The prefix meta- means going beyond. Metaphysical considerations, going beyond the physical, leads us into abstract thought. Abstractions of a spiritual nature cannot be proven. And yet, often, we believe these abstractions to be true. As humans will do, we argue about the abstractions. Some start wars and ultimately kill over these abstractions. I find this particularly odd and disturbing! Do you?
I have posted a picture of a dried sunflower in winter snow. This past summer sunflowers overtook my flower bed. I allowed it because I like them. They grew to be 8 to 10 feet tall, towering well over my head. Then they faded and I cut them back. Next summer I will probably pull the shoots and go the more traditional flower bed route.
Would you know any of this without my explanation? What did you see when you looked at the photograph? What layers of meaning did you give to the picture?
The dried flower against the snow represents the slumber of winter and the potential of spring inherent in the seed pod, just in case you were wondering what I think it means. It represents a stage in our spiral journey. And, I just like the picture.
On Monday David Cohen interviewed me on blogtalkradio for his Be A Beacon show. He asked me if my emphasis on spirituality differentiated me from other sites and entrepreneurs and I said, “Yes.” You might ask, “So, how are you different?” It’s a perfectly reasonable question but one that’s challenging to answer. I’ve been thinking about it since he asked me.
What’s important is not which metaphysical abstraction I believe is true. Having a spiritual practice that works for you is what I believe is important. It’s the practice that gets you through life’s rough patches and there are plenty of rough patches to get through!
In future blog posts I intend to talk about spiritual ideas like acceptance, surrender, forgiveness, powerlessness, responsibility and compassion. It is these practices that help us to change, to become more healthy, to live more contented lives.
Perhaps in a small way I also want to combat the rampant commercialism of the impending holiday season. I just want to scream, Stop the Insanity! (Here’s what happened to Susan Powter. She was selling weight loss.) I want to teach practices that help you and me explore the deep inner meaning of life. That’s a difference.
Because I see people suffering, because I know there is a way past the suffering, I want to encourage people to start walking the path of spiritual growth. I know it helps alleviate suffering. Pain is unavoidable, suffering is optional. Do you believe me? Do you think it’s possible not to drown in the quicksand of tragedy, depression or anxiety?
Consider the Buddhist monks imprisoned by the Chinese. Consider Nelson Mandela. Imagine being imprisoned for twenty years, being abused and tortured, and yet, emerging stronger, still happy and able to forgive. It is possible. It requires work and the ability to look at the world from a different point of view. It’s all about a shift in perspective.
What makes me different is that I love talking about spirituality. Sometimes I feel like a lone voice in the wilderness but I’m not. There are other people who operate from the heart, who want people to be happy, who practice hard to relieve the suffering of others. By doing the work it’s possible to be taken out of your feelings of self-importance and ego in order to move forward with love and grace. I encourage seekers to try and find a way to be content and to feel satisfied with life as it is.
I’m working on it all the time. Some days are easier than others. Sometimes I am able to get centered. Sometimes I am not. I work on a meditation practice of lovingkindness. I try to stay present. I get lost and unbalanced just like everyone else but I do know what is required and I try to do it. I can even see progress occasionally! It’s worth it. It’s worth the work. The alternative is no longer acceptable to me.