Spiritual vs. Material

Sunday, July 4, 2010

“We are not human beings having occasional spiritual experiences; we are spiritual beings having a temporary human experience.” – Wayne Dyer

More and more nowadays I am finding that this blog is my only place to truly express myself. I have never really used a diary in my life, but now more than ever I guess I need one and this is it. It's ok that noone hardly responds and I don't have many "followers". It is nice to just have a place where I can sort out my thoughts and purge my feelings.

My topic today is the challenges we all face when trying to determine who we are and what our purpose in life should be. Are we just physical beings with a focus on material needs or are we spiritual beings with a focus on heavenly virtues.

I don't believe that we are only physical beings doomed to wallow in each and every one of our material desires, lusts and selfish needs - that we are "only human" as so many people like to say when making excuses for negative behavior. I think we ARE more and that we CAN BE more if we put our minds to it.

God created us as noble creatures and has filled us with the essence of His Virtues - thus the concept that we have been created in "His Image". Can we just think about that for a second? How huge is that? What a gift! We were created to be the light of the world!

But in order to do that, we have to lift ourselves up above our baser material nature and work at developing our spiritual nature. Our spiritual nature is eternal, divine and everlasting. Our physical nature - and ALL that it entails - is finite, transitory and fleeting.

I refuse to leave this world with nothing to show for it - so I am going to focus on developing those aspects of myself that will last beyond this earthly existence - those heavenly virtues from the side of myself that will continue to exist after my life on this earth is over.

My spirit and its needs are infinitely more important than my body and its selfish desires. But what does that look like in the life that I am trying to lead? What does it mean to be in the world but not "of it"? And how do I survive this world when noone seems to understand? Is feeling so all alone an integral part of the process?



"...the heart is never at rest and never finds real joy and happiness until it attaches itself to the eternal. How foolish the bird that builds its nest in a tree that may perish when it could build its nest in an ever-verdant garden of paradise. Man must attach himself to an infinite reality, so that his glory, his joy, and his progress may be infinite." (Abdu'l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p.136)



"O friends! Let not the deceptive glamour of this fleeting world -- to whose impermanence all things attest -- cut you off from God's enduring bestowals, nor deprive you from partaking of the spiritual sustenance that He hath sent down from the heaven of His bounty." (Compilations vol II, p. 332)



"Letting go of all pleasures, calling nothing one's own,
let the wise cleanse oneself
from all the troubles of the mind.

Those whose minds are well grounded
in the elements of enlightenment,
who without clinging to anything
find joy in freedom from attachment,
whose appetites have been conquered,
and who are full of light,
they are free in this world." (Buddhist, Dhammapada - Sayings of the Buddha 2 (tr. J. Richards))



"Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." (King James Bible, 1 Peter)



"Take care to provide well for your future abode. Do not barter away eternal blessing for pleasures of this mortal and fleeting world." (Ali b. Abi Taalib, Letters from Nahjul Balaagh)



"But the life of man is not so restricted; it is divine, eternal, not mortal and sensual. For him a spiritual existence and livelihood is prepared and ordained in the divine creative plan. His life is intended to be a life of spiritual enjoyment to which the animal can never attain. This enjoyment depends upon the acquisition of heavenly virtues. The sublimity of man is his attainment of the knowledge of God. The bliss of man is the acquiring of heavenly bestowals, which descend upon him in the outflow of the bounty of God. The happiness of man is in the fragrance of the love of God. This is the highest pinnacle of attainment in the human world. How preferable to the animal and its hopeless kingdom!

Therefore, consider how base a nature it reveals in man that, notwithstanding the favors showered upon him by God, he should lower himself into the animal sphere, be wholly occupied with material needs, attached to this mortal realm, imagining that the greatest happiness is to attain wealth in this world. How purposeless! How debased is such a nature! God has created man in order that he may be a dove of the Kingdom, a heavenly candle, a recipient of eternal life. God has created man in order that he may be resuscitated through the breaths of the Holy Spirit and become the light of the world. How debased the soul which can find enjoyment in this darkness, occupied with itself, the captive of self and passion, wallowing in the mire of the material world! How degraded is such a nature! What an ignorance this is! What a blindness! How glorious the station of man who has partaken of the heavenly food and built the temple of his everlasting residence in the world of heaven!" (Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 185)

3 comments:

The Peddicord Post said...

When reading your post tonight a verse came to mind which I was taught years ago as part of a karate program!

Romans 12:1-2 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

Those two verses have a lot to say...but I guess for me the most profound words are, "which is your reasonable service." "Reasonable service" to me is saying, "this is the least you can do!" Yikes! It reminds me that daily I have to recommit myself to the Body of Christ, to living purely and holy to the best of my ability, and to renewing my mind.

Your post was very thought provoking, thanks!

-Christy

Justin Johnson said...

Thanks for the verse Christy! That's a good one! I like the idea of "renewing my mind". That's exactly what takes, isn't it? Being ever vigilant and focusing on being the best you can be at all times.

Aminda said...

interesting my yoga topic for the week is non-attachment...I'm sort of attached to getting my house finished after the move in though :)
Love your posts.

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