Cultivating a Spiritual Daily Practice
The purpose of cultivating a spiritual practice is to enhance God-like qualities within oneself. This blog post discusses some of these qualities, such as desire (for the truth), commitment, and compassion. To cultivate a spiritual practice is to understand the result of such a practice. As our inner self develops, it then begins to resonate on an outer level, reflecting back to us the results of the liberation of our ego.
This approach of going within stands in stark contrast to the way in which many people operate in their daily lives. If they encounter adversity in their life, then they manipulate the outer circumstance or the individual(s) involved to make the adverse situation go away. If someone wrongs us, then we defend against the wrongdoing, or we allow ourselves to remain in victimization until we are in a state of helplessness. But manipulating something outside of us to appease the small underdeveloped ego is not part of cultivating a spiritual practice.
A good example that I witness frequently in my counseling practice is the woman (or man) who tries to make her partner jealous in order to make him respond to her differently or attend to her. She manipulates the man in order not to feel her rejected self or not to feel unworthy of love. A woman who is practicing spiritually will, at the point of feeling unattended, go within herself to explore where that feeling is arising from. If it is coming out of a sense of unworthiness, then she will be present with that unworthiness out of compassion for that part of her self, or she will challenge the illusion that she is indeed unworthy.
The spiritual practice and the development of inner character involve, first, our desire for the truth, which in turn sets us on our spiritual path. In “Apocalypse of the Mind,” I speak of the desire quality: It is our desire for transformation and truth that begins to bring about the events that support this change in direction.
The second attribute to develop in order to maintain a spiritual practice is courage. It takes courage to look within and see our darkness that arises from our shadowed selves. These are aspects of ourselves that are not ego enhancing.
Another attribute to develop in spiritual practice is commitment. It takes commitment to stay present with our fears and be in the vulnerability. Commitment is needed when we enter into the Integrative Consciousness (ego transformation) stages that I discuss in the “Apocalypse of the Mind” and have talked about in previous blogs. The perseverance to keep going when the going gets tough is an important attribute in maintaining a daily spiritual practice.
Compassion is the most important attribute to develop. Compassion is the ability to open your heart to all evil. Evil is defined as all that a person separates from his self or her self, that is, what a person sees as being outside of his self or her self. One can achieve and maintain compassion through daily meditations.
Melissa Lowe, Ph.D. is a Psychological Depth therapist and teacher of mindfulness and meditative practices. Her office is located in Newton, MA.