People often find that developing the spiritual dimension of life can be a challenge. While many people hope to experience inner peace or a sense of purpose in life, sometimes the experience of spiritual practice is frustration. Those frustrations are often linked to the ways the values of society conflict with living in a way that is balanced and integrated.
In my book, The Good Road: The Journey Along the Spiritual Path, I discuss some of the roadblocks along the spiritual path. Today, I wanted to share an excerpt from that book on the first roadblock discussed in The Good Road: the instant society. In short, living in a culture that’s based on instant access makes it difficult for us to be patient in taking time to develop the spiritual dimension of our lives. Here’s how I described it in The Good Road.
The First Roadblock: The Instant Society
Microwave ovens. Fast food. Real-time chat on the Internet. Overnight express delivery. Time in our culture is fast and getting faster. There is a kind of urgency in everything we do. Whether work or leisure, meals or conversation, no matter what it is, we want it fast. Time is very important to us. The faster things can be done the better.
Waiting at stoplights is an annoyance. Someone driving too slowly in front of us brings a response of rage. Standing in line at the grocery checkout, post office, or airline counter is an annoying waste of time. Time is of the essence.
In this rushed way of life, taking time to sit, be still, and focus on the spiritual life seems like an absurdity. Yet, stopping, taking time, and being quiet is absolutely necessary for spiritual growth. Perhaps nothing else is more difficult for people today.
Each of the spiritual exercises discussed in this text requires time: time to slow down, relax, and be still. Spiritual reading requires slow, thoughtful reflection to allow the words of a text to ruminate in our hearts. Faith sharing requires a relaxed, personal conversation. Centering prayer or meditation necessitates sitting in silence for what seems like a long time doing nothing in particular. Learning to stop, take time, and be still in our fast paced world is probably the biggest roadblock on the spiritual path.
Unless a person takes time for spiritual practices and does so leisurely on a regular basis, progress along a spiritual path won’t happen. To walk a spiritual path in American culture today really does require climbing the hurdle of a fast-paced life to learn to calm oneself and be quiet inside. Often, the only way over the hurdle is to just take the time and do it. It’s by regularly taking the leisure time to be quiet inside that progress toward inner stillness can occur.
Of course, you’re welcome to explore both roadblocks along the spiritual path as well as find positive insights for your journey toward integration by reading The Good Road.
© 2015, emerging by Lou Kavar, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.