Can We Be Spiritual and Not Know It?
We often meet people who exude love but do not consider themselves to be spiritual. This provides us with the opportunity to reflect on how we individually view and define spirituality.
1. Do you consider yourself to be a spiritual individual? How would you define such an individual?
2. Can you describe some of the most spiritual people you have ever met? What separates these people from other individuals?
3. How do your values/beliefs affect the way in which you live your life?
4. If we are all made in God’s image, are we all spiritual? Consider this question as you read the following story.
Surrounded by steam, I slowly lowered myself into the bathtub. I allowed myself to drift as I sank into the enveloping warmth and wetness.
The bathtub was surrounded by off-white tile rich with grayish-golden streaks. Midway up the wall ran a surrounding ribbon of shorter rectangular tiles accented by elevated braids that added a softness to the coldness of the surface.
In one corner of the bathtub sat a brightly burning, ten-inch, white candle. The bathroom blinds were closed, the candle providing most of the light in the room.
As I watched the candle closely, I noticed the flame constantly changing shape and intensity. It would flicker from left to right, brighten and dim, and take on multiple shapes and sizes, all within a span of seconds. When I looked at the tiles around the candle, I could see a slightly clouded reflection of the flame, wavering like the original but lacking its definition—the detail in the elevated tiles further obscuring the flame’s reflection.
I also noticed that the light radiating onto the tiled wall never fell below the level of the flame itself; the thick wax of the candle eliminated the transmission of any of the fire’s nuance to the surrounding tile. Yet as I gazed directly at the candle, I could see the light from its flame penetrating its wax, causing the top third of it to appear brighter—allowing me to see further into its depth.
With time, I came to see the burning candle as the light within each of us and the surrounding tiles to be the universe. As we look toward the universe, we see the reflection of the light on the tiles. Although an image of the candle can be glimpsed from this perspective, the true splendor of the flame cannot. The light is less intense outside of the candle. There are more shadows.
On the other hand, if we look directly at the candle, we are able to appreciate the flame itself: its striking array of colors, its wavering height, the mystical nature of its fire, the peacefulness of its light. When we peer intently at the candle, we discern a greater dimension. The central light radiates a clearer image of the depths below the flame—of the wax that lies beneath—of the riches that lie within.
The light of spirit is present within each of us, but if we aren’t focused inwardly, we are left with a clouded vision of ourselves. The flame burns within. Serenity rests within.
Therein lies the beauty of God.
5. Can you recall any life experiences that enabled you to appreciate the light within—either in yourself or others? What touched you most about the experience(s)?
6. In what ways have you nurtured the light within (fed your soul)? How do you feel when you spend time nurturing the light within? What has been most surprising to you about the experience(s)?
1. Look for and find the beauty of the human spirit in everyone you encounter. Approach others with openness and receptivity. Express your loving nature with others as you quietly become aware of their loving energy. Become aware of how you feel as you continually express unconditional love. Become aware of how people react to the unconditional love you are expressing.
2. Invite the light within to fill you with warmth and tenderness. Feel the peace, love, and joy emanating from this spiritual source. Extend a blessing to this most beautiful light as you allow it to shine forth without encumbrance—to radiate love to all in your path.