The majority of us who were raised in different traditional religions were taught either explicitly or implicity the most sacred place was inside the four walls of a house of worship. I can only speak for myself, but attending a church service as a child or adolescent was not on the top of my list of places I would choose to spend my time. In fact, having to sit still for long, and I do mean long, periods of time was downright boring.
If I had my way, I would have been riding bikes, playing in the woods, or fishing. These were things that excited me and filled me with joy. However, these activities were categories as non-spiritual and reading religious texts, prayer, and fasting were labeled spiritual. In my young mind the classifications were more like boring and exciting. I regularly work with spiritual issues with clients. I would say most individuals who pursue their religion are still splitting their activities to some degree through the filters of the sacred versus the secular.
Desire and enthusiasm is a marker of our Divinity
What I am about to say often seems to offend many practitioners of various religions. My intent is not to be disrespectful or provocative. But if you look around you, God, the Universe, the Infinite, whatever words you choose to describe this reality is WILD, and definitely not contained inside four walls. I have had the fortune to visit some beautiful cathedrals, temples, and mosques in my travels. But they do not compare to the thirty foot waves I observed on a beach in Maui, the sunrises I witnessed in the Rockies, or the waterfalls I have seen in Hawaii and Costa Rica.
The nature of reality is creative, passionate, loving, and exciting. Our desire and enthusiasm is a marker of the Divine within us. That is why their is so many writings in each major world religions' texts that cautions us to guard our hearts. Our heart is the sum of our deepest desires. However, it can be hijacked by lesser gods, such as addictions, compulsions, or obsessive relationships. But this does not equate to desire being bad. It is not desire that is the cause of suffering but enslaved desire.
The sacred is everywhere
I believe wholeheartedly the world is moving towards wholeness and love. There is an ever expanding community of like-minded people who have moved beyond the four walls and found the sacred to be everywhere. If this describes you, I welcome you as my brother or sister. If you are someone who still resonates spiritually in a more formal setting, embrace it. One is not better than the other but an individual preference. I would encourage both types of individuals to love and accept each other. You don't win people over through argument and debate but through compassion and kindness.
Embrace your enthusiasm and see it for what it is: the Divine expressing itself through you in a unique way. Everything is spiritual to me in nature now. That does not mean I walk around with my head in the clouds or present myself as uber spiritual. What this change in perspective has done for me is to discover transcendence, joy, and community everywhere. All is sacred, and everyone is my brother and sister.
Love and do as you will
In Judaism and Christianity, there is a story of king David's wife becoming embarrassed at him for dancing and being undignified. His response was to basically turn the music up and dance harder. This is what God is like - wild, creative, and enthusiastic. As St. Augustine said, "Love and do as you will." For those who aspire to follow the teachings of Christ, he encourages you are free from all rules. You are only asked to love unconditionally. Period. End of story. Drop the mike! Now go out and have some fun, and pursue what you are passionate about. Stop asking what God's will is. Your passion, desire, and enthusiasm is God's will for you.
John Hawkins Jr., M.S., L.M.H.C.
John has helped thousands of clients overcome the hidden internal blocks which had kept them from achieving their maximum potential. Furthermore, he has assisted them in gaining clarity of their true life purpose, identifying their gifts and talents, and developing lives of greater meaning and significance.