Reflection 10.5 — Form vs. Content

            I have a life. At the moment, I might be saddled with an active addiction or an active despair. Maybe I just got out of treatment and am hopeful for my future. Maybe I have been “clean” for a long time, but despair for life itself still lurks under the surface of consciousness.

            Sure, the outer life of the sober person is tons better than the active addict. The outer form is great. But many of us don’t speak of the depression because we feel ungrateful for the blessings if we admit unhappiness.

            Everyone has an inner life under the surface of the worldly clamors. Noise is covering the inner life, which is quiet. Quiet is my real life. Quiet is content not form. It is here where I must be most honest about my ego. Feel quiet.

            I ask myself, what is my inner life like? The interior life is not the committee meeting in my head but the silence underneath the meeting. Regarding this inner content, what is the meaning for me? The meaning is the real content of my life. Contemplating the quiet, I recognize that it is a bit undefinable, but that I can connect with it and appreciate it and immerse myself within it.

            Choose to feel that silent content over and over. Then go do the dishes.

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DEVOTION TO THE INNER — Reflection 8.44

            “…nothing short of pure devotion to [this divine quality] ‘for its own sake’ is the proper goal” ( Paul Brunton, The Quest for the Over Self).

            Have you heard of your higher self, your soul? There is an extraordinary consciousness beyond your ego consciousness. Maybe some think it is spirit, or soul. But it is a divine quality that all possess and can access somehow. It is this extraordinary divine part of us that will heal inner pain and give new life. More than anything in this world, I need my higher self. Devotion to this gift of Life is my life. The other side of the coin: devotion “for its own sake.” When have I ever unselfishly devoted myself for nothing?

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MEANING — Reflection 8.43

            “Man’s search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life and not a ‘secondary rationalization’ of instinctual drives” (Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning, page 99).

            Is life a search for meaning in the meaningless flow of events? For most of us, I guess life is a daily grind. We try to do what we need to do to keep our life going. And that is not going to change. But we need something, something more than the occasional big weekend or Christmas or Super Bowl. And that is why we have addictions. Humans love the euphoria.

            A butterfly flitted in front of me. Could that mean anything? What did it say? The traffic cleared for me. I remembered to do something just in time. How do these things happen? Does it mean anything? Yes, if you stop and think about it.

            Meaning comes from an appreciation of non-obvious occurrences. Appreciation is needed, in the quiet of your prayer place, to see the meaning. Real love is subtle. Joy can be eternally found within, not of this world. Allow joy inside and it will resonate to meaning for the outside.

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POVERTY OF SPIRIT — Reflection 8.42

            “It is when man, in the poverty of his worshiping spirit, treads before the face of God’s freedom, into the mystery of that impenetrable ‘Thou’—it is then that he finds access to the depths of his own Being and worth” (Thomas Metz, Poverty of Spirit, page 52).

            To feel better, which is what I really want, it is best to go inside, not out. Outward, there is fleeting fun, like getting a fix for my addictions. Inward, there is stability and inspiration.

            Inward is “the face of God’s freedom” and “the mystery of that impenetrable Thou” and my own Being and worth. Don’t ignore these things or throw them away. I bring my ego self to bear on them consciously: in the poverty of my worshiping spirit, I tread before the face of God.

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