This week’s life mapping opportunity invites you to reflect on a time in your life when spirituality brought a Better Ending. This might be as simple as a time when you prayed, or meditated, or contemplated deeply about some situation, and this focus allowed you to make a better decision or to take a good step in a new (or a staid) direction. Spirituality, as I mentioned earlier this week, seems to me to be a Better Ending in and of Itself, in whatever form we make our connection and Tune In.
You could map your life history of spiritual interests and spiritual practice, or journal to that effect. Is there a series of steps or plateaus along your pathway? How has your religious or spiritual pathway opened before you from step to step or teacher to teacher? Or, how has your connection with your own inner and outer spiritual guidance—e.g. via Christ or Buddha or Mohammed or Krishna or Lao Tzu or Shams-i-Tabriz or Bahau’allah or another spiritual leader, Master or Guide, or through your spiritual or philosophical readings or scriptures–or by inspiring philosophers or authors generally–helped to Light Up and expand your pathway of understanding? What are your goals, your spiritual Quest, from Here? Please feel free to share your stories, too.
Let me try my hand at a journal-type of spiritual life mapping, as a brief example. Please though, do your own; mine is offered here only as an example of how you might apply the technique. :
I remember at around 9 or 10 that I had a special friend, a Blue Man, who was a constant companion. He knew all of my thoughts and was very loving and patient and kind with me. I used to think all adults could read my mind, because he certainly knew all of my thoughts and we communicated telepathically. When I prayed, he was by my side. I would pray, “Now I lay me down to sleep…and let anyone and everyone who wants to, live to old age and be healthy”; then I would start naming everyone I knew to include in the prayer so that the bedside prayer might last a half hour or more. Or I remember wondering, and asking the Blue Man, what would happen when someone dies; then I would imagine that life force was like the electrical current running through a TV wire. If unplugged, the electricity would simply light up another TV; I imagined that I died, and then I would simply be awake in another body.
I started sketching an image of my Blue Man at around 12; it was my constant classroom doodle. Many years later I would find him as my spiritual Master that I look to for outer and inner guidance, still today. BTW, I am an ECKist of 40 years, someone who practices the spiritual techniques of Eckankar, a spiritual teaching that recognizes the validity of ALL paths. Its current spiritual leader is the author of many spiritual books, Sri Harold Klemp. Here is actually a pretty close rendition of my doodle and the spiritual Teacher I eventually found:
All paths lead Home, I believe, and you are where you are meant to be, right now, where you can learn most, give and receive divine love most, given your current focus of consciousness.
For me the biggest Better Ending from spirituality—apart from always, in the Eternal NOW—occurred in a lucid dream when I was 20. After having spent a summer in Alaska (outwardly, not in the dream), I dreamed I was waiting at a bus stop. The bus came and when I got on there were various passengers who all seemed familiar, and I realized there was a seat waiting for me, next to a friend (DM), who was not there but whose raincoat was over her seat. As I sat and talked with people on the bus about my recent time in Alaska and how I was going home (ostensibly to Buffalo then) with very little to show for it because I hadn’t saved much money from working at a crab cannery, first I noticed that some of these people I had met in Alaska… Tlingit Indian friends I had worked with. Then I realized, as they looked at me patiently, hoping I would eventually understand, that this bus was going HOME, not to Buffalo, and it would take as long as it would take. I woke up. I wanted nothing more in life right then but to go back to that bus that was going Home. So I played Simon and Garfunkle’s ‘Emily’: “Such a dream I had…” over in my mind, and I was back on the bus! This time, all but myself had reached their destination; I was the only passenger left. I said to the Busdriver, “I want to go Home!” Suddenly I was standing in front of a room with the door slightly ajar. I peered in and saw a small group of people engaged in a deep, esoteric conversation. A woman with a long flowing dress and dark flowing hair came to the door. “Would you mind if I just listened?” I asked. She opened the door widely and beckoned that there was a seat on the couch where people were talking around a table, a seat that was meant for me, but I had to be the one to ask. Next I was seated there while they were engaged deeply in conversation about some spiritual principle. “I hope you will not mind our nudity,” said a man leading the discussion along with the woman who had opened the door for me. (Symbolically, as soon as I woke I would know this meant total openness.) “I can’t participate yet, but okay,” I said. Then, to the woman who seemed so familiar, I said aloud, “OKAY!”
I met that woman from the dream outwardly, two days later at my college cafeteria, and it was directly through her—Laurie and her husband John, who was the man in the dream—that I discovered my spiritual path for this lifetime.
As Joseph Campbell might say: “All paths lead Home.” Wherever Home is for you—Heaven or Nirvana or God-Realization or a scientific sense of Truth with a capital T, or simply greater Awareness–, find or hold to your path that will take you there, one that well represents your core values and satisfies your Quest, and follow. Going Home—arriving there ultimately—is the Best ‘Better Ending’ of all!