Social isolation has made this a challenging year. Connections are fundamental to our well-being.
I have been writing about the importance of maintaining balance in life, suggesting that the development of spirit, along with mind and body, is critical to a life well-lived.
Developing spirit is about growing our capacity to experience connectivity with life. Spirit expands our circle of “We.” Its home is union, which translates to a felt “oneness.”
The central question then is how to grow such connectivity. What follows is the approach I found after years of searching. I share this not as a definitive solution but as a potential direction you may wish to explore.
I was never able to find the connectivity I was looking for in religious services, so I turned to wisdom literature in hopes it would illuminate a path. Some of my favorite sources are listed on the website under “further reading.”
As I studied, a common theme emerged:
Union lies beyond the realm of thought.
At first, I didn’t want to believe this because it suggested my approach was a dead end. Ultimately, I found this to be true.
It turned out my search was misguided, like looking for missing eye-glasses that were sitting on my head all along. Spirit is always present but often hidden in the distractions of a busy life. Stillness turned out to be my teacher.
Stillness has been practiced across cultures for thousands of years. The practice involves finding a quiet place, emptying one’s mind, and sitting in peace.
That doesn’t sound very productive, does it?
I decided to give it a serious go anyway.
I practiced for a long time. Guess what happened?
It felt like trying to move a pencil by looking at it.
Luckily, the practices were relaxing, so I continued, giving up on achieving “mystical union” or anything else.
In retrospect, practice was a lot like fishing. One can fish for hours and not catch a thing. But the moment you set your rod down to get a beer,…… boom, fish-on!
Once I stopped trying to achieve a result, I simply “dropped in!” It was an experience that doesn’t easily translate into words.
At first, it felt like an “altered” state of consciousness. I no longer feel that way. Union is not a “state” of consciousness. It’s our natural existence, obscured by layer upon layer of pre-occupation, thought, and feelings of separation.
So what does this have to do with spirit?
You might have noticed I use the term union and spirit interchangeably. That’s because, to me, they feel intertwined. Spirit leads us to union.
In sloughing off the accumulated layers of varnish experienced as a separate “Me,” awareness opened to spirit, leading to a new level of connectivity in life.
Once we experience radical connectedness. Nothing is the same.
For me, it turned out that “The Eagles” were right!
“You thought you could find happiness
Just over that green hill
You thought you would be satisfied
But you never will-
Learn to be still”
Fundamental Principle: Bringing life energies into balance.
Questions To Consider: What does awareness feel like, absent of thought?
More information including background principles, suggested reading, and a library of previous posts can be found at http://tim-coats.com