Thursday, October 27, 2011

A kind of taking stock

Artist: Paul Gauguin

I have recently come across some material about the spiritual teacher, Robert Benson. Here's something he said that speaks to me.
Sometimes letting go of a spiritual practice can be as important as adding a new one. Sometimes reshaping one to account for a new set of circumstances is needed. Sometimes there is a hole in our spiritual practice that must be filled, and we can tell it because we are beginning to run on empty.

No one knows those things unless they have a rule, formal or informal, and unless they stop to look at it from time to time and make note of what is to be found there.
Many of the people I've talked to over the years are convinced that in cultivating a spiritual and interior life we are required to take on new practices. I really like Benson's outlook here about sometimes needing to do just the opposite.


  1. It doesn't apply just to spiritual practice. As you grow older if you don't learn to readjust your exercise, your eating, your sleeping, and just about everything else you can think of you're gonna make growing older even harder. And I suppose that includes spiritual disciplines. After a certain point, "The New Normal," becomes a phrase that comes around faster and faster with each passing year like an accelerating merry-go-round.

  2. This is one of those posts I keep coming back to, mainly because I think he contradicts himself in the first paragraph. To me Benson is saying there are times to either redesign or end certain spiritual practices and at other times new spiritual practices do need to be added. The key he is talking about is to be open and ever vigilant in evaluating ones religious practice to see if it is meeting your needs. If it isn't then it is time to adjust, drop, or add. I agree with Tom that this is true in all of life. The problems occur when we become rigid and believe that those things we have practiced/believed should be set in stone for ever more. Just my thoughts.
    Carolyn L.


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