bear in mind that change will bring long and short term consequences and think those through thoroughly to avoid jumping from the frying pan into the fire.