My dear friends...
We have been exploring here what I have called The Holy Experience, and how to create it in one’s life. There are a number of tools that I have found with which one may do this, and over the past many weeks we have been exploring them one by one. Last week we looked at Tool #10, Service. Today, we invite you to pick up the tool of Discipline.
I see this tool being used in two ways. First, as a means of forming and shaping my own day-to-day experience of life, so that I may be ready for the Holy Experience of Life Itself. Second, as a means of bringing consistency to my use of the specific Instruments of the Holy Experience that we have been discussing.
Under the first heading comes the kind of personal discipline that allowed me to quit smoking, cold turkey, 25 years ago. I now need to exercise more of that kind of discipline on my propensity to eat sweets and other foods that I could use less of. I need, as well, to discipline myself to get a little exercise now and then. And to stop being such a Workaholic.
Those are the three areas in my life that I would like to see some changes in. For my own good. For my own health. So that the Holy Experience of Life Itself will be more fun for me, less stressful, and less filled with the discomfort and pain that lack of good health can bring.
Under the second heading comes a decision to use the other Instruments of the Holy Experience with focus, regularity, determination, and reliability. That is, without fail, continually, throughout my life.
Discipline is the hardest thing for me. I have to guess that it is for a lot of us. So I don’t try to force myself with it, demanding of myself that I do this or that, or requiring myself to use all of the Ten Instruments of the Holy Experience every hour, every day of my life.
In fact, it is not even necessary to use any of them, much less all of them, in order to have the Holy Experience. The Holy Experience is not something that you earn through good behavior. It is something that simply happens, often without “preparation” of any kind, always without notice, and never without lasting impact and benefit. It is also something that you can create, as I have mentioned earlier. But it is definitely not something you create by earning it.
The Ten Instruments we have been exploring here in The Weekly Bulletin over the past several months are powerful devices, not to earn a Holy Experience, but to build the foundation for one—so that if and when it occurs, if and when you create it, you won’t miss it, or mistake it, or misconstrue it, or misinterpret it, or misunderstand it completely, or, worst of all, ignore it.
So...one of my disciplines is use all of these Instruments some of the time, and some of these Instruments all of the time. I hope you have kept files on all of the ten instruments we have explored here, so that you may re-read them later, at your leisure.
Of the ten, the one I use the least is Movement. I’m just not that big on yoga, exercise, and getting my body going. So I don’t move as much as I know would be good for me. Don’t follow my example. Give yourself permission to use this tool. It can be wonderfully effective. I know people who use it powerfully.
The Instruments I use the most are Visualization, Ritual, and Service. Also, Yearning and Explaining. These five are my favorites. Like me, you’ll find some that suit you more than others.
I notice that I’m using at least one or two of these Instruments every day. This has helped me immensely as I have sought to build a firm foundation for fully understanding and enjoying the Holy Experience.
The wonder of these tools is that they can build a bridge from the Mind to the Soul, and from the Soul to God. This is true of each of the Ten Instruments of the Holy Experience taken separately, and it is especially true of all the Instruments used sequentially—to say nothing of simultaneously.
And so, I offer these tools to you as my answer to the question I hear so often:
“How can I have the experience that you had?”
Hugs and love,
Read this week's Letter to Neale here
Read a message from one of the prisoners impacted by our Prison Outreach HERE
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