“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.”
~ William James
We have all heard about the importance of having a positive attitude when it comes to getting what you want, but we don’t necessarily apply this idea to our spiritual life.
Granted this is tricky. Spiritual attainment is not an achievement, it occurs through surrender rather than effort, yet attitude still plays a critical role on the spiritual path and I want to explain how.
If we examine the word attitude, we find it was originally a term used in art to refer to the posture of a person in a sculpture or painting. Gradually it became recognized that the person’s posture in a portrait or sculpture was a reflection of their inner mental state and so the word attitude began to be used to refer to a person’s inner disposition.
In spiritual practice our inner disposition means everything. When we sit down to our practice, do we believe that something extraordinary can happen? Do we really believe that? Our belief in the potential miracle of meditation is what opens the door to make that miracle possible. Often we sit down to our practice and either consciously or unconsciously we don’t really believe anything truly extraordinary will happen. If this is the case then we aren’t open to the possibility and it is all but guaranteed that nothing much will happen.
There are lots of reasons why this unhelpful attitude is so prevalent in a materialistic and cynical cultural climate, but with a little extra attention we can change that attitude and enter our practice fully open and receptive to the miraculous possibility of a dramatic shift in awareness.
In an even more profound way we generally enter our spiritual practice thinking of ourselves as a person seeking deeper awakening or enlightenment. This inner posture can only take us so far. If we truly want to experience the miraculous we must drop our limited human identity and sit down to practice as the energy of life itself.
I believe that the key to dramatic spiritual enlightenment is the gradual or sudden shift out of our earthbound human identity into an ongoing recognition that we are life energy, wisdom and care that is flowing through our human form from the cosmos itself.
We are not the vehicle, we are the life force itself. We begin to see ourselves not as an organism acting in the world, but as an energy flowing through a human form, inspiring thoughts, feelings and actions. We are not a living thing, we are life itself.
Learning to identify with life itself is the inner posture or attitude that makes radical spiritual transformation possible. Are you ready to give up your earthbound human identity and feel your way into your cosmic self?
Cosmic consciousness is more available than we realize. We actually are the energy and intelligence of the living cosmos and all we need to do is see the truth of it. If we learn to look at our current experience from a new perspective it becomes obvious that we are a cosmic being.
We already are the life force energy flowing into the world. Nothing needs to change to make this true, because it is already the case. We simply have to learn to look at life differently than we have been conditioned to.