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Practical Spirit and Spirit in Practice

Practical Spirit and Spirit in Practice

NB:  This post was from December 2014. The course it mentions is no longer being offered, but the content of the post still seems useful. Let me know what you think.


I realize that for many people, the idea of spirituality doesn’t immediately bring “practical help” to mind. For many people, the idea of spirituality brings to mind fluffyheadedness, lack of seriousness, and even irrationality.

I doubt you’re one of those people.

But just in case, there are some things I want to say about spiritual discernment in general, and the upcoming discernment course, Wise Choices for Hard Times.

First, discernment is a practical skillset. The various forms of discernment I teach all have one thing in common—they rely on and evoke practical wisdom.

Second, discernment is indeed grounded in spiritual principles, and relies on your Deepest, Wisest Self, and that Self’s connection with the Source of Life.

Third, over time, the use of structured discernment helps develop the muscles of wisdom, the powers of decision making.

Spirit in practice

My point here is that discernment is both spiritual and practice. In fact, there need be no separation between the two. What seems to us purely practical always has spiritual and psychological underpinnings. Practical choices always express our underlying beliefs and unconscious motivations.

Meanwhile, conscious, spiritual choices have practical effects. As Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ is said to have written, “Finding God, that is, falling in love in a quite absolute and final way…will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.”

Finding God he calls falling in love. Seeking God is how the Roman Catholic religious sisters I know describe their spiritual lives. This kind of language may or may not be language you use.

The value of the spiritual life

What is important is that the spiritual life—the quest, the call, the journey, the response—has practical implications.

If it didn’t—if the spiritual life were to have no bearing on other aspects of your life—what good would it be? How spiritual would it even be? What would its worth be?

Now you could say that it is valuable in and of itself. That it is simply good to be reminded of who we are in relation to the Divine, to the cosmos, to any of our infinite connections. But “just” that reminder is enough to change one’s whole outlook.

And changing our outlook, our awareness, changes everything.

Experience some practical spirituality

I invite you, then, to listen to the call on discernment—the spiritual, practical, and embodied practice—that we had on the 4th. click here to sign up to receive the recording.

Once you’ve had a taste of what that’s like, I invite you to register for the full six-week course of Wise Choices for Hard Times. The email with your December 4th recording will have more information.

Blessings to you! Blessings of the miracle of light, this first day of Chanukah!

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