Saturday, November 1, 2014

Building Spiritual Capacity

Living in a world where we have become too dependent upon expecting instant results, we have in the process lessened our capacity to adjust or accommodate. Fewer and fewer people are having the patience or fortitude to see things through with love and insight.

People's tolerance levels are dropping fast and temper levels are on the rise. Very often waiting for the traffic lights to turn green makes some turn red with fury! If the telephone does not connect to someone half way around the world in ten seconds or less, we curse the phone lines or the internet company. When the ignition does not flick on the stove in an instant, it is we who get heated!

The above are just basic every day practical things. Yet what about tolerating differing ideologies and beliefs? We are quick to judge, hate or even kill because we cannot tolerate the other for who they are, or what they represent.

To be inflexible or obstinate is ego; the belief that I am right or that mine is the only way forward. If I am at least open and humble, I will be willing to stop, listen, and wait and welcome the outcome. I may even learn a thing or two. But when impatience gets the better of me, I develop a short fuse and the whole circuit breaks down!

A deeper, more subtle aspect to this ego is when I have impatience or intolerance in dealing with my own personality, and especially my negative habits. Because of not wanting to face or manage my own shortcomings, I instead strive to prove that I dont really want anything, need anyone, or aspire to anything in life.

I feel that I am not good at conversation, and therefore I dont need to speak to anyone. Or I say no to golden opportunities that come my way for fear of failure, or my ego tells me that it is better not to try at all than to fail and be made to look a fool! But who am I fooling?

Avoidance means that I am not stretching my boundaries or limits, nor am I learning or growing. My fear, laziness, or selfishness is keeping me stuck. Building capacity is all about taking risks and pushing myself to go the extra mile, and not taking the easy way out by remaining firmly within my comfort zone. To build spiritual capacity, I have to take a deeper look at myself to see where it is that I have installed the 'blinkers' in my life and what I am refusing to deal with. Then I can progress.

Every day should pass with the feeling that I have learnt something new and grown from it. Even if my learning is just to see something in a new light or gain a new perspective, at least I have expanded my thinking. This cannot happen if I always believe that I am the one who is right and therefore no one can teach me anything. I need to be open and engaging otherwise my capacity shrinks rather than expands.

Extending the capability and capacity of the soul is essential in order to deal with life in todays world, but it requires a deep level of understanding and commitment of my own self-progress and well-being. Whatever situation I am faced with, I can ask myself what can I learn from this? Why has this situation arisen in front of me (and not someone else?). And when we really learn the lesson of humility, we may also ask, not only what can I take (learn) but also, what can I give (inspire)? I grow spiritually by giving. Even when, or you could say, especially when I think I am lacking something, then let me give initially. For example, I cant receive love, or respect, until I give it first.

Its not only about others being my teachers but I can learn from observing myself and the entire drama of life itself. Instead of cursing the traffic jam, I choose to use the time to slow down my racing mind. When you think that things have taken a turn for the worse then turn it around and find the benefit in the situation. Let me curious instead of judgmental. Try cooperating with that colleague at work instead of resisting, and see what happens. It may not be comfortable, but you have just extended your capabilities to another level, and that will reap benefits for you in every area of your life.

Its Time... to stretch our capacity, by dropping the ego and by accommodating and adjusting, being flexible and flowing. As we expand out of our comfort zone, we will truly feel we are living and not just living for ourselves. There is a lot life can teach me... if I am willing to learn.

'It's Time...' by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London