As Simple as This?

The vast variety & shear volume of stuff rapidly coming at us & constantly changing can feel very disorienting & stressful. It seems to be a jumble of 1) things we want, 2) things we don't want, and 3) things that appear irrelevant.

Is there a simple way to navigate the cacophony?

Perhaps investigating who we are holds the key. What is our most authentic state? When do we feel most "at home"?

A number of wise, highly respected people have come to the same conclusion: an authentic, well-lived life centers around turning suffering into love.

Norman Fischer's thoughts on accomplishing this:

"In my life I have cultivated love through a path of spiritual practice, a life of meditation and study and reflection. I think you also will need a path of spiritual practice. You also will need some kind of religious life if you are going to survive this difficult human journey with your heart intact and your love generous and bright.

A spiritual or a religious life doesn't need to look like what we have so far thought of as a spiritual life. The world now is too various and connected for the old paths to work. Not that the old paths are outmoded – they are as useful today as they ever were, perhaps more so. But they need to be re-formatted, re-configured, for our lives as they are now. And above all, they need to be open and tolerant, transparent and porous rather than opaque, and expansive rather than exclusive. A spiritual life can and should be much more lively and various and interesting than we have previously imagined. To investigate at the deepest possible level the human heart and the purposes of a human life that is essentially connected at all points to and with others and the planet Earth can be – and should be, maybe must be – deeply engaging and satisfying. There are a million ways to approach it. But the main thing is, I think, that you need some commitment, some discipline – and you need a regular practice, something you actually do.

The most important characteristic – the defining characteristic, I would say – of a spiritual practice is that it is useless. That is, it is an activity that has no other practical purpose than to connect you to your heart and to your highest and most mysterious purpose – a purpose that is literally unknown, because it references the unanswerable questions I mentioned a moment ago. We do so many things for so many good reasons – for our physical or psychological or emotional health, for our family life or economic life, for the world. But a spiritual practice is useless – it doesn't address any of those concerns. It is a practice that we do to touch our lives beyond all concerns – reaching beyond our lives to their source.

For me that practice is and has been for a long time sitting in silence. That's a good one; maybe it will also be good for you. I certainly recommend it to everyone – regardless of your religious affiliation or lack of one. But there are many others."

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