For over two decades, I’ve called it spiritual practice. It evolved after several years of devotional reading followed by prayers of intercession and thanksgiving. I started spending more and more time in silent, listening prayer. My inner dialogue transformed into a casual, intimate conversation with God. My spiritual practice began to include reading the Bible interactively, digging for its hidden gems, savoring its poetry. I drank up the spiritual poetry and journals of the mystics, whether Catholic, Quaker or Sufi. They all sang the same songs of the Beloved, ecstatic descriptions of Union with the Divine. My strong intention became to live, moment by moment, in an awareness of God…to live wrapped in the presence of God.
How ironic that chasing so hard after God would lead me here, to this universe of unknowing.
I feel as if I’ve been abruptly dropped into this mysterious, alternate universe and I’ve yet to grasp the rules. The law of gravity doesn’t appear to apply here, for one. I often find myself stepping off into thin air in this land where I now reside.
One step is on solid ground, the next moment, nothing but the mists.
No ground beneath my feet, yet I live.
I move about, but without the joy of flight. More like falling slowly. Not an entirely unpleasant sensation, mind you. Just intense, because along with this new, groundless existence has come a clearer,sharper sense of what is happening to me and around me. Like life is suddenly high def. I can thank my spiritual practice for that, since it led me on a grimly determined quest for authenticity. Now that my experience isn’t quite as muted by the endless chatter of personal stories, I can more fully appreciate the enormity of the uncertainty. Nice one, SP.
Anyway, to get back on topic, I’ve been wondering what to call my practice now. Spiritual practice seems to infer a desired connection to Diety. Doesn’t quite fit now. If I just plain call it practice, it sounds like half a descriptor. What kind of practice?
I’ve been calling it life practice to myself, but that’s corny out loud. “Hey, baby, I’m going to the office for a little life practice“. So I slice it into pieces. Meditation practice, yoga practice, mindfulness practice, reflection and contemplation, journaling, reading and studying the work of teachers and unmet mentors…all of this needs a better name, a unifying name to give it honor and place in my life. Guess Inner Space Practice won’t do, huh? Woo woo.
My practice isn’t entirely Buddhist in flavor. It’s more like a couple of shots of Buddhist dharma, a shot of Yogic philosophy, a pinch of Taoism, perhaps just the zest of Psychology, shake well and sip through a straw.