by Rev. Brandon Nagel
Growing up in a “Unity” house, I had the opportunity to know from a very early age that there was a divine order active in our world. For as long as I can remember, there was always this knowing within me that there was a universal harmony to the world. My issue was that despite knowing this, there was also a part of me that could observe the outside world and through that observation come to another realization…the realization that there appears to be a lot less order in the world than I was led to believe. This of course led to a crisis in faith of sorts as I assume it has for so many others. What I finally came to realize was that this is about more than divine order. This crisis of faith, this doubting my long held spiritual beliefs was about me needing to move past the place of understanding them intellectually and into the place of living them.
Last time, I wrote about reminding yourself of the wonder and presence of God in the world around you. And while that is an important and powerful practice to put into place, I think it is also important to understand the importance of living your spiritual journey from a heart centered approach. Personally, this was the biggest shift I had to make in my spiritual practice. I have always been a mind centered kind of guy. I want to understand things from an intellectual level and then maybe we can move on to the heart-centered approach.
Over the course of the past few years, what I have come to realize is that sticking only with that intellectual approach led to me have the most issues with seeing the perfect harmony of divine order in both my life and in my world. It became clear that my mind was receiving two different messages. There was the message I grew up with that there was an order and harmony to the universe and then there was the message that this thing or that thing was wrong. There was the chaos that would arise from some global situation or another. All those things gave me the opposite message.
And so, my mind would become conflicted and just like Peter when he stepped off the boat in the story of Jesus walking on the water, my faith would shrink and I would sink. In order to stop living from that place of shrinking faith, I made a switch in how I perceived my spirituality. I began attempting to live from a more heart centered place. And what exactly did that look like?
For me it looked like beginning my mediation by consciously welcoming the presence of God to be an active force in my life this day.
And from there I would make the commitment to focus living from the qualities of God. Living that day with the strength, wisdom and love that I would need to encounter whatever was mine to do.
The reason I believe this worked for me is because that presence of God lives within our heart and when we call it forth, when we welcome it as an active force in our lives each day, when our prayer is to allow the presence of God to do its work through us; then we are truly living from our heart. And living our spiritual lives from our hearts is the true key to living a successful spiritual life.