New to the Valley
Spirit on the Job
by Rev. Wendy Collins
The time to become aware of what our mind is focusing on is right now. Why would we consciously choose to put off something that will make our lives more balanced and happy? Many times, we put off the beginning of a spiritual practice because we feel that we do not have enough time or knowledge and we may justify that our life is all right with no need for change. The word ‘Tomorrow’ may become our mantra. The tactic that we use to keep ourselves from meeting our True Self, at the deepest level, is nothing more than a smoke screen type of device, supported by our personalities’ ego, to keep us from becoming all that we truly are.
In the book, the Art of Happiness, The Dalai Lama says, “That we must begin our search for meaning when things are going well. A tree with strong roots can withstand the most violent storm, but the tree can’t begin to grow roots just as the storm appears on the horizon.”
Many of us use spiritual practices for crisis management. This means that we go to church, to meetings, study, meditate, attend retreats and seminars when our life is NOT working….and as soon as the pain in our mental lives has lessened, we stop exercising our spiritual muscles. To make real changes in our lives, to become constantly aware of our thoughts, requires mental exercise…just as we go to the gym to strengthen our bodies, we must make a daily effort to strengthen our awareness. The time to get truly productive inner work done is when our lives are calm, uncluttered and free from dramas. A commitment to begin the day with prayer, meditation, or a daily lesson may seem an insignificant thing. This very act of beginning a practice may set a cornerstone that the rest of our lives may be built upon.
We owe it to ourselves to develop towards our individual potential. Ask yourself, “Are you living up to and exploring what your potential is?” Personal best in a fitness race is small potatoes compared to personal best in our inner spiritual life. The Dalai Lama teaches that the steps to bring about internal transformation begin with ‘learning and education’, then ‘determination and enthusiasm’, with our ‘effort’ being the final factor in bringing about change. It is very ‘do-able’ and we are able to begin living a life as if we have suddenly awakened.
The ‘strong roots’ that the Dalai Lama refers to, are an inner awareness that lets us remain in touch with our core even in times of crisis. This work does not remove us from the feeling heart, it actually makes us more alive than we’ve ever been. We develop an emotional and spiritual tool chest that is based on the idea of being present in the moment. As we are in balance internally, we become a factor for positive change in the world. We change our idea about the world around us, and the world around us changes. We must begin somewhere…..what about where we are right now? Today is a perfect day to make a commitment to ourselves. One tiny step at a time, committing to become all that we can be….
Wendy Collins is the minister at the Wood River Spiritual Center at 2 nd & Bullion in Hailey. Weekly services are held on Sunday at 9:30 am.