Spiritual Development

(First posted August 31, 2011)
I received an e-mail from a man asking: “Can you please give me some help to understand the importance of Spiritual Development and training?” Albeit unspecific, this is a great question. I am delighted the places my attention went at its behest.

I asked what spiritual development and training meant to him. Without knowing this, I may or may answer “his” question, I may instead answer my interpretation of it. He let me choose the meaning of his question.

Here is one answer. It is, according to my personal cosmology and how I see the world, the most germane.

Developing oneself spiritually is only important if a person is moved to unfold oneself spiritually or energetically. And then, only if the impetus to do so arises from the Mystery – rather than from another source, such as your thinking, or from outside social pressures. Without the prompt being genuine, and genuinely one’s own, and of the Mystery – spiritual development and training is wholly, completely, and unutterably irrelevant and unnecessary – FULL STOP!

To carry on with an answer would be pandering to the human personality or ego – which is itself dead set on impeding awakening of any sort, spiritual or otherwise! However, since I, too, as most, engage in such silliness, I will offer a bit more:

Recently I had the delightful privilege to sit atop a cliff and watch large birds of prey soaring and gliding on the currents of air at the cliff’s edge. After watching several vultures flying, one came along with one-fourth of the feathers on the inside trailing edge of its left wing missing. I watched it for sometime. It no doubt engaged in nuanced movements I missed, yet, it managed its maneuvers and navigated the currents and winds as well as its cohorts bearing full plumage.

Shit happens to people too. Given this, it may become important to develop and train spiritually: to carry on with a modicum of equanimity and Grace were the Mystery to send a fierce loving life altering force into one’s life. The nuanced movements of the bird of prey were NOT born out of fear, a sense of loss or rage. But instead, from a calm knowing that change is what is. Spiritual development and training will further a person’s movement toward and into such equanimity and Grace.

Spiritual development and training is the process of energetic and spiritual awakening that only works when one has genuinely committed to the process of psychological awakening too. It is the mending and clearing of old injuries and consenting to the life that is one’s own. Together these forms of awaking permit one to vacate the life the world offered and move house. To move toward and into truly living our your own life. To creatively express what is yours alone to express. To say yes to Life. To respond to the Mystery moment to moment. The Mystery is calling us ceaselessly. Few are aware of the call. Fewer still respond.

There is so much to bring to the fore around this question. That will come later in an essay which I have already begun.

Meanwhile, enjoy Mary Oliver who no doubt lives the question.

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?