“You could find something spiritual in doing the dishes,” said my friend, as if this was unusual.
“He’s right. And although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it,” said Stuart, “ you could probably find spirituality in going to the toilet.” Half a dozen themes suggested themselves as he spoke.
“Disposing of the old and outworn…”
“…and how unhealthy hanging onto it too long can be…
“An illustration of how difficult it is to find personal time and peace in modern life… ”
“A meditative interlude…”
“One could talk about chemo constipation and how a breakdown in the system affects every other part of the body and mind…”
“…which shows how health is not static but a process. Nature has worked for thousands of years to create a process that works beautifully…”
“A perfect system. Recycling waste to feed plants and through them the animals that in turn feed us…”
“A completely self-contained system. And we think we can do better… and treat it with little or no respect.”
“We’ve only just got away, in evolutionary and social terms, from living with muck. Manure and its human equivalent were very much part of our everyday lives till recently… now we’ve moved away enough to become squeamish. “
“So we try to feel in control…”
“And fail miserably.” Because, when all is said and done, Nature is a bit bigger, a lot older…and a great deal wiser than we are.
So they were both right… you can find something spiritual in anything. Especially in Nature. It depends, really, on how you define ‘spiritual’.
For some, it is a side of life that is finer than mere flesh and earth. These are elements to be escaped, transcended, left behind as we strive for a higher state of being. For others ‘spiritual’ is something to do… attending a place of worship, perhaps… praying or adhering to the rules of a religion… following a moral code, meditating, or seeking the answers to the age-old questions that have beset the heart of humankind. And it is not by accident that the words ‘question’ and ‘quest’ share the same root.
There are as many ways of approaching spirituality as there are souls. None of them is right or wrong… each must fit the feet that walk their path.
For me, my approach to ‘spirituality’ changed decades ago when I first began to actively study the Tree of Life. I was reading The Mystical Qabalah, the best approach to this glyph and system that has, in my opinion, ever been written. Dion Fortune, undoubtedly one of the most important writers of the past century or so in the magical field, writes with a down-to-earth clarity that illuminates the stuffy corners of the academic approach to mysticism…. two concepts that do not really go well together, but knowledge is a necessary fuel for understanding.
When I read the words ‘God made manifest in Nature’, I knew what I had been missing in my own approach.
When you see divinity, by whatever name you wish to call It or in whatever form you choose to picture It, made manifest in Nature… pervading everything, from the sand on the beach to the plants, animals… and even into the works of humankind, because they are, in many ways, as much part of nature as the nest or mating display of a bird… then you see the world and indeed all creation, through a different lens. There is a rightness about it that even finds space for what we see as ‘wrong’ because, in the wider scheme, everything has a place. Even darkness, pain and evil have something to teach, for how could we choose between two paths were we only to ever encounter one?
And, when you see the world through that lens, then how can you see your own life through any other? The spiritual life is life, warts and all. It is not something to aspire to, nor something to seek… it is neither distant from nor alien to our base human nature… it is everything we see, feel or experience… from going to the loo to washing dishes, from watching the rising of the sun to holding a dead sparrow in our hand. You do not have to find the spiritual in your everyday life, It is already there. It is life… and It is you.