We’ve all had those moments when everything comes together into that one perfect flowing moment of time.
Maybe while we’re running, gazing at the ocean, into our lover’s eyes, up into the night sky, or dancing in the flow of worship…where everything seems to expand, or better yet, we seem to expand, feeling larger in the vastness around us.
What would happen if we could have more of these moments, expand them, or set ourselves up for more and more of these breakthroughs, where everything is perfect and whole, the way it’s meant to be.
This is why you need a spiritual practice. This is what a spiritual practice is about.
Spiritual Practice ~ Practice Your Spirit
Intellectual engagement is soul-centered and it’s not enough.
We have to all learn how to enter into the flow, the dance, and the presence of God. It’s not a given with coming to Jesus.
In meditation, we move from our body and our soul into our spirit. We don’t leave our body or our soul, but we become spirit-centered.
When our consciousness is spirit-centered, it’s called contemplation, expanded awareness, or mindfulness.
This is the purpose of a spiritual practice in our devotional life, to get us out of our heads into God’s head.
As God is Spirit, so the mind of Christ is spiritual, and God’s Spirit creates and grows love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control within the garden of our heart and soul. We work out what God has worked within us.
As the Last Adam is a life-giving spirit, so are we in Christ. Which is why Jesus tells us to abide in the Vine, so that we will have the spiritual life flow to grow this fruit.
The spiritual life-flow of God’s life is so crucial, Jesus tells us that “apart from me, you can do nothing.” ~ Selah
Jesus goes so far as to tell Martha, before he raised Lazarus from the dead “…the one who believes in Me will live, even though they die. But everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this?”
Jesus is talking about eternal life here and now…the flowing of eternal spiritual life of God within us.
Living eternal life is what a good solid spiritual practice is about.
Do you currently have a spiritual practice? Let me encourage you to start one.
What you savor is what you will retain and grow.
Mystic roots don’t meet in the middle, they hold the ends together, which ignites the fireworks. ~ Leonard Sweet
- It is a mystery to walk with Jesus in Revival.
- It is a mystery to walk with the Holy Spirit in Renewal.
- It is a mystery to walk with Our Father in Restoration.
To enter the divine dance of the Trinity.
Each deeper, each complimentary, and each unable to exist without the other. As everything begins in God, so everything completes in God on a progressively higher level of living conscious life. So we enter into the choreography of God. Like a divine dance we follow Our Father and then Jesus and then the Holy Spirit and we find ourselves at home and whole, there in the flow of eternal life.
Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be lived. ~ Soren Kierkegaard
We are created in the image and likeness of God as trinity:
We have been created for this union with God. Jesus prepared the way and he invites us in, so we invite him in, and join the dance. We have been invited to a feast we cannot repay, so that we might live the reality of the love of God.
The trinity of God’s design is all around us if we but have eyes to see. We are meant to experience the flow of life in all three levels of our consciousness.
- In our survival brain awareness,
- in our dual brain awareness,
- and in our whole brain awareness.
The dance is in the energy of protons, neutrons, and electrons, the very fabric of the universe.
Can we not see it? Dare we?
Let us join in the dance and enter the choreography of God.
First, let’s lay a little groundwork.
Contemplation is a way of savoring life in the state of wholeness.
It includes the linear distinction of particulars, but it does not dwell there. Contemplation causes us to dwell within the wholeness of wisdom. And the fruit of contemplation is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; which is the fruit of the Spirit.
Contemplation is the inner working of the spirit that causes us to dwell with God. Our perspective is an eternal perspective expressing itself within our time-space continuum.
So we have the language for our interior life, such as in no other time or culture in history. As a friend of mine held up his Bible while preaching one Sunday, “I love this book, but if this is all that God has to tell us, He doesn’t have much to say.” My friend wasn’t discounting Scripture, but he was pointing to the fact that every discipline we develop reveals more and more of the impossible depth and glory of God, like the slowly unfolding of a rose.
So with this in mind, let’s take a look at the contemplative concept of: ‘abiding in the vine,’ through the lens of our three states of consciousness. Like the unfolding of a rose, we are looking at a process, not doctrine.
Jesus tells us to abide in him
- From the first level of consciousness, we see ‘dwelling with Jesus’ as what saves us from Hell, and prepares us for Heaven. So we work for Christ.
- From the second level of consciousness, we see ‘dwelling with Jesus’ as what we can do, learn, and develop in a life of doing Jesus. So we imitate Christ.
- From the third level of consciousness, we see ‘dwelling with Jesus’ as a state of being, of mutual spirit, of Presence, ‘that which we live out of’. So we incarnate Christ.
The first level of consciousness sees only itself and ignores everything else.
The second level of consciousness includes the first level, is baffled, and dismisses the third.
The third level of consciousness includes all three levels in a synthesis of application which is Wisdom herself.
Yes, this is a gross simplification of very complex things. Life is fluid and is impossible to pin down. So I mean it as the beginning of a conversation of things I’ve noticed, that we need to talk about.
- Those who live mostly in the first level of consciousness tend to emphasize Jesus.
- While those who live mostly in the second level of consciousness tend to emphasize the Holy Spirit.
- And finally, those who live mostly in the third level of consciousness tend to emphasize God.
* The Trinity is an icon created by a Russian painter Andrei Rublev in the 15th century.
Our heart is the fulcrum point of our lives.
Our heart is the doorway to our spirit. It is the garden of our soul. From our heart flow the springs of life. God puts a new heart and a new spirit within us.
We were in Italy this past year, where I was captured by a statue of Mother Mary with swords piercing her heart. I though, ‘How superstitious.’ But as I pondered the meaning of it, I’ve come to realize it’s the wounding of life that breaks our hearts open to God. We are designed this way. Whatever breaks open our hard heart, it’s so that God can give us a new one. I also see the Catholic images of the Sacred Heart and the Heart burning with holy fire. They hold layers of meaning but one thing is clear,
Our heart determines where we dwell.
It’s the focus of our heart that determines what we see. It’s why Paul prays that God would open the eyes of our heart.
All the input, all the voices of our soul and spirit, and body resolve in our heart. Our heart determines where we dwell.
So What About Our Soul?
Most Spiritual teachers tend to lump our soul and our spirit together. The distinction, however, is critical to our nurturing the unfolding revelation of God in our lives. Again, the distinction is critical less we ask our soul to do what only our spirit can do. If we ask our soul to be spiritual, it will break into a labyrinth of a thousand voices trying to be spiritual. As God is Spirit, only our spirit can have fellowship with God. Our soul may sing, but our spirit communes.
Our soul works out what our spirit experiences.
Our soul deepens what our spirit experiences. It magnifies, nurtures, and puts flesh on it. Our soul is a wonderful servant but a terrible taskmaster. Our soul is designed to follow our spirit’s lead. As such, it searches and works to implement what our spirit sees. As our spirit leads, we are drawn into living an abundant life, but where our soul leads we are driven into a life of scarcity. Our soul tends to choose between things, while our spirit synergies wholeness. So what we focus on, or the director is our heart. Our heart is the fulcrum point that determines our focus.
So whether it’s input or output,
Everything Resolves In Our Heart
Restoration is the growth process of learning to live out of our spirit and integrating this transformation body, soul, and spirit. Our body becomes more and more of the temple of God, we grow more and more with the mind of Christ, and the character of God, as we dwell in Jesus, we become his presence, his hands to heal, his eyes to see, his ears to hear, his tongue to speak, all the while integrating into the one body of Christ, in the oneness of the eternal love of God made manifest and drawing all people into the arms of God’s love and healing forgiveness, to love, belonging and home.
Our heart leads us home.
We are a trinity created in the image and likeness of God.
Patterns of three are all around us…the fingerprints of the Eternal.
But because of our fallenness, we normally dwell and see things from the perspective of our soul in a binary or dualistic frame of reference.
As most spiritual leaders and spiritual writings lump our soul and spirit together, the distinction between our soul and spirit is critical to the unfolding revelation of the Eternal in our lives. A good experiential understanding of our spirit tends to break our linear gridlock. We begin to see and function from a wholistic perspective. But we don’t suddenly become blind to what we’ve known.
To enter the wholeness of the spirit, we include the duality of our analytical mind and our body wisdom…we include and transcend them…there to live out of our spirit, in the broad spacious place of oneness with God our Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
This said, everything resolves in our heart.
Everything resolves in our heart.
Our heart is the fulcrum point of our lives. It’s the doorway into our spirit. It’s the garden of our soul. From our heart flow the springs of life. G-d has put a new heart and a new spirit within us.
So what of our soul?
Our soul deepens what our spirit experiences. It magnifies, nurtures, and puts flesh on it. Our soul is a wonderful servant and a terrible taskmaster. Our soul is like our very own Google search engine. It gets things done. But when our soul leads, we are driven, while our spirit leads us in eternal relationships.
So what is contemplation about?
Simply put, Contemplation is all about moving into our spirit encountering the eternal. Integration is the work of our heart through our soul.