04/07/2010

WHAT IS GROUNDED SPIRITUALITY?

Grounded spirituality is an approach to life founded on an experience of reality. It's for people who have a 'healthy skepticism', but are nevertheless faithful.

It is a way of life that simultaneously embraces rooted-ness (being ‘down to earth’), and star-gazing. This wonderful quote from Oscar Wilde comes to mind…
“we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars…”

We are not really American, or English, or Slovene, or any other nationality.
First and foremost, we are Earthlings.
Whether you were born here or there; whether your skin is black or white; whether you speak this language or that language, or many languages, or none at all, I don’t care.
You are the same as I am. We are separate only by appearance, and through perception.
Another wonderful quote comes to mind, from Shakespeare:

King Richard II:
Cover your heads and mock not flesh and blood
With solemn reverence:
throw away respect, tradition, form and ceremonious duty,
For you have but mistook me all this while:
I live with bread like you, feel want, taste grief, need friends:
subjected thus, how can you say to me, I am a king?”

Whether you are a king or a beggar;
CEO of a multinational business, or the cleaner who sweeps the floor;
a teacher or a student:
you live with bread, feel want, taste grief, and need friends. 
Just like me.
We are all, basically, the same. We all want to be happy. And for all of us, the ultimate happiness is the true experience of love.

Grounded Spirituality is for you if  you recognize that heaven is a place on earth. Sometimes, for us to accept that, we have to first know hell – and it’s also a place on earth. 

“… if you know what life is worth, you will look for yours on earth…” (Bob Marley)

Grounded Spirituality is for people who want to change the world, one step at a time, by embodying that change themselves.
It’s for people who know that the world is in them, and not the other way around.
It’s for those who know that in order to realize our divine self, we first have to realize our humanity.
Ancient Zen saying:
“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.
After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

Grounded Spirituality is not an escape. It is not a fantasy. It is not a new-age airy-fairy get-away.

It’s the opposite. It’s about ‘keeping it real’ and upholding your responsibilities; being able to stand up in any situation with your head held high, knowing that you are doing the right thing, even though sometimes that can be painful.
It’s about being a ‘peaceful warrior’, having the courage to stay open to every possibility; closed to none.
It’s about knowing that truth is beyond perception; 
but going ahead and trying to perceive truth anyway.

Grounded Spirituality, to me, is a challenge and an invitation and a call to arms.

What is it to you?

8 comments:

svasti said...

Nicely expressed, Ben. You've put into words a great many things I've been thinking about recently.

Pretty much everything surrounds the presence or absence of love. And the way to get real in this world is to realise that, and then also realise you can generate your own source of love for yourself and others - and shine that out to other people.

It's about the only way I know to tap into the natural joy of this world. :)

timethief said...

I really appreciate the way you conveyed what grounded spirituality is Ben. Indeed it is the call to the peaceful warrior - Shambhala. That call is to consciously cultivate open hearted honesty, genuineness, compassion humor, and dignity in daily life.

John Welwood wrote something in Ordinary Magic that your post brought to my mind as I read it:

"We need to realize that the purpose of being here is not to conquer and control, but to serve something larger than ourselves. To that end, we need to develop a grounded spirituality, one that can affect the quality of life through being committed to the here-and-now."

Namaste
TiTi

Ben Ralston said...

Hello Svasti,
this is the third (hopefully lucky!) time I've tried to reply to your comment: each time my weak internet connection (we live in the remote hills and rely on a wireless signal beamed from several kilometres away) has scuppered the attempt.
Your comment meant a lot to me. Thank you.
Ben
ps - I agree, 'getting real' is what it's all about :)

Ben Ralston said...

Hi TiTi,
Nice to hear from you.
"to consciously cultivate open hearted honesty, genuineness, compassion, humor, and dignity in daily life"...
Just about says it all!
Love,
Ben

Ladygoodwood said...

Hello Ben: I enjoyed reading this post.
I try my best to follow a spiritual pathway. For me that is making and sustaining meaningful relationships with all that is life.
The key to all of this for me is prayer and meditation, to find that inner stillness where I can just 'be' and by finding that within myself, I can then let others 'be' and not make any attempt to adjust or manipulate 'what is.'
Smiles and blessings.

Ben Ralston said...

Hello Lady G!
Thank you.
I agree wholeheartedly that spirituality is all about making and sustaining meaningful relationship - with all life, which to me means simply EVERYTHING. It's basically another way of saying 'mindfulness', right?
Love,
Ben

everydayclimb said...

Ben, I have had to "wake up" in the past two years. I had denied my body, spirit, and needs - in the name of others' happiness.

It was just carried over from childhood, when I tried to please everyone, so they would like me.

Now, each day I learn something new about myself. After decades of never considering "me," it is actually a bit difficult for me to spend thought on myself.

"Spiritual Groundedness" is what I have been practicing (without knowing the term).

I am slowly losing unwanted weight, going back to college, and learning to deal with fear, anxiety, and the world in general - without retreating to a dark corner or pretending the negatives don't exist.
It takes energy to force change every day, but I am proud of myself.

As a teen, I practiced yoga. I miss it - the stretching and centeredness. Being mindful of my body.

Thank you for reminding me of who I want to be. ~Lea~ (your new facebook friend)

Ben Ralston said...

Hello Lea my new facebook friend!
Thanks for your message.
What struck me most was the line: " It takes energy to force change every day".
I feel that in this line you express simultaneously a deep truth that not many people realise, and also a misconception.
The truth is that it does take a lot of energy. The more energy we conserve, the more easily we come back to our natural essence, which is peace, love, and simplicity. Most people are not clear in their intentions - they say they want to deal with fear and anxiety for example, but continue to worry about things that are completely unimportant. So they waste and squander much precious life force and energy...
Figure out what you want, believe in it, and go for it with your whole being.
What I consider to be a misconception is that you can somehow 'force' change. You can't. Change is the nature of the universe. It is the only thing in this life that is guaranteed, and it moves at it's own pace. Change is life, and life is change. You cannot force change any more than you can make the moon respond to your howling at it.
Ironically, change is faster the less we try to force it. That is the meaning and importance of surrender.
Accept yourself as you are;
Hold an intention, but let go of expectations;
Enjoy the ride!
With love, Ben

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