A while back I was praying for wisdom in general and , in particular, what we as sincere seekers need to do in order to get our spiritual journey started on the right foot. As I listened quietly to any messages that Spirit might be trying to get through to me, I slowly began to have an awareness of one word; consecration.
A week or so earlier, Spirit gave me the insight that the goal of spiritual formation is to ultimately develop what I have come to call Sacred Character. On a practical level, this means that each day we should set out to become:
The optimal version of ourselves for the glory of God and the sake of others.
If we want to make progress on the spiritual journey of becoming the best version of ourselves for the sake of others, we must first come face to face with the necessity of consecrating ourselves to doing whatever it takes to evolve as a spiritual being. There is no option to this, no easier, softer way. From the outset, we must get serious about what we are doing and we should do whatever it takes to maintain that attitude of sincerity.
Consecration to the work entailed in spiritual development requires that we deal with a concept that is not very popular in our post-modern world. I am talking about the necessity of discipline. Without discipline, nothing will be accomplished that is of lasting value, either for the individual or for others. From the get go, start getting comfortable with and develop an understanding of the concept of discipline. If we are unwilling to do this, we might as well take up some less demanding endeavor, because the spiritual sojourn requires the discipline to, in the words of Jesus, take up our cross and die daily. From a Buddhist pespective, this part of the spiritual path is called renunciation. Whatever we call it, it involves dying to our ego and being raised into the life and vitality of our Sacred Center or, as some call it, our “inner light.”
Real consecration is predicated on two steps. First, we acknowledge that we have a problem, that we are, in fact, somehow fundamentally flawed and living far beneath our divine potential. It shouldn’t take an advanced degree in quantum physics to figure this out. All it takes is an honest self-examination. Second, after we acknowledge that we are broken, we accept that there is a solution, a way whereby our situation may be resolved. Put simply, we are all in need of divine assistance and the good news is: divine assistance is available. This assistance, for some, might come in the form of help from beings residing on the plane of spirit or, for others, might be appropriated through contact with his or her Sacred Center. Either way, it all boils down to the same thing. The good news is change is possible and it is not as far fetched as it seems.
Consecration is a simple concept, but not always a simple act. When we consecrate ourselves to the spiritual path, we are basically telling God and ourselves that we are finally getting serious about our spiritual walk. When we consecrate, we get honest with ourselves about where we are, where we are not, and where God wants us to go. We then make a personal commitment to, with God’s help, become all that we were created to be, all that we were intended to be, and, in the tradition of Zen, all that we already are.
How about you? Are you ready to consecrate? Think about it, pray about it, meditate on it – and then do something about it.