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Reflections on Spirituality - Part 1

An Introduction to the question: "Who should do spirituality?"

Attrition and war surround us. Sometimes we cannot see the bombs, missiles and bullets. Sometimes we choose not to hear the screams of the wounded and fail to see the hideous extent of the injuries. But none of this means there is no war, no crying, no wounds. Living in the superficial dulls the senses and the call of the Inner Truth in each of us. The cost is horrendous. It is a rollercoaster of ever increasing violence.

The noise of this silent war can only be shut out by stuffing cotton wool into self absorbed ears that will not hear. But look through a different lens and we begin to see war being waged in families, work places, society, government and, sadly, even churches. Wherever fear and insecurity and injustice abound, self interest and greed follow. Oneness with each other and all creation are shattered against the cold hardness of unthinking rationality and crass certitude. Unthinking rationality is rational thought that is not underpinned by Wisdom and compassion. The rabbi of the period following the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, affirmed that the Torah could not be read without compassion. Even the harsh laws, when read with charity, with compassion, added to understanding, revelation and wisdom. The call to a deeper, nurtured, spirituality is an urgent one.

As Christians we choose to follow "The Way, The Truth, The Life". But what is that? Well it is a starting point that has no end. It a Divine Gift that requires unwrapping. With the wrapper on it's a concept that is ever unfolded in the never-ending unwrapping. And as we explore this gift we may discover the great paradox…that we have already received it. This treasure, this jewel of inestimable value, lies waiting in our deepest self. And so this unwrapping is interwoven with an inner spiritual journey. Yet they are distinct, each attached to each other, but distinct. Faith and belief are interwoven yet distinct. A life observed acknowledges ideas and concepts. But those on this observed spiritual journey will also know that there is more. Much, much more.

The unwrapping has to continue. Therein lies satisfaction in its truest sense. To cease unwrapping is to retreat to ideas - which can be manipulated. Its stops the journey. It shallows that faith journey at the risk of a rigid belief system. This speaks of something that can be controlled, possessed, protected. It is exclusionary, belongs to the gifted few believers and creates "they", the other who, by definition, is "wrong" or out of the system. A rationality that is unthinking because it's not underpinned by compassion (Christians call it Love but this word is so overused - Compassion is also spelt with a capital C).

We all have spirituality - whether we go to church or not. To live a life that unwraps that beautiful God -gift, is to honour the search for peace and harmony and non-violence and justice. Church, on the other hand, gives the goer, some very distinct tools amongst which are community (to support and do a tongue tip tasting of Truth) and a language that helps us to speak about our journey.

The opposite of this is to sit and gaze at the wrapping and its outward prettiness. Nice, but it does not heal your violence. On its own it does not give you a compassion filled heart zealous for the more of God. Jesus said that you cannot love your neighbour without learning to love yourself. That is why unwrapping is so important - to you, to your love ones and to the world.

Read Part II



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