Waiting as a Spiritual Practice

 


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The capacity to wait, despite its very ordinariness, can be a profound spiritual tool with which to dismantle the needs and pressures of both our ego and will. Important in this is the kind of waiting that takes place, for there are many kinds, and not all of them are capable of releasing the ego in a way that is beneficial to spiritual growth.

The kind of waiting that is transformative is based on the capacity for surrendering our desire to have things be the way our smaller self wants them to be, if they are not in alignment with what God and our higher Self wishes. This kind of surrender that overrules one's personal interests is the opposite of what is currently popular as a path of spiritual development today, namely, a path based on the principle that we create our life through our thoughts and intentions.

The question here is: Who is it that we wish to create our lives – our familiar self that is conscious of having needs, wishes, and desires, or God's self that is individualized within our higher being but that is not the same as our conscious mind-self? The place where intention comes from defines the difference between a life built on a certain kind of mastery – one that uses thought to create desired effects in life - and a life in which the power of thought is turned over to God so that God's thoughts may direct our life and not our own. This distinction is profound, yet in one way not as substantial as it might appear, for the factor of the creative power of thought remains the same. Only the source of intention that is the creative force differs. In the second case, it is the individualized aspect of Spirit that dwells within each of us that is what we surrender to. This individualized Spirit, by whatever name it is called, involves the knowledge of oneness with the Divine and it belongs to every child of God. From this place of holiness, and to the extent that this place of holiness is approached, the ‘I’ that creates is no longer an ‘I’ that is separate. It is an ‘I’ that exists only as part of the greater Whole that is God.

Waiting, therefore, when life-circumstances require it, asks of us to make a choice with respect to which ‘I’ we wish to direct our lives. We can be impatient. We can feel that life is treating us unfairly. We can feel optimistic or pessimistic. Or we can accept the postponement of what our human embodied self would wish to have happen, and allow our smaller self to rest in the embrace of the larger. Waiting allows us to practice devotion in any area of life. It creates a transformational path through surrender. This path is not easy to follow, for the history of the ego being in charge has been a long one, and any efforts to move in a different direction is likely to arouse complaint. No, this is the narrow gate by which those who choose to will pass, not through the mastery of external life-circumstances, but through mastery of the self alone.

The rewards of this narrow way can be described in one essential word – Love. Along this way there becomes only one Thinker and one Intender, and that Thinker is the One who is the Source of all of life. This relationship, whose means is surrender, is founded in Love. It is a relationship that can begin at any time, at any place, and in any circumstance. It's basic prayer is: “Show me the way. Lead me and guide me in Thy light. " This prayer does not disempower the self as some feel in relation to the word ‘surrender’. It redefines who the self is, and seeks to unite the lower self with the higher. This is what makes the practice of waiting transformative.

Such a practice does not have to apply to every area of life, but it can. And it does not have to be pursued deliberately, for there are many circumstances in life that find us in the normal course of events, making it unnecessary for us to go looking for them. What the sacred practice of waiting involves is a willingness to use these circumstances of life as steps along a spiritual path. Such a path has been carved out by many holy men and women of the past and it remains equally valid today as a path of ascendance. It is a matter of having the courage to embrace what is difficult, and to know that in the embracing, one is not sacrificing one's real self. One is releasing the aspects of self that are less real in favor of those that are more real, in keeping with the lines of the poem that say:

Lord, lead me from the less real to the more real,
From the finite to the infinite,
From death to immortality.

For a list of writings by Julie Redstone see Pathways of Light , a part of http://lightomega.org . For more about joining the lower and higher part of oneself, see the Purification section of the Light Omega website and the Calendar of 100 Days .

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