Spiritual Practice: “… If you want to understand the stars, you will need to use a telescope. If you want to understand a molecule, you will need to use a microscope. If you want to understand the ocean, eventually, you will need to get wet. If you want to understand the spiritual nature of the world, you will need a spiritual practice …”
“… To embrace a spiritual practice is to make the journey into mystery and knowing …” ~ Jonathan Ellerby
I see through the ancient archways
the sacred door is open
in the distance a traveler comes
and from the heart of spirit
I know the journey well,
I watch the moving form, though
I cannot tell if they are coming or going
is the sun rising or setting
is it man or woman
the path shines like a thin deep river
shadows and light play tricks on the mind
but none of this matters
this is the arrival and the departure
there is only one direction:
the road is littered with scrolls and beads
talismans, scriptures, rattles, and robes
every step is sacred
and none of it matters
for the road only leads one place:
~ Jonathan Ellerby
Spiritual Practice: A Harmony with the Sacred
In the Introduction of his book, Jonathan says:
Spirituality is deeply personal, intimate, and beyond religion and dogma. It’s an experience that awakens us to a way of being.
The spiritual path is one in which we explore questions of ultimate meaning and our relationship to the most amazing mysteries of life. Through spiritual practices, we engage and expose the deepest dimensions of our identity and directly encounter a force within ourselves and this world that we can only call “Sacred.” It holds a quality that’s purely transcendent; it feels divine—expressing qualities not of this world. It’s real and life changing to encounter The Sacred, yet it’s impossible to completely explain.
The spiritual journey may sound abstract or even strange at first, but its power is as real and practical as anything else we know. Without a sense of The Sacred, life becomes small and disconnected, and our vitality diminishes. In the absence of The Sacred, fear and worry have fertile ground to take root, and we feel like something is missing. Until we return to The Sacred, we live with a longing for something more.
He goes on to talk about how spiritual practice was the sustaining factor for many of the “world’s greatest spiritual teachers:”
If spirituality is about understanding the limits and extent of our identity while awakening to the mysterious power of the universe and the Spiritual World, how then do we explore it? Many modern paths of healing will take us beyond the limits of our beliefs and self-concepts, but eventually the water deepens, and we can no longer touch the bottom with our feet. The conventional worlds of psychology and science cease to explain all that we encounter, but spiritual practice allows us to safely explore the deeper waters and can provide a lifeboat when we’re overcome by the force of the great ocean of Spirit.
When you examine the lives of the world’s greatest spiritual teachers, you’ll find that next to grace—the unexpected and spontaneous experience of the Divine—the most common factor in what created and sustained their awakened consciousness was having a spiritual practice. Each fostered and maintained their sense of connection and grace through a conscious and intentional spiritual life, built on intentional spiritual activities.
Jesus practiced the paths of service, prayer, meditation, and wilderness asceticism. The Buddha tried numerous practices before his awakening; and even after his great enlightenment, he still practiced various forms of meditation. Mohammed practiced prayer, meditation, pilgrimage, ritual, and fasting. We can go through the lists from around the world and still find that all great beings were committed to one practice or another. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Ba‘al Shem Tov, Confucius, Rumi, Guru Nanak, Black Elk, Paramahansa Yogananda, Lao-tzu, Krishnamurti, and each and every Pope all used spiritual practices. In the lives of these and similar masters, we find prayer, meditation, sacred study, wilderness contemplation, and the 12 Master Paths playing a critical and formative role. …
And, Jonathan reminds us that spiritual practice (and spirituality in general) is available everywhere and through everyone we encounter – regardless of their “spiritual merits:”
As you explore the world of spiritual practice, remember that it’s not only great masters who teach and heal. The friends and family around you are also great spiritual teachers, each expressing their truths about the world as they understand it. If you truly seek growth and healing, then respect each voice you encounter in life: neighbors, co-workers, friends, family, trees, rivers, fire, wind, and our animal relatives. Everything teaches if we’re prepared to listen with the heart. Everything sings its own song, completing the fullness of life.
And that real harmony with the sacred comes only through our own journey – regardless of our spiritual inclinations:
If you are to find your own song and harmony with The Sacred, you’ll only come to know it through the lessons and lenses of your own life. It doesn’t matter if you’re atheist or agnostic, psychic or pious, or religious or spiritual; the experience of the ultimate nature of our mysterious world is life changing and available to all. …
So it behooves us to:
… find the invitation and inspiration to awaken to a deeper experience of life and love for the transformation of yourself and the healing of the world.
You’ll see that no matter where you’re at in your personal life— high or low, rich or poor, sick or well—this is the perfect time for you to embrace a spiritual practice and discover the ever-present power of The Sacred. Everything you’ve gone through up to this very moment has been exactly what was necessary to prepare you for what comes next. You need nothing more than what you have with you right now to experience the most profound peace and wisdom of your life. …