Practical spirituality flows with each breath.
Practical spirituality is as natural as awareness, breath, immersion in the flow of life. With each inhalation and exhalation the phenomenological reality of inspiration, spirit, makes itself felt through each and every cell, membrane, muscle fiber, overall body sensation and on into the recesses of potentially transformative psychic experience. In his classic text, The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James, father of American psychology, wrote, “When I walk the fields, I am oppressed now and then with an innate feeling that everything I see has a meaning, if I could but understand it, and this feeling of being surrounded by truths which I cannot grasp amounts to indescribable awe…” This spiritual awe of which James speaks implies that nothing more is required to know a sense of imminent spiritually than simple awareness. Innate awareness, that every aspect of life has meaning and emanates indescribable awe, reflects an imminently practical ability to access deep and efficacious spiritual realms in every moment via awareness, breath, and the willingness to embrace human experience in all of its multitudinous facets.
In depth psychology it is well known that we humans are spiritual by our very nature, that deep therapy assists one to access inner well springs of life and vitality that enliven a weary and downtrodden soul. M. Esther Harding, author of Psychic Energy, noted, “……it does not consist in loss of the ego self in a vague nirvana; rather, it is a state of heightened awareness, more intense and more extensive than any that is possible under the limitations of the ego.” John, a new acquaintance, recalled his exasperation with life, a spiritual depression that had sucked away his vitality. He told me that inner work in depth psychotherapy had helped him find his way out of a treacherous past. Childhood memories replete with rigid religious beliefs and antagonistic family relationships were his “blast from the past”, as he related. Facing and working through past trauma jettisoned him into finding not only healing but a new and practical spirituality as opposed to a childhood traumatic belief system based on fear, guilt and rigidly held dogma. For him, the meaning and purpose of a life lived loving his wife and children, engaging in a daily spiritual practice and immersing himself in the wonders and challenges of life were at the heart of his new and satisfying human, spiritual, life.
John went on to share a dream in which a lively earth spirit visited him and as she touched him everything within him quickened. She told him, “Now you can breathe!” With this he inhaled deeply and exhaled with immense satisfaction. His depression had been lifted and with the visitation there came a natural, grounded spirituality of everyday life lived in a meaningful way. As he remarked, “My own life force and spirit are drawn into me, are as simple and direct as the taking in of each and every breath.”