Sustainable Spirituality

In an age lacking stable form, defined more by flow than anything solid—flow of information, innovation, conflict, crises, emotion—our spiritual practices and growth models are under a lot of stress. In fact, they are being asked to perform in ways they weren’t necessarily designed for.

To flourish in an age of constant change, we are often being asked to quickly move into new structures, paradigms, and identities that feel foreign and anxious. Often we find ourselves adjusting to one new reality only to find an entirely new design emerging just around the corner!

It appears our speedy age is asking us to change our relationship to form. And if our spiritual models (religions, philosophies, practices, goals) really are going to be sustainable, we will need be hyper-vigilant about the changing role of forms in our practices.

Forms come in many shapes, colors, sizes and styles: we have thought-forms, emotion-forms, will-forms, and physical forms like buildings and bodies and businesses. We have forms for how we get our work done, and also for how we like to relax. Forms are the archetypal building blocks that make our lives feel organized and tangible, meaningful and fun, spiritual and expansive.

If you don’t have good form for getting things done, you likely won’t have a job. If someone you meet is attractive, you’d better have a form for the experience of love, or else that special somebody will likely slip through your fingers.

Forms make governments and armies and scientific innovation possible. They are what psychologists study when deciphering an identity, a relationship, or a cultural phenomenon.

In short, forms hold the world together (literally, too)—and also break it apart. When we fight with each other, when there is war, conflict, chaos… forms collide and compete for dominance and evolution.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. The main reasons forms create conflict is because they aren’t in-tun with the big picture. Forms that aren’t fluid, constantly evolving, interwoven with the diverse realities of others and the world… well, they become heavy and blocky, difficult to steer, and eventually they fall apart or crash.

When we work with our personal forms, we can work in practical ways with essence, form, and function, not merely what the thing looks like. You might have a financial plan, a goal to attract a soul mate, a desire to get the perfect job, a creative project at work to do something great.

All of these things are given a form when you first dream them up in your consciousness laboratory: you bundle ideas, emotions, passion, desire, hopes, concerns, strategies, experience and wisdom all into a a particular form. This gives the form a vital essence–your vital essence. As the essence imbues the form with life, it takes on a function, which is partly governed by intention, partly by circumstances, and partly by the flow of synchronicity.

Now, get ready to steer your ship! Are you constantly updating your financial plan, soul mate goal, perfect job desire, creative work project with fresh essence? (Many people, over time, feed their project fear and worry–a quick way to kill a thing.) Is the form still adjusting, allowing, responsive to your command? Or has it become unruly and obstinate? Is the form still co-creating with synchronicity (a favorable flow of events), or does it think its doing it all on its own?

The old paradigm was one where forms were stable, rooted, fixed. Perhaps they were fragmented at times, but at least they had a structural integrity. Nowadays, our forms are like water, and the new spiritual paradigm is all about change and flow.

Projects still need principles of course. But even the principles need to be prepared to take on ever-higher octaves, or else they’ll get pulled down like everything else, into unwieldy density.

Now the meat-and-potatoes (or mushroom-and-asparagus, vegetarians): the greatest form of all, requiring the most essence, the most fluid form, the most synchronically attuned function: you. The identity-form, personality-form, ego-form, ideology-form we walk around with each day requires the highest level of form-mastery.

This brand of mastery is really all about change. Change is so challenging for us these days because we mistakenly believe it to be a temporary thing—it isn’t! A majority of the anxiety, fear, confusion, addiction, and separation we feel today simply stems from an inappropriate relationship with change (and form).

Again and again, tell yourself: change is good! Change is here to help! I trust change, I embrace change, I let change run through me and change me for the better!

The purpose of change is to release us from forms that no longer serve us. Knowing this, we realize that spiritual sustainability is both dependent on and supported by this high-velocity, watery dynamic. Here are a few helpful spiritual tools that illustrate the nature of sustainable spirituality:

  1. Learn to clear your energy quickly, efficiently, and regularly—don’t expect to get through a whole day, or even a few hours, without taking time to get recentered!
  2. Make self-improvement synchronistic, not strategic—instead of “figuring things out,” let things integrate in motion, learning through being and receptivity.
  3. Master life’s in-the-middle moments, transitional stages, liminal opportunities—really trust that life will help you (and steer you toward) the spaces between the known and unkown.
  4. Analyze perennial themes instead of temporal “good and bad” choices—change is hard to navigate if you’re busy judging what’s favorable or “right”… you’re going to miss the core, spiritual genius emerging through the journey.
  5. New identity solutions—treat happiness like a spiral staircase where each step is a new, more expansive identification; surf identity like a wave, seeking greater balance, stronger flow, more natural (fun) mastery.

Spiritually speaking, the traditional approaches we may be comfortable with (whether a hundred years ago or from yesterday) will dry up if insulated from the living waters of new time, energy, and information.

Like a stream, the essence is always pure water, but the form will never be the same twice, and the function will need to be far beyond what’s logical to our mind, if we want to make it last.

Spiritual flowers are meant to bud, bloom and blossom, wither, fall—yet the roots, stems, and shoots move on, producing ever-new symmetry, fragrance, and beauty. For the last few thousand years, spiritually speaking, we have been encouraged to enshrine these flowers and worship them.

The simplest and most direct way of welcoming the new paradigm, whatever our spiritual forms might look like at any given time, is: grow, grow, grow without limits.

You also might find it helpful to:

  • redefine your spiritual vocabulary
  • dream and imagine what your spiritual goals feel like (especially if it’s enlightenment)
  • learn a familiar thing from many different points of few
  • be honest with yourself regarding strategic vs authentic spiritual beliefs
  • discriminate with more intuition, less book learning, and greater trust in synchronicity

What a blessing this high-speed age of change is! One day, perhaps sooner than we think, our religions, philosophies, sciences, and spiritual traditions will be swept up together, into one big flow, by the weaving streamlets of change.

It is change that binds all life together into a unified practice of Living Wisdom. The only real form it can be said to have is total spiritual loyalty to the eternal upward momentum, from which all perennial truths are born.

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