There are certain pieces that I keep going back to. This piece below by Robert Augustus Masters is one of them. I had shared this on facebook some time back and whenever I revisit it, it speaks to me deeply. In many ways it has become a part of the fabric of my being. Rather, it has revealed an aspect of who I am at a deeper level when I am aware.
One of my favorite teachers, Gay Hendricks (see also ‘What dreams may come’), has written a beautiful book, ‘At the Speed of life’. In that he says something to the effect of, ‘..we could all do with not ‘speaking’ about spirituality for maybe a thousand years. At the very least, the people speaking about it need to be in the grip of that ecstasy…’ Being with that silence, that incredible beauty of the moment and speaking from there is so different from mouthing platitudes. Cliches. What my friend Raj Mali posted as a note in facebook recently.. the syrupy ‘spirituality’.. which is so far from authentic being.
One day I realised that ‘talking’ often gives us a vicarious feeling of living what we talk -we compensate by talking more about that which we aspire to live than what we are actually living. That which we have integrated into our lives and we ‘walk’, we dont talk much about. Certainly that which we talk ‘excessively’ about is something that we are really trying to convince ourselves to walk rather than others.
So here is the beautiful, masterful 😉 piece by Robert Augustus Masters. I am sure you will enjoy this. (Also came to me through my dear friend, Jim Spivey, http://www.revolutionconsulting.com)
When the Spiritual Life really begins.. in the richness of the present
When your honeymoon with spirituality ends — and it will end, marked by the arrival of STDs (spiritually-transmitted disappointments) — and when your affair with being spiritually correct and spiritually “in-style” runs dry, you may say so long to spirituality, but it is a premature goodbye.
Disillusionment with spirituality is not only inevitable, it is also necessary, so that spirituality might be thoroughly de-glamorized. When that disillusionment has had its say–cynicism’s couch now being no more than a pain in the butt–and when your fear of re-entering the spiritual no longer frightens or disturbs you, your spiritual life really begins.
Most of the books will be gone; the ones that remain will feel like old friends you don’t tire of revisiting, even if only for a page or two every couple of months. Most of the practices will also be gone; the ones that remain will feel as natural to slip into as your favorite jeans or T-shirt, at ease with both being worn and being worn out. Most of your aspirations to be spiritual will also be gone; the few that remain will feel less like aspirations and more like unforced inhalations…
Whatever disciplines we take on will result not from one aspect of us dominating the rest, but rather from a core recognition of what is needed… to it. Instead of being at war with our weaknesses, we bring them into our heart. Instead of trying to get rid of what we don’t like about ourselves, we develop a better relationship. Intimacy thus becomes more our path than transcendence.
Seeking will become supplanted by living a deeper life. Questions will still arise, but will ask for something more real than answers. Alignment with the Real will become the ground rather than the goal. Details will cease being just details. Focusing on “might be” will yield to focusing on what’s “here now”; that is, hope (nostalgia for the future) will be replaced by faith (radical trust in the now)….
Your longing to be fully awakened will still be present, minus the desperation and ambition that once characterized it. Where once you were in a hurry to “get it,” now you are not rushing or pushing, having accepted the fact that you are in it for the long haul. Then, even when you are off track, you are on track.
Life after spirituality is the beginning of authentic spirituality. No fireworks, no applause, no pats on the back from the Important People, no need to present oneself as someone spiritual. This is the beginning of true “nobody-ness.” It is not annihilation, but revelation. It is at once bare yet sentient openness, and also the beginning of true individuality.
For every question that arises here, Silence is the answer. Put another way, everything supplies the answer. Nothing is explained, everything is revealed. Beyond knowledge, Wisdom; beyond paradox, Truth; beyond self, Being; beyond everything, Everything….
Life after Spirituality is committed apprenticeship to “What-Really-Matters.” All that happens is the practicum. Every situation offers the same fundamental opportunity. The “teacher” is everywhere. There is no freedom from our Freedom. No escape. The implications of this froth then still the mind, awaken and release the body, ground and expose the soul, unraveling all our dreams, breaking us open to what we were born to do and be….
Life after spirituality is a constant “dying” to the now. Emerging from our own ashes becomes “no big deal,” but just the way things are in each new moment.
I must share that when I first read this I was excitedly sharing it with a friend, “You know what, we must not make a big deal of spirituality. We must allow it to speak than we talking too much. It is important to be ‘ordinary’ and simple etc etc.” I think I must have spoken for maybe 3 to 4 minutes. And I caught myself in the middle of my sentence and realised that I was making a big deal of ‘not making a big deal’ 😉 And just became silent.