An Image of Saint Francis in My Meditation garden
Last evening as I sat in my meditation garden and looked at a depiction of Saint Francis of Assisi hanging on the wall, I thought about why I hold Francis up as such a hero in the spiritual journey.
Saint Francis once said, "Preach the Gospel always, sometimes use words." For me, that phrase pretty much summarizes why I like him so much.
Francis was born into great wealth. He was a self-indulgent libertine. When he returned from the Crusades, he had a conversion experience. He saw the utter meaninglessness of his ego-driven life, and he gave it all up - his wealth, his social status, his power. He devoted his entire life to serve the needs of others, especially those who were poor and who lived on the margins of life. He gave up his ego and he found his genuine self.
I write these daily posts to share my spiritual journey and to, hopefully, offer some guidance for others on a soul-searching journey. But I think there is an inherent danger in trying to walk along a deeper spiritual path. It is very easy to do a lot of "navel-gazing" in the process of soul searching.
Of course, meditation, reflective time, silence and introspection are all part of the spiritual journey of awakening; however the "awakening" process always demands some kind of response, some kind of action.
In the process of finding my deeper, truer self, I inevitably come to experience the profound connection we all have with one another. This must lead beyond internal introspection to the actual "practice" of compassion in my everyday life in my world. Otherwise the spiritual journey is self-serving and egocentric - and therefore it is not a spiritual journey at all.
The Buddha once said, "However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act upon them?"
Today I will try to preach the gospel, perhaps sometimes using words.