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Someone I’ve known several years told me this morning of his personal spiritual quest. In the process he has sat in the presence of speakers ranging from the Dalai Lama to Eckhart Tolle to Deepak Chopra. Describing himself as a Taoist, he gives the impression of one who lives the philosophy deeply.
Many men and women spend their lives thoughtfully examining many religions and spiritualties. In other times we typically assumed most Americans belonged to one religion all of their lives. That religion defined whatever might pass for spirituality in their lives. The whole concept of thinking about and discussing spirituality itself is a new phenomenon. Until the last fifty years of American history there was almost no discussion of spirituality. Now we hear friends and acquaintances discuss what religion they are, if any, and what their spirituality is, again if any.
We are now actively searching high and low, behind closed doors and in the marketplace for that spirituality which best suits our own lives. This is a renewal of the search for our inner spirit.
We are all our own spiritual detectives. We all search for what best meets our emotional and spiritual lives. The community of humanity searches, finds, accepts, discards, starts anew, and holds fast.
In the early 1990’s I went with some friends to Canterbury, NH. One of the earliest American Shaker communities established itself there in 1792. The last two remaining sisters were very elderly and very alive. One of them spoke to us for a few minutes. She was absolutely delightful. The whole idea of Shakers itself I found to be wondrous and very unusual. An offshoot of Quaker, Methodist and other English Reformation religions, Shakers used communal song and dance in their services. They lived spare celibate lives with the men and women each occupying different buildings. They were known for their generosity in taking orphans and aiding neighbors. Shakers were both inspired and inspiring.
While following a different prophetic strain and imbued with silent worship, Quakers I’ve known live simple, spiritually Spartan lives. Ever in search of the depths of the Spirit within, they attempt to live that simplicity with their outreach in charitably assisting those in need.
That reaching out to serve the needy is one of the true hallmarks of living a spiritually significant life.
There have been times in my life when I have been given meals when I had no food. I have been literally clothed and housed. It was not the religion of the people who so gifted me that led them to do this. It was the spirituality they already possessed. Equally, it was the spirituality they sought.
The search for the Divine within each of us takes us out of ourselves. I have walked down the cloister of monasteries and had monks covered their faces and turned away from me to face the wall. They were deeply in conversation with their Divinity. Silence assured that they respected that conversation. I have done the same. Those same men have provided the most delightful company during recreation.
You are your own Spiritual Detective.
The search for the Spirit is yours. It is deeply and truly within you. It is your joy to delve deeper in this search.
As you continue to search in the silence within or in helping others help themselves you are honored by being the Spiritual Detective.