Among the enchanting backdrop of a cliff face in Socorro, NM, we geared up to climb. Three friends in search of enlightenment and an adrenaline rush. The least experienced member at that time asked “is this supposed to be spiritual?” In that moment, puffy white clouds sailed overhead, rust colored rock towered above us, luminous sun beams danced on our face.
Spiritual? Gorgeous? Natural to say the least.
It takes mastery of body and mind to scale great and large things. Look around, pay attention and appreciate the external… this is a key to unlock the internal climate.
It’s not what you
look at that matters,
it’s what you see.
What we see
depends mainly on
what we look for.
Are we looking for a spiritual experience? Are we looking for faith?
Or, are we looking for something… less than?
Look at the painting below, what do you see?
[Water Lilies by Claude Monet, 1916]
Do you see a blend of colored brush strokes? A scenic landscape? Gibberish? Or do you see something… more than?
There is something deep and substantial that communicates to parts of us that speaks no words. Paulo Coelho calls this the language of the world in his book The Alchemist.
There is something spiritual here, and staring at a breath taking image can be awakening.
In the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous, the fulcrum of truly overcoming chemical dependence is the experience of a spiritual awakening.
Spiritual awakening leads to transformation.
This transformation is typically, transcendental in some way.
“… a spiritual experience involves a transcendent growth process. “Transcend” means to move beyond one’s former frame of reference in a direction of higher or broader scope, a more inclusive perspective. Such transcendence is essential to human growth. A transcendent growth process, found in all human beings, involves moving beyond one’s own unhealthy egocentricity, duality, and exclusivity towards more healthy egocentricity, inclusivity, unity, and a capacity to love” (Chandler, Holden, & Kolander, 1992 as cited in Hinterkopf, 1998).
The article continues:
“This definition of spirituality includes what is often referred to as “transpersonal experiences.” Transpersonal experiences involve an expansion or extension of consciousness beyond the usual ego boundaries and beyond the limitations of time and/or space” (Grof, 1976 as cited in Hinterkopf, 1998).
See more from this article DEFINING THE SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE .
The article above is geared for counselors in the clinical setting, but can be just as informative for the non-professional. Having an approach to use with clients on this cultural and personally sensitive subject is fundamental in the professional relationship. In this article, there is a distinction made between process and content.
This is an important distinction to be aware of in the hopes of eliminating friction.
For example, the words God, Higher Power, Allah, etc. are content words, and the unique personal and phenomenological experience of these felt sensations and cognitive beliefs are process.
In order to grow, faith in the PROCESS through the CONTENT is necessary and sufficient.
The process gets us to a summit. The process is a great insurance policy. The process is not dependent on beta; the process is on-sight.
There is much friction in process and content, as the dogma of content subtracts from the process.
For some, spiritual awakening widens understanding and opens the awareness to things outside the Self. These divine experiences increase spiritual intelligence.
Like intellectual intelligence, emotional intelligence, and social intelligence, the idea of having a mature spiritual intelligence is appealing… and elusive.
There are many definitions of spiritual intelligence. One of the best descriptions we have found is this:
We are intimately connected to The Source when the body and mind are in the same place, at the same time.
Body and mind.
The wisdom of the body is infinitely wise. The Homo-Sapien body has been around for a long time, longer than the neocortex has been.
At times, body wisdom is greater than the wise mind.
How simple and elegant, yet complex! Most of us have an ability to put our self in this state… you can do it right now; close your eyes; breathe deeply from your belly and focus on your breathing; think of nothing else but your breath. Do this 5-10 times at a comfortable pace.
Get in touch with the center of yourself. How do ya feel?
Some call this state of being the HERE AND NOW, others call it mindfulness, meditation, prayer, awareness… flow.
Hands down, there are rarely other defining moments as exciting as this particular experience, where the mind and body are in the same place at the same time, than when engaged in some physical activity that requires reactive response. Activities where the space between stimulus and response are said to be so minute, it seems instantaneous.
[This image shows patience as opposed to impulsivity or reactivity, notice the large space between stimulus and response]
Rock climbing, is one of those exciting experiences… if you can tap into that eternal consciousness that is ever present.
Some people tap in to it when looking at a sunset, witnessing the birth of a child, a near death experience, making love, praying, meditating, or being attuned to the present.
Could spiritual intelligence be the elimination of friction of body and mind being in the same place at the same time?
In other words, there is no pull of the mind, nor body, into our personal history and hopes, nor the anxieties of the future.
Is having a mature spiritual intelligence the same as having faith? Could it be hypothesized those with an immature spiritual intelligence or a low spiritual intelligence quotient, have a more difficult time in faith?
When we feel the oneness in mind and body, when we drink deeply of the NOW, we have a surge of life force and ease of life, there is an elimination of friction in our world, internal and external… and an argument could be made that without the internal resolution, external resolution cannot be experienced in full purity.
We reach out in those uncontaminated moments to the other parts of our self that were cut off or compartmentalized; we reach out to those we have distanced our self from.
We reach out to more of life.
Uncle Carl Rogers, the father of humanistic psychology and person-centered therapy, gives us a practical definition of the experience of congruence between self and experience.
This ideal human condition is embodied in the “fully functioning person” who is open to experience able to live existentially, is trusting in his/her own organism, expresses feelings freely, acts independently, is creative and lives a richer life; “the good life” (Rogers, 1961). It should be noted that; “The good life is a process not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination (Rogers, 1961, p.186)”
If the external milieu of content contains the triggers (stimulus), than what we seek is a response from our internal climate of process.
We desire less friction in stimulus and response.
We desire less friction in perception of self and experience of self.
With white knuckles, we grip tightly what feels secure. It is difficult to let go for a less secure hold. Some of us fail to ever leave the ground. Some just take longer than others.
But after you DO climb a mountainous thing that was once perceived as an impossible landscape, what else can be achieved with a little faith and friction?
The idea that there are no limitations to the indomitable human spirit, is a scary one. Feel the friction here?
There are ingrained universal fears keeping the friction alive. It is not necessarily the fear of falling off a mountain, nor fear of failure, nor injury, but quite possibly… fear of success.
It is not fear of not connecting to others, but fear of connecting to others that keeps friction alive.
It is not fear of not connecting to the integrated Self, but fear of connecting to the integrated Self, which keeps friction alive. Because when we do connect we touch the eternal; we bathe in the infinite.
Reach out to more of life, trust in process, tap into the transcendent, look for it, see it, touch it, taste it, and embrace congruence. Be a fully functioning person.
Drink deeply of the Now!
Look for faith and you will see it hiding there in the space between stimulus and response.
Look for faith and you will feel it waiting between what you think you are and what you really are.
Look for faith and you will find it hanging out between mind and body.
Look for faith and you will sense it lingering between process and content.
A dynamic and complimentary faith embraces Friction as a friend, not a foe.
To embrace friction is to eliminate Friction.
Start at the beginning of this series: