Spiritual Awakening is found in the here and now. In the Zen tradition they say, “After the ecstasy, the laundry.” Spiritual maturity manifests itself in the immanent as well as in the transcendent. It seeks to allow the divine to shine through our every action. Altered states, extraordinary experiences of the mind, great openings of consciousness are valued, not for their own sake, but only to the extent that they return us to to our human incarnation to inform our wisdom and deepen our capacity for compassion. As Ajahn Chah said, “Even the extraordinary experiences are of no use, only something to let go of, unless they are connected with this moment here and now.” Spiritual states are honored when they clear the vision and open the body and mind, but only as a passage to return to the timeless present. As the mystic Kabir says of whatever we seek, “What is found then is found now.”

In the immediate present, mature spirituality invites us to “walk our talk,” to act and speak and touch one another as a reflection of deep understanding. We become more alive and more present. We discover that our very breath and body and human limitations are a part of the divine. This maturity listens to our body and loves it all,  the body of joy and of grief; it listens to the heart and loves the heart’s capacity to feel. This immediacy is the true source of compassion and understanding. “Only within our own body, this hear and mind,” said the Buddha, “can bondage and suffering be found, and only here can we find true liberation.”

This excerpt is taken from the book, “Bringing Home the Dharma: Awakening Right Where You Are

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