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Spirituality, Religion in 2014 and Your Own Plans

January 11, 2014

I invite you to read the last post, “Where is Religion in America Going in 2014?” and would love your input on it.  Do you see some of the same things? What do you feel about them? Today I want to connect the idea of “what’s happening out there” to “what’s happening in here”… that is, in your mind and heart.  We are either religious or spiritual-but-not-religious at least partly to explore and grow our inner world.  

I’ve been reading Teilhard de Chardin’s The Phenomenon of Man and discovered that this brilliant scientist/spiritual seeker summarized all that exists under the “without” and the “within”.  Are you looking at and thinking about your inner world in making plans for the year ahead?

If you make “New Year’s resolutions” you’ve probably already done so, but it’s not too late to adjust or add to them.  Maybe you think in terms of planning for the year, and setting goals more than “resolving”.  Either way, I’m going to encourage you to give some thought to what could be in the coming year in your spiritual life.  Not only give it thought, but give it time “without” thought… in other words, some silent meditation.

If you’re not used to meditation, in one form of it you can merely mentally or otherwise state your intention as you calm your body and quiet your mind; and then focus attention merely on your breath or a candle (or whatever) and let thoughts float lightly through your mind without either resistance or pursuit.  There is no magic amount of time to do this, from all I’ve experienced and read.  The more you do it the longer you’ll be able to or feel like going… to a point anyway.  You’ll learn to pay attention to what may emerge consciously either during or after your meditation.  You may have no conscious insights, as the process is geared to allow your mind to rest, as it were, and your body to relax deeply, with your systems re-centering themselves in better alignment.  

Your interests and perhaps some goals for your inner life or better understanding “all that is” (including God, if you have some belief in a “supreme being”) need not emerge from meditation practice.  Whether from that, more deliberate thought or just showing up, I encourage you to put some regularity to following them.  Not a rigid system that may produce guilt or anxiety but a reasonable plan that you will follow unless other priorities legitimately interrupt or change it.

I confess I don’t have a very specific plan myself, but I will share that I intend to continue the reading that helps stimulate my regular posts here.  I hope to get more involved in my own progressive Christian community (depending on a couple circumstances).  I am exploring how I may get more involved in Process theology and supporting it and the endeavors of The Center for Process Studies specifically. This center is the sponsor of the upcoming 2015 conference “Seizing an Alternative”, which is in conjunction with the 10th annual Whitehead Conference to be held in Claremont, California, June, 2015.  Incidentally, this will be a large and exciting event, quite international and prominently featuring China’s enthusiastic response to process studies and their practical application to China’s development.

So do you have a plan for spiritual pursuits this year? Do they relate to some of the broader trends in society, either as I noted in the last post or something you notice? 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 11, 2014 11:29 am

    With luck, I will properly attend to responding to this tomorrow. I’m buried in building the social enterprise today (have interested a progressive Realtor in the Fox Valley).

    I’m afraid I don’t have a good feel for how many progressive Christians there are now(combining Red Letter, Jim Wallis, integral, process, etc.), as a percentage of the 76% who self-ID as Christian. I also don’t have a feel for how that number is moving (mainline churches have lost a lot of members, and Pentecostals/Charismatics have made great gains, but I’m not sure that is the right set of numbers to look at).

    But I’m exceptionally optimistic that the LONG term trend is for a mystical/meditation based, tolerant Christianity that rejects both the unique divinity of Jesus, as the “only true path”,and the patently contradictory notion of an eternal hell coexisting with an infinitely loving God.

    As for this year,I just loaded up with books on Christian mysticism (Marcia just finished one of Andrew Harvey’s books on activism). I’m going to a silent retreat with her for her birthday, and am hoping it will jog me to try, once again, that meditation thing I hear so much about! One of the downsides of having had an ultra-profound experience in 1980, from pure grace (no effort) is that presuming to climb the mountain by my own efforts is daunting. And especially with a mind that “whirs” continuously!

    I’ll forward this AMs “tweaking” of the biz model, and would like to hear your thoughts. It is all integrated for me — I’m navigating faith and business as one spiritual journey.

    Norlyn

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