Saturday, January 29, 2011

Quaker (Society of Friends) Daily Reading For Saturday, 29 January


Daily Reading by Stephen Travis Pope

On the Integration of our Spiritual Lives

Our recent reading of the "Advices and Queries on the Spiritual Life" led me to look into the Faith and Practice manuals of other Yearly Meetings for statements on the subject. I found the following.

The individual Friend should lead a life rooted in an awareness of God's presence in all times and places. [...] Faith in God finds its expression in a way of life based on spiritual rather than material values. We place authority of the Spirit above any outward authority. [...] The life of the spirit gains depth and vigor through devotional practices, prayer, study and meditation.

It has always been my feeling that the human experience is defined by physical, emotional, and intellectual aspects, which are being simultaneously lived through by our inner spirit-beings. It seems to me that the only way to "live the spiritual life" is to learn to integrate these aspects of life together, so that our spirits take part and rejoice in our emotional, physical, and intellectual lives, so that these components are so well integrated that we don't actually need to take special time for any one of them in particular.

Just as we don't stop thinking if we go to play our favorite sport, or stop breathing when we have a particular feeling, why should our spirit stop being fully involved at any time during our daily life? Prayer and meditation can and should still be central components of our daily routines, but it's important to remember that our spiritual life is meant to be as continuous as our emotional or physical lives are. In the phases when I feel most integrated and focussed, my favorite prayer is the one that I say on each breath when I inhale life and energy and joy and connection between the outer and inner worlds.

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