Faith Crisis

It's hard to be spiritual in today's world

You’re right — there is a tremendous amount of suffering on earth. “Suffering,” said the Buddha, “extends as far as the eye can see.” So, any spiritual person is bound to wonder, “How can I, as a sensitive child of God, endure the chilling aspects of human life without losing my higher consciousness and positive disposition? If I can’t keep it together personally, how can I hope to help others?” Many people reach the same conclusion you did: RETREAT!

Perhaps you must withdraw — periodically, and even regularly — in order to keep your head on straight, and maintain your close relationship to God. There certainly is great and abiding relief in spiritual vision, and in spiritual consciousness. Still, as a general rule, a chronic habit of withdrawal from the world is almost always spiritually unhealthy. People who are interested in living a strong spiritual life do best to maintain regular involvement in responsible work and ongoing relationships.

What the Practical Sphere Contributes to the Mystical Sphere

We are not in this world for nothing. We were put here for a couple of very good reasons, actually:

  1. We need to learn and grow from experience. Living in the world provides the kind of challenges that help us build spiritual muscle. For the sake of our spiritual growth, we need the spiritual exercise that right and earnest living provides. We grow by striving to maintain spiritual orientation in the process of living, through thick and thin.
  2. The world needs our help. Obviously, there’s more to spiritual living than what benefits you personally. Your spiritual consciousness is of no use to anyone else if you do not live it, and give it. What if all the spiritually conscious people withdrew from this world? Who would remain to help, heal, and uplift the rest of humanity? The world needs your love, it needs the light of your spiritual consciousness. Therefore, while spiritual consciousness is not of this world, it can — and should — be manifested in this world.
So: be grateful to be here — and take full advantage of this opportunity. Throughout the universes, angels are said to envy the wonderful opportunity that human birth represents: a chance to climb the mountain of evolutionary progress, starting nearly at the animal level, and climbing to celestial heights. That cosmic ascent provides evolving mortals with a depth of comprehension and compassion that no purely heaven-born entity can acquire.

As we discover our way to rightly relate to the conditions in which we find ourselves, we are strengthened, not weakened, by the evolutionary struggle. And at the same time, we participate in God’s grand scheme for the refinement of life on earth.

God’s plan for human life on earth is that human beings should live as love — here. God doesn’t promise that by loving, we will escape all the difficulties of life — or be relieved of challenges and responsibilities. God promises that by loving, we will find our rightful place in the Universe. By living spiritually here, we can play our part in the upleveling of humanity. That’s crucial, isn’t it?

How DO you keep it together to avoid being excessively chilled by the world?