Those who know me will attest that I have never been one to cotton to the idea of a singular path to God. I certainly have no judgment of those whose beliefs are more linear in nature; I have simply found my own particular sense of spirit to be far too vast to fit a single construct. I am reminded of the way my wife and I engage in the act of driving. When I need to go to Midway Airport, I always take 355 South to 88 West to 294 South to 55. Any time Lorri is accompanying me, she claims that I should take 355 straight to 55... "it is faster," says she. She may very well be right. Though I continue to take the route that I prefer. If it IS less ideal, the difference is negligible, and, for some reason, it makes me comfortable. In the end, regardless of the differences in our approach, we both reach our destination. For me, that is spirituality. Spirituality, in my estimation, is best defined as "mankinds attempt to connect his/her spirit to it's source." Though, there is no handbook on how to do this (some would say that the Bible fits that bill... from my perspective, it is just a very interesting book filled with some useful suggestions.) Therefore, we need a way to get there. Much like attempting to reach Midway airport, there are a myriad of options in terms of connecting one's spirit to source; organized religion, yoga, tai-chi, astrology, crystals, astral projection, transcendental meditation, etc. And so, whether Jesus or Muhammad or Allah or Buddha or the gold elephant in your meditation room gets you there... lovely. I suppose my sense of spirit borrows from all of these in one way or another. Though, if there is one construct that speaks to me more than any other, it would be The Law of Causality. For those who read "The Secret," The Law of Causality adheres rather closely to the ideas behind The Law of Attraction, though there is more attention to action than there is to thought. This is not to say The Law of Attraction states that wishing for things without taking action will get you anywhere, though (in my opinion) it leaves a lot of room to allow individuals to reach that conclusion. The Buddhists tell us that The Law of Causality asks us to consider that everything that happens in this world of ours falls into one of three categories: 1. A cause 2. A condition 3. A result. Further, we are told that every cause is also a condition and a result; every condition is also a cause and a result; and every result is also a cause and a condition. Confused? I don't blame you. Think, for a moment, of a packet of Hollyhock seeds (plants with purple-black flowers); let's call this our CAUSE. You walk outside and plant the seed, and what happens? If you said, a Hollyhock plant would grow... not so fast. If you plant the seeds in sand... will the seeds produce a plant? What if you planted them in asphalt? Clearly, to produce a Hollyhock plant, the seed (CAUSE) needs to be surrounded with certain CONDITIONS. In this case; fertile soil, sunlight and water. With the proper conditions, the RESULT will be a Hollyhock plant. On the other hand, if the CONDITIONS that surround the seed (CAUSE) are sand and darkness, the RESULT will be some gnarled old seeds lying in the ground. To take it a step further, let's say you now have a Hollyhock plant; that is the RESULT. This RESULT now becomes a CAUSE. If you surround the Hollyhock (CAUSE) withe CONDITIONS of more seeds and more water and sunlight, the RESULT will be a garden; which now becomes its own CAUSE... and so on. This holds true for everything in life. To bring this concept into the world of human experience; let's take a woman named Sarah. Sarah is married to Seth. Sarah's best friend is Sally. Seth has an affair with Sally and Sarah finds out. This affair is now our CAUSE. The pertinent question for Sarah is; what CONDITIONS will she apply to the CAUSE of infidelity? If she chooses the CONDITIONS of resentment and self-pity and fear, the RESULT may very well be a life of restlessness and discontentment. On the other hand, if the CONDITIONS she chooses are forgiveness and self-examination, the RESULT may be a different relationship that is far more fulfilling. Let us say that this new relationship is Sarah's RESULT. The RESULT of this new marriage now becomes a CAUSE. If that CAUSE is surrounded by the CONDITIONS of fidelity, communication, and mutual support, perhaps THE RESULT is a big family and a long life together... and so it goes. The Law of Causality informs us that WE are the architects of our own universe. Our lives are a product of our choices (and our thinking). People have often asked me, "Fine Michael, but if you are the designer of your own life, than why bother with prayer and meditation? Where does God fit into all this?" It's a wonderful question. To answer this question, I will call your attention to, what I believe to be, the two most important things ever uttered by humans. The first comes from Shakespeare, who wrote, "To thine own self be true." The other comes from Socrates (or Plato, we don't know for sure), who said, "Know thyself." It has been my experience that many (if not most) people try to pull of the Shakespeare suggestion without ever answering the question posed by Socrates (or Plato). That is, people try to be true to themselves without ever finding out who they are. They then find themselves maddeningly discontented, having gotten what they wanted in life, and still feeling empty. Well, how can you successfully be true to yourself if you don't know what you are being TRUE TO? Herein comes the glory of spiritual practice. By connecting to a higher power through action , we come to understand WHO WE TRULY ARE. With that information in available to us, we can then learn to be true to ourselves. That is, we now understand what CONDITIONS need be applied to our CAUSES to achieve satisfactory RESULTS. Ask yourself; do you ever look at the reality of your life with consternation and say, "Why me?" or "This isn't fair," or "It wasn't supposed to turn out this way," or "look what has happened to me." Nothing has happened TO YOU. Your own choices have orchestrated your present conditions. Further, the realities of your life at this very moment are results of causes and conditions that have already been chosen. There is nothing you can do to change the present results... therefore, they are not worth your energy. On the other hand, every one of those results is now a cause; and you now have the choice to surround those causes with the conditions of your choosing. Remember the serenity prayer: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (THE PRESENT RESULTS IN MY LIFE), courage to change the things I can (THE CONDITIONS I APPLY TO THE CURRENT CAUSES); and wisdom to know the difference (LET ME BE EFFICIENT IN WHERE I PUT MY ENERGIES). My friends, each of your lives are ensconced in abundance. We all HAVE far more than we DON'T HAVE. Seek gratitude for the gifts in your life, and use your God-given power to create the life you desire. Lastly, for those occasionally checking in here and finding it useful- if there are any specific subjects you would be interested in seeing broached, please let me know (there is a link at the bottom of the page where one can offer comments). I'd certainly welcome any suggestions and I will do what I can to honor them.
God bless you,