November 8

Spiritual life and secure
life do not go together;
to save oneself one must
struggle and take risks.

Ignazio Silone


Today's Meditation:

I'm not sure what Ignazio means here by "to save oneself," but I do have a good idea--it feels like he's talking about making our lives more than mediocre, to instill meaning and fulfillment into these lives that we're leading here on this planet while we're here, instead of settling for mediocrity and allowing our spirits to lead the lives of quiet desperation that Thoreau talked about when he was around.

"Spiritual life," of course, is redundant--there is no life apart from our spiritual lives, yet somehow we come to regard ourselves as truly being this package of skin and bones and blood and brain and muscle that we see in the mirror.  To that being, there really is no problem with not taking risks, as the body simply goes on doing what it can as long as it can, and then expires.  To our spirits, though, the part of ourselves that's integral, the part that feels love and compassion and emotional pain and ecstasy, the lack of risk-taking leaves them in a state of stagnation, leading inevitably to dissatisfaction with ourselves and despair.

We are spiritual creatures, and as such it's important that we do what we can to allow our spirits to thrive.  It's important that we use our creativity, that we allow ourselves to take risks that challenge ourselves, that we allow ourselves to feel for people and situations that may not turn out in the most positive ways.  Spirit is meant to be dynamic, even if body is often static; living from a perspective of allowing our spirits to thrive can be risky, yes, but our spirits are much more resilient than we give them credit for, and even when risks don't turn out as we hope they will, we can learn much from at least having taken that risk.

You are a spiritual being, and you have a spiritual life.  While safety is often tempting, it most certainly isn't something that allows our spirits to grow and to learn the lessons they're meant to learn here in this life.  Sometimes we have to take risks so that our spiritual lives can come close to reaching their potential.

Questions to consider:

Why do we often feel that safety is such an important thing to strive for?

How can we start to allow ourselves to take risks that aren't foolish, but that can help us to grow and learn? 

How do we so quickly lose sight of the fact that our spiritual sides are so important, and end up neglecting that aspect of ourselves? 

For further thought:

The spiritual life is, at root, a matter of seeing.  It is all of life
seen from a certain perspective.  It is waking, sleeping, dreaming,
eating, drinking, working, loving, relaxing, recreating, walking,
sitting, standing, and breathing. . . . spirit suffuses everything; and so
the spiritual life is simply life, wherever and whatever,
seen from the vantage point of spirit.

John Shea

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