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Re: Spiritual Practice rayww

Posted by Jay_Bravest_Face on June 25, 2008, at 9:37:41

In reply to Re: Spiritual Practice, posted by rayww on June 6, 2008, at 10:54:19

> > What are your experiences of living in spiritual communities?
> >
> > Is living in a spiritual community about running away from the "real" world or a first-class opportunity to deepen spiritual practice?
> >
> > What's your take on that?
> >
> > Personally, I've spent time in monasteries round Asia and Europe. I can honestly say that the time and effort have paid off 10-fold.
> >
> > In what ways have you benefited from community living?
> <<<<
> Are you talking about living singly, or with your family? My first 18 years were spent preparing for the time when I would marry and start my own family. If we don't prepare for what is going to be the rest of our life, whether it be marriage, career, or whatever, we will end up being unprepared, and then we might need a retreat to catch up with ourselves. I had three years to myself before I got married, but those 18 years of preparation were what saved me.
> So the first question I must ask is why did you need to retreat?
> My (Mormon) culture is a culture within a culture. We live in the world, but not of the world. Our spirituality is cultured within ourselves, and is centered in the home. Spirituality has always been a key element, in that it is something I value deeply, and am willing to put forth effort to achieve.
> My experiences with meditation have been life altering experiences, but meditation has never become my center. I wouldn't build my life around it because I'm too busy, and it fits where it fits within life, but life is my priority, and mine is about family. I prepared for it, I looked forward to it, and somehow it worked according to plan, even better than I had planned in some ways, for some reason.
> Life is never easy, but the difficulties can be used to your advantage if the spiritual stones are in place. Spirituality is real. It acts like stepping stones along your path, and anchors in a storm. It is not to be confused with spiritualism. In many ways it is just there as a kind of natural consequence for how you live. At least that's how it works in my culture.

Interesting Ray, because my Catholic meditations, doing my daily rosary and my prayer books, are what have pretty much helped "ground" me. I lost my wife and child a decade or so ago, and this was before I converted to Christianity. These things are not ones I use for self-glory or self-righteousness, but to ask God and Jesus to keep me centered with humility, humbleness, empathy, compassion, awareness of suffering, and forgiveness for my sins. This is on a daily basis, not the usual Sunday "bless-me" club types. As I enter middle-age, and am seeing the ones I love deeply pass on, I really find (and sometimes it's not easy..just look up Psalm 44) some comfort in the arms of God. Geezzz...see I am starting to cry as I talk about this. I believe it is God who has given me the power to cry, and I am not ashamed of it. That is "grace" at work, grace being the underlying theme of the Scriptures. Far too many people have bypassed this last sentence.

Anyhow...just wanted to share. I think we have had somewhat similar experiences.





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