Solitude is necessary for your emotional health, whether you are living alone or with another. Solitude gives you the time and space to integrate your experience. And all growth depends on integration. Without solitude, spiritual nourishment will be lacking. If you want a single cause for the amount of distress in the world, it is the fact that people do not take time to commune with self, nature and the divine. A spiritual life — a life free of needless tension and self-created suffering — requires such communion.
Summer Blessings, dear friends! Vacation season is here and many of us are traveling in the literal sense during these months. Opportunities for rest, relaxation, and fun are real gifts, and we enjoy visiting new places and exploring unfamiliar surroundings. As we travel in the world, our spiritual journey is ongoing as well, down at the heart of everything. It's wonderful to have opportunities to enjoy all we see and hear and taste and feel outwardly, but let us also be attentive to what is happening on the inner path. Inner and outer often overlap, and we may become aware of marvelous cues and synchronicities in the outer world that offer opportunities for much growth and progress on our inner journey.
Much of life…is about awakening to the interior experience. In our day-to-day living, we come to see how all of our physical journeying is not simply a temporal exercise, a transitory, earthly trek, but increasingly points to a shared and liberating inner passage . . . As Christianity and all the great religious traditions of the world testify, our surface-level living is the symbolic acting out of a deep inward pilgrimage leading to -- and beyond -- the gates of the heart.
There comes a time in the spiritual journey when you start making choices from a very different place . . . And if a choice lines up so that it supports truth, health, happiness, wisdom, and love, it’s the right choice.
Everything we need for growing into a full, rich relationship with God is already available in our lives. We need to pray, stay open, and not become discouraged. A spiritual journey is not a competitive event; we can all be on a spiritual quest. God comes to each of us in the native language of our soul. Gradually the language grows and expands, but no one grows in just the same way as someone else. We need to accept ourselves as we are and keep ourselves open to being changed and shaped by a life lived in growing intimacy with God.
from JEWISH SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE by Carol Ochs and Kerry M. Olitzky
The outer path we take is public knowledge, but the path with heart is an inner one. The two come together when who we are that is seen in the world coincides with who we deeply are. As we grow wiser, we become aware that the important forks in the road are usually not about choices that will show up on any public record; they are decisions and struggles to do with choosing love or fear; anger or forgiveness; pride or humility. They are soul-shaping choices.
from CRONES DON’T WHINE by Jean Shinoda Bolen, thanks to Liz Stewart
From the forest branches fading birdsong offered Self-sacrifice to a huge silence. Dark formlessness settled over all diversity Of land and water. As shadows, as particles, my body Fused with endless night. I came to rest At the altar of the stars. Alone, amazed, I stared Upwards with hands clasped and said, "Sun, you have removed Your rays: show now your loveliest, kindlier form That I may see the Person who dwells in me as in you."
We may enjoy an experience of God that is so delightful that we may think all our troubles are over and we have at last completed the journey. Then after a few hours or a few days we find ourselves on the spiral staircase again and cannot even remember the pleasures of that transient experience of divine union. The whole purpose of this alternation is to bring the soul to the total transformation of love.
from FRUITS AND GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT by Thomas Keating
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