Spiritual Practicality

Phil RichardsonHere we are in December and 2012 is nearly over. Some of us here in Cape Town (South Africa) have just completed our annual weekend board retreat, where we reviewed the past year and explored together what opportunities the coming year might bring. It’s clear that, with what has been transpiring around the globe, there’s a need to be even more fully engaged, more fully present in the world, to receive and bless whatever it is that has come to us and to welcome what is yet to emerge in the year ahead.

To be able to provide something for our world that brings blessing and transformation, there is the requirement to be able to bring practical competence while retaining a transcendent perspective. There are situations to be managed, resources to be stewarded and people to be encompassed, while retaining a constant awareness of a larger context. It’s possible to be sucked into the intensity or urgency of some situations and consequently lose a broader, more holistic perspective. While much can be accomplished when the drama is high and the adrenaline is flowing, if a connection between the physical capacities that are so engaged and the stable core of who we really are is lost, the long-term outcome is never creative.

The other extreme of not engaging at all is equally ineffective. While there is a place for the ascetic and the hermit and the monasteries and the convents, that’s not where my life belongs. I’m a practical man and I have something to do in the earth, even though there are times when the thought of spending my life in solitude in a log cabin next to a stream in a forest somewhere seems very appealing! My innate sense of purpose doesn’t allow that option.

Living a spiritually practical life means that a balance is maintained, there is space for meditation, contemplation, inner nurturing, whatever might assist us to ensure that our connection with Source is always intact and that our thoughts and actions always come from that place. But it is as important that there be practical people on earth that can allow a new world to emerge in practical ways.

We have an Emissary class called “Practical Spirituality,” which provides insight and experience of what it means to be effective as a spiritually awakened being in the physical world. There is a biblical quote that speaks about being in the world but not of it. Humanity is a critical part of the mechanism by which the cosmic design emerges accurately in the world, and this calls for a level of practicality that is founded in spiritual awareness. We might call that Spiritual Practicality. There is a critical need in this day for competent, spiritually aligned people, those that bring leadership that is enlightened and enlivened by Love. The full presence and power of the spirit of God brings healing and brings order at all levels, and it needs us to be able to function effectively in our worlds and for each one to bring that power in our own unique way.

Rudolph Steiner wrote this poem that I believe describes very well what I’m speaking about:

Seek the truly practical material life
But seek it in such a way that it does not numb you
To the spirit that works within it.

Seek the Spirit, but not out of spiritual lust or spiritual egoism;
Seek it rather because you wish to become selfless
In the practical life of the material world.

Apply the ancient principle:
Spirit is never without matter, matter is never without Spirit!

And say to yourselves:
We will do everything material in the light of the Spirit
And will seek the light of the Spirit in such a way
That it enkindles warmth in us for our practical deeds.

I believe these words illustrate the true function of man on earth: spiritually present, bringing the power and order of Spirit into the world in practical, creative ways.

As we approach the end of 2012 and remain cognizant of the power that we each have to bring creative change, and as we honor the natural cosmic cycles as they pertain to this planet and to humanity as a whole, we can welcome and help to shape a year that’s full of possibility.