25 February 2016 0 Comments

The Relative Value of Religious or Spiritual Practice

This excellent quote on the relative value of religious or practice nicely summarizes the theme of my last few posts:

“Often the aspirant is concerned in the early phases of his awakening by his attitude towards established religions and their rituals. All of these have a tendency to encourage the spirit of love and worship, and as such they help to a limited extent in wearing out the ego-shell in which human consciousness is caught.  But if they are followed unintelligently and mechanically, the inner spirit of love and worship dries up.  Then they harden the ego-shell instead of wearing it out.

Rituals and ceremonies cannot carry one very far towards the path, and if they are unintelligently followed they bind as much as any other unintelligent action.  In fact, when they are deprived of all inner life they are in a sense more dangerous than other unintelligent action, Version 2because they are pursued in the belief that they help towards God-realization.” ~Meher Baba.

Steady and consistent practice of a discipline has multiple advantages in creating rhythm, momentum, focus, and depth. It can form positive neural networks that persist and assist us for extended periods of time.

The quote is not intended to discourage spiritual practice, but to point out that awareness, engaged personal expression, and open, intelligent application are essential elements.

Whether a particular action or mindset serves development depends upon where we are along the path. Intelligently engaged action furthers. Taking an aware and intentional breath in the line at the grocery store furthers Awakening more than habitual, unengaged spiritual or religious practice. Fully engaged, Present practice aids development significantly.

The benefits of religious or spiritual practice depend as much upon how we bring ourselves to it as on the particulars of the practice. It could be argued that one action, engaged with Presence, has no greater or lesser merit than another, except as a personal preference. This is more true in abstract theory than in practice. In life, learning to engage ways that express our own Highest Option in the particular moment at hand is ideal. Doing so is a function of inner Guidance.

Have YOU ever felt that the way you are approaching religion or spirituality was keeping you asleep instead of waking you up?

Did you find a more alive and satisfying way to bring yourself to it, or move on to something else?

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