Sunday, December 17th, 2017
Spiritual Fitness Center
How do we grow spiritually fit and grow hope when we are disillusioned and often disenfranchised by our former religious institutions? There is a sense of deep sorrow when I talk with people about their distancing from formal religion. With that sorrow there is bewilderment and disappointment and worry. What has happened? There is concern for their children and how to give them the resilience and comfort they might need in the future. And still there is ambivalence about going to worship without full belief. What could spiritual growth and fitness look like?
Our religious institutions are in flux and are having to evaluate what needs to be discarded and what must be cherished and kept as well as what new is needed. All of our wisdom teachers and prophets taught what is needed for spiritual fitness in different voices and approaches. “Here is how to love and do good in the world” is the basic message. We have to freshen that wisdom in a new way, wrestling with our world as it is today.
Spiritual fitness would look quite a bit like trend of Cross Fitness. It would take a commitment to do something tough, having a guide to support and place demand as well as having group support to spur you on. It would take regular time put in and strength as a result. It would necessitate a place to go to grow. What about a Spiritual Fitness Center?
Spiritual fitness would help to grow large love—not the personal kind that, in itself, is difficult enough. It would grow the disciplined determined love that goes beyond the individual to the greatest common good. For instance there would be a core class about how to use anger and outrage to channel anger into compassion and a practical response without anyone being a victim. Anyone. Fairness would be held high.
Ego management beyond 101 would be offered. Awareness of self and impact would take in depth training. A healthy ego would be the goal. Ego strength to support a sense of each individual and to give the drive to make things happen in the world would be celebrated. Inflated ego would be named and tamed. Competition would be to challenge the best performance. Learning strength would be the goal.
Silence and solitude would be a needed element to develop spiritual fitness. Joseph Campbell said—“sacred space BLAH BLAH. There has to be space to reflect and self- correct. Quiet that allows soothing, calming, creating, and strengthening to grow without words would be a essential for spiritual fitness
Learning to apologize would be another training in spiritual maturing. Spiritual accountability would be supported. This comes from being humble enough to be wrong and strong enough to do something about it. Being sorry is the corrective mechanism for the soul.
Our mosques, synagogues and churches and any place of worship would still be available and valuable to grow spiritual strength.. Religious leaders would come together to grow and challenge the work of one another. The work would be strenuous, not polite ecumenicalism. Food and comfort would be fundamental. Cross-cultural meals and conversation and laughter would be core.
A new generation of leaders/trainers with new leadership skills would be needed to to develop this Spiritual Fitness Center They would be facilitative of relationships, developer of ideas, and strong and clear about how spiritual fitness grows. These leaders would not have one truth to sell. They would elicit the truth of others to practice a faith as they choose, if they choose, perhaps in the religious institutions of their youth.
A Spiritual Fitness Center is one of the new institutions that might be created from the disintegration and re-creation of religious institutions going on now—the something new that grows out of the chaos. We need a place to go to work on the spiritual fitness that our world demands at this point in history if we are to evolve as humans on our lovely planet with our collective beautiful children. We need a place for a new kind of spiritual work out that will be a kind of refresher system for our religious institutions as they transform. Do we have to wait for the necessity of survival to spur us to action or can we start now? A Spiritual Fitness Center is one new idea. We need many.