Spiritual Discipline Overcomes Our Society-Induced Passivity and Gives Us a Sense of Agency
Modern society attempts continually to make us passive and inert in a thousand different ways. Corporations control our healthcare, inform us what treatments they will and will not pay for, decide which books will become bestsellers, badger us to purchase the latest technological devices in order to "keep up with the times," and beam their hyped-up advertising campaigns at us repeatedly. Then the entertainment industry creates movies and shows that try to do all of our imagining FOR us. News media corporations scare us from trusting one another by consistently presenting only the bad news, while cell phone manufacturers and social media sites program us to obsessively and constantly check for the latest messages and "Likes." This in turn prevents us from experiencing the capacity for meaningful down time, with its attendant stillness, introspection and reflection that are necessary conditions to help spur us on toward greater spiritual perception and creativity.
By contrast, spiritual discipline teaches us to say "no" to a lot of these corporate shenanigans, offering a kind of "fast" from societal hyperstimulation as a means of fostering the stillness that brings unitive insight. Silence, solitude, reading, reflecting, journaling and meditation help us set the boundaries that will enable our native core radiance to blaze up and spring into action. Like the confining banks of a river, sacred disciplines and practices help intensify the flow and strength of spiritual awareness, spurring us onward toward greater growth and insight. Every spiritual master I've ever known closely guarded his or her own space, and maintained firm boundaries that served to help protect their spiritual energies and intensify a sense of agency. Only with such agency can we then form - and become - the strong container that will be supremely capable of receiving and overflowing with spiritual insights and epiphanies!
Photos: (Top) Trail Ridge Road, Aspens and the Mummy Range, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO, October 16, 2015; (Bottom) Aspen leaves and Cow Creek cascades, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO, October 10, 2015
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Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.