We have a sense of ourselves existing as an individual identity, and yet that identity is entirely predicated on a vast web of life that reaches thoroughly beyond our self definition. Where do we begin and where do we end? The answer to this question is quite subjective and entirely relative to our scope of vision or attention. Our bodies are literally comprised of trillions of life forms. We can discern their apparent individuality and we can assert that they are separate from ourselves but none of us would be here without the other! If we look at all the life forms in nature and in our relationships with fellow humans, family, community, and beyond, we can discern that our very life is dependent on many forces beyond ourselves. Are you separate from the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the food you eat? The particles you are made of are merely recycled from the very particles that have been flying around since the dawn of time, and when you die those particles will dissemble and get further recycled into many other forms, perhaps limitless. Where does spirituality fit into all this? Who are you?
I think that spirituality as a general term, encompasses a journey of incorporating our smallest point of reference, with the broadest view imaginable. It is the continual resolution of our most limited scope of how we understand ourselves, with the farthest reaches of who we truly are. In many respects this is limited only by our imagination, which is determined by the degree to which we are open and attentive.
Religions and spiritual traditions of the world offer a diversity of spiritual food. Some people find themselves deeply nourished by the image of Jesus Christ while others may find themselves equally nourished by the vista from atop a great mountain. Some will be inspired by the ancient teachings of the Vedas while others may find great solace in the laws of quantum mechanics. Religions and systems of science seek to offer guidance towards an apprehension of the ‘greater whole’ because humans have known for thousands of years that a realization of wholeness is the secret to peace and happiness. It is the secret to freedom.
Is the belief in a benevolent force of love at the heart of all things, so disparate from the view of limitless atoms spontaneously orchestrated by dynamics of light and sound? If there is one “Ultimate Ground” or “Truth”, or “Whole”, is what we call it really as important as the reality that everyone and everything is equally that? Most saints would agree that love offers the most accurate vision and path towards realization of Wholeness. Love can dissolve boundaries and melt the ice block of ego into the greater ocean. But these are just words.
Spiritual nutrition is not so much about ingesting literal dogmas claimed by many to be superior super foods. It is all about assimilation. Words are like enzymes. Each person must find the appropriate enzymes with which to digest truth and assimilate spiritual nutrition. How do we free ourselves beyond the limits we’ve imposed on ourselves and each other? How do we find peace and happiness? Spiritual nutrition goes right to the heart. It will look different for everyone but ultimately the results will be quite similar. We have to offer our heart to something beyond our self. That is to say, we would do well to open our hearts to the amazing fullness of who we truly are. We are already that. Whatever we believe, whatever we want to call it.
There is nowhere to go and yet there are miles of trails through every kind of landscape. In this journey, the heart is a golden compass. You can trust it.