#wisdom_biscuit: have the spiritual life you want.

I know it seems hyperbolic but nonetheless it is true: following these steps will get you what you want.

While these steps can be used in many aspects of life, I will be showing you how you can apply them to your spiritual-religious-faith life.

OBLIGATION TO PREFERENCE

I counsel wedding couples, and I love performing weddings. It is just a most wonderful joy. I help couples create a ceremony that reflects their unique, and yet universal, love and dedication to each other. And then I get to officiate at the ceremony. (I’ve been doing weddings for 20 years!)

If you know of folks who are looking for a fantastic officiant, I would love to see if I can be of help.

In planning the ceremony, I often ask each member of the couple, “with whom would you like to walk down the aisle?”

NOTE: I have worked with many couples for whom this traditional giving away is not the right thing, and we have come up with delightful alternatives. Nonetheless, I start with the question, “With whom would you like to walk down the aisle?”

Often I hear an answer along the lines of, “Well I should walk down with….”

I quickly interrupt and say, “No, no, no. I didn’t ask ‘With whom do you think you should walk down the aisle?’ I want to know, ‘With whom do you want to walk down the aisle?'”

It amazes me always how people unconsciously answer in terms of what they think they ought to do.

Obligation is powerful.

We all feel it.

There is obligation, and there is preference.
There is a difference between what we feel we ought to do and what we want to do.

PREFERENCE TO PROMISE

Often we know what we want.

  • We want to be calm
  • We want to be compassionate
  • We want to feel more love
  • We want people to think of us as loving
  • We want (fill in a want here)
  • We want (fill in a want here)
  • We want (fill in a want here)

But we don’t always get there.
We know what we want, but we don’t do it.

This reminds me of a quiz I like to give my classes:

There are three frogs on a lily pad, and one decides to jump in the water. How many frogs are left on the lily pad?

Three. One only decided to jump in the water. It didn’t actually jump.

Sometimes we know what we want, and we have decided to do something about it, but we haven’t gotten there. Yet.

ACCEPTANCE, FAITH, & GOD

I am going to unfold for you the logical progression from the start (obligation) to the end (making it happen). This is a process I learned from Dave Ellis, who is the best teacher I have ever met. (This is a big and bold endorsement.)

Dave uses this system with anything about which one might want to be passionate.

I am a clergy person passionate about nourishing spiritual religious hunger, and I am going to show you how to use these steps with regard to incorporating the spiritual-religious notion of accepting reality as it is and then for God. (If those are not things you desire in your life, make substitutions to reflect your desires.)

ONE STEP AT A TIME

Let’s start with the idea that you wish to go from OBLIGATION (I should surrender) to PROMISE (I do surrender).

Let’s start by looking at six sentences about acceptance of reality and changing the verb (and a few words as needed) in each sentence.

Obligation – I should accept reality as it is.
Possibility – Maybe I can accept reality as it is.
Preference – I’d like to accept reality as it is.
Passion – I strongly want to accept reality as it is.
Plan – I plan to continue accepting reality as it is.
Promise – I promise to live my life as someone who has accepted reality as it is.

Try reading the above sentences aloud. Really. (If you can find a friend to whom you can read them one at a time, that would be even better.) Read them out loud and listen to your voice. The idea is that you will hear in yourself what level feels genuine.

Then, once you know where you are, you can figure, one step at a time, how to get to the next step.

We only can advance one or maybe two stages at a time. When we feel impassioned and try to leapfrog some steps, we condemn ourselves to failure. One only can go up this ladder successfully if one goes in a linear fashion.

I tried this exercise with the idea of wanting to love God more actively; my frame of reference was people who seem to be buddies and laugh along with God in an active way. (This is according to a notion of God I was working with. Please don’t judge or make large assumptions about my theology.)

This is how my sentences worked:

Obligation – I should love God more actively.
Possibility – Maybe I can love God more actively.
Preference – I’d like to love God more actively.
Passion – I strongly want to love God actively.
Plan – I plan to love God actively.
Promise – I promise to live my life as someone who actively loves God.

At the first draft of this article, I said each sentence aloud. At the time, my voice faltered around preference. That allowed me to know exactly where I stood. Accordingly, I set myself to get to passion – that I strongly wanted to love God actively.

Now that I’m at the writing/editing stage of this article, I’ve leveled up. I’m solidly at plan. And I’m able to say with my voice only faltering a little bit, “I promise to live my life as someone who actively loves God.” So you know, articles usually take about 9 months from inception until you read them and there are usually two strong rounds of editing.

YOUR TURN

Think of the thing that you want in your life. You want __________.

Hints: Do you have enough compassion? Are you mindful to a degree you find appropriate? Do you find meaning in your life? Are you angered for reasons that no longer make sense to you? Do you easily accept reality as it is and easily accept love?

Fill in the sentences below, one at a time. Listen to yourself say each sentence and find out where you are stuck.

Obligation – I should __________.
Possibility – Maybe I can __________.
Preference – I’d like __________.
Passion – I strongly want __________.
Plan – I plan __________.
Promise – I promise to live my life as someone who__________.

Level up your spiritual-religious life.

If you want help, let me know.

#wisdom_biscuit: have the spiritual life you want.

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