Moment after moment, completely devote yourself to listening to your inner voice. - Shunryu Suzuki

The concept of spirit is quite nebulous. What is “The Spirit?” Some people talk about the spirit in terms of God, Jesus, Allah, Yahweh and a colorful array of other Gods and names for this “higher power.”

The name that we call the “Spirit” is often highly charged with emotion. Many people are turned off by the word God due to some religious fanaticism and others find the word “Spirit” too ethereal. The early Jews struggled with this and for a period simply talked about “he who cannot be named.” Of course this phrase has been recently popularized in the Harry Potter books, although in a contrasting sense since Voldemort is an evil character.

Your relationship to the spirit can take many forms. Gerald May relates three forms in his book The Awakened Heart. These three are that of a loving companion, a romantic relationship and that of a cosmic presence. According to May, a relationship of loving companionship is probably the most common. This may be the reason Christianity is so popular. In Christianity we are taught that Jesus will continually be by our side, that Jesus died to save us from our sins and that he will always be there to protect us. We have the popular African-American spiritual “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me.”

The second relationship, that of romance, is less common, but perhaps more intense. It is when the companionship changes to a more intense, passionate relationship. “Do not contrive anything, but if the invitation is more to love than to safety, choose love. Let yourself love God, other people, and God-in-other-people even if you feel unable or afraid of being hurt; let yourself be loved by God, other people, and God-in-other-people even if you feel unworthy or afraid of being overwhelmed.”

The third relationship is that of a cosmic presence. “It is the sense of God as cosmic presence and of love surrounding, embracing, pervading ourselves and all creation.” This is the “Way,” or Tao that is referred to in Taoism. We are easily reminded of the very beginning of the Tao Teh Ching, “The Tao (Way) that can be named is not the Tao (Way).”

We can think of the spirit like a crystal lattice in which we are immersed. It is like an energy lattice. We cannot see the lattice, but if we are open and aware we can feel the presence of the spirit in our lives. When we pray we are merely tapping into the energy of the lattice and resonating with the frequency of it. Much like the movie The Matrix,” we “plug in” and off we go.

As we work on quieting our minds and becoming more aware of our bodies, we become more open to the spirit. This is how all these concepts work together. By working on them individually they will build on each other synergistically propel you to a better place in your life.

Joel DiGirolamo, All material copyright PranaPower, LLC