Updated: Oct 31, 2020
I was walking up the hill towards the bathroom at my favorite beach when I saw her. She was lying face up on the concrete slab that jutted out over the sand in front of the building. She was supported by a very fluffy blanket, and sage was burning and billowing in a large bowl at her feet. Her eyes were covered by large dark sunglasses, and spa-type music blared from her iPhone.
This woman was trying really hard to connect spiritually, but instead she had shut off every one of her senses to the present moment! She was so turned inward that she was missing the full glorious day. And this day was especially beautiful. If I were to imagine heaven on earth, it would look just like this day at the beach.
For many like this sunbather, the goal of spiritual pursuits is to float above our humanness in some idyllic state. With this view, our bodies, minds, and lives are seen as something to control or ascend, and the focus is on moving out of this world and into another state of bliss.
It is true that sometimes we need to remove ourselves from everyday stimuli in order to connect with our spiritual nature. When we decrease the external input, it can help us calm down and recognize (and perhaps release) the habitual patterns that are playing out in our bodies and minds. In this state, it becomes easier to tune in to who we are beyond the traditional ramblings of our analytical minds.
However, growing in spiritual awareness doesn't stop there. Because when we learn to quiet our minds, it becomes possible to experience our lives in a whole new way. Instead of identifying with our thoughts about life, we become present enough to experience our lives on deeper and deeper levels. Our lives can then become an experience to be savored rather than something to endure or transcend.
As we grow in spiritual awareness we also experience the connection between our bodies, minds, and spirits on deeper levels. We can then use the experiences of our bodies and minds to become more aware of our spirits, and use our spiritual connection to create with our bodies and minds. It becomes more possible to bring knowledge into practice, energy into matter, and love into action. We understand that there is heartache and adversity here, but there is also the potential for the body-mind-spirit to create.
This is the opportunity. This is the creative potential. This is the way we expand our awareness and change our world.