We know by now that the most important thing we can do to help us grow on the sacred path is to align our personal will with God’s will. We know the steps we need to take which will help us achieve this: Ask for God’s graces and divine wisdom; release the barriers of the surface-self which stand in our way so we can more fully understand our spiritual path; surrender into God, which naturally leads to a desire to act by carrying His sacred essence into the world for the edification and peace of others.
But let’s face it—we’re going to mess up. A lot. It happens, not every so often but daily, usually several times a day. We all have shadow sides, parts of us that are more difficult to release than others. As we travel the spiritual path of ask, release, surrender, and act, we don’t leave each stage behind as we progress, but we take them with us as new spiritual tools. The cycle of ask, release, surrender, and act is continuous, an ebb and flow which isn’t necessarily linear. Sometimes we need to release before we even know how to ask. At other times—and more often than not--act comes into play multiple times. Each step will appear within the time and order necessary for your complete, unique transformation.
Again, this takes practice, and we’ll often fall out of spiritual alignment. We know we’re out of alignment when we experience fear and frustration, panic and stress; when we allow ourselves to be abused or to abuse others. Yet for each time we find ourselves off kilter, we’re given an instant opportunity to realign. The more we adjust —the more we struggle and practice and triumph—the straighter we become.
How do we achieve inner alignment, and how do we maintain it?
Our quest isn’t flawlessness—if it was, we’d fall flat on our foreheads before our first step. Rather, our goal is attaining the highest levels we possibly can, which are those inspired and guided by Divine Will, designed specifically for our unique life’s path. In order to seek this place of alignment, this inner soul space, we must constantly seek a balance between our true selves and our understanding of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit.
Soul space is a place we return to, again and again, each time we find ourselves falling out of alignment with God’s will. It’s a re-centering, a regrouping, a reconfiguration of spirit to Spirit. We must unify ourselves with God, creating this inner refuge of peace and tranquility no matter what the world outside is doing. When we allow our souls to expand and grow in unity with the Holy Spirit, suffering becomes sacred and joys are tempered with a knowledge that everything we have—indeed, everything we are—is a gracious gift from God. The inclination of the surface-self to become attached to both things and emotions will disappear, replaced with the memory of God’s blessings, a true understanding of our spiritual selves, and a surrender of our personal will into the Divine Will of God.
When we experience Divine Alignment, we follow the will of God through a natural extension of our true beinghood. That deep inner Voice, most often called intuition, becomes bolder and more confident. We learn to want only what God wants, which is our highest good—regardless of the form that highest good may take.
When challenges and tragedy strike, people often have difficulty with this teaching. I won’t go into much detail now, since the theme of next week’s installment is Sacred Suffering (a topic which may sound intimidating, but is actually quite beautiful). In brief I will say that it’s through challenges that we develop the spiritual stamina to incorporate deeper insights and intuitions into our daily lives. It’s through challenges that the voice of Spirit speaks to us, and it’s by honing our spiritual hearing that we allow the Voice to grow louder and bolder as we open ourselves to receive more profound guidance. By traveling these interchanging steps of ask, release, surrender, and act, we align the powers of our soul to the point that our will is balanced with Divine Will, and we begin to desire the same thing God desires—that we be made holy.
What does it mean to be “made holy”? It sounds a bit medieval-esque to me, with hints of incense and candle wax. Yet although our vocabulary has necessarily changed with the times (for example, plagose is no longer used in everyday conversation, likely because general society is no longer fond of flogging), to be “made holy” is simply to be in alignment with Divine Will.
The steps we’ve encountered up to this point have led us to this place of bliss. Of course, traversing these steps takes time—years, a lifetime even—and can’t be accomplished in just a few weeks. Even so, you hopefully now have a formula, a basis and a structure, something to lean on as you travel your divinely-guided path. Remember that patience is the sustaining Light guiding us toward progression. When we feel the need to rush—to push, pull, or prod things into our expected rhythms and mindsets—we’ll inevitably cause misalignment.
What does it me to be "made holy"?
It takes patience and persistence to accomplish goals, no matter what they may be. No one can expect to be a world-class surgeon after one year of med school, or even a few years of residency. It takes repetition, practice, constant vigilance and a desire to always increase our knowledge in order to become adept in any field. This is as true for the spiritual journey as it is for other aspects of life. We can’t expect to undergo radical transformation in only forty days. It could happen, but most often those forty days are preparation for a gradual unfolding of spiritual development, an unfolding which takes place over the course of our lifetimes. Those who lack the sacred awareness of patience lack the development and stamina needed to proceed. They’re the ones who always feel as if “something is missing,” a void they can’t quite fill no matter how much external stuff they add to their lives (which does more harm than good, because it creates more blocks). They’re always searching for that new solution, yet all those new “secrets” never last, and are soon replaced by something else. Why? Because true spiritual change takes an internal shift, a patient diligence, a deep understanding of the self as it exists within the palm of God’s embrace.
It’s easy to lose patience, both with ourselves and with others. This week, try to remember that patience truly is a virtue. When you find yourself losing Divine Alignment, try to re-center by calling to mind the sacred soul space within, the part of yourself that has been “made in God’s image” and that shares in the promises of Christ.
Prayer ... In a Nutshell:
Wherever You take me, I willingly go. No matter the path, regardless of the place, here I’ll be. And always, led by Your Light, it shall be in a place of peace, because it’s a place of Your will. Amen.
Inspirational quotes for the week:
“God pours himself into the soul, and the light at the core of the soul grows so strong that it spills out, radiates through the soul’s agents, even passing outward to man ... The light in the soul’s core overflows into the body, which becomes radiant with it.” (Meister Eckhart)
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” (Albert Einstein)
“If such be the will of God, so let it be.” (Socrates)
“Let me seek You so that my soul may live, for my body draws life from my soul and my soul draws life from You.” (St. Augustine of Hippo)
I'm Jenny duBay, a domestic abuse survivor and now advocate. My degree is in Christian theology with a concentration on spiritual direction, and my vocational emphasis is on helping those who have suffered from domestic abuse to heal and reclaim their true selves.