Arts of Dedication to the Divine
You know how to be fancy. Forks, spoons, knives. Napkin in lap. Please and thank you. Humanity has self-professed advancements in etiquette and gentile-behaviors, but have we regressed spiritually? Why is it that we can afford more politeness to humans whom we may even abhor than we are capable of displaying towards our Creator?
Where is our spiritual fork and knife? Where are our spiritual advancements in propriety and etiquette? Where is our desire to turn dedicating ourselves to our Creator into a beautiful art, perfected with our loving and imperfect individual touches?
Start now. You are alive; you are breathing. Can you find the space inside yourself that seeks Him out? A space that desires so much to know Him that you can forget your entire existence and become lost in His Eternal Beauty?
He is One. He is Near. He is closer to you than my tender fingers which touch this keyboard and type these words at this moment in time. He is above and beyond all moments in time. Celebrating Him should not be your chore—it should be your work of art. There is an etiquette—a series of etiquettes—involved in perfecting your ability to earn proximity to Him and eventually to see through His light. Are you ready to know of these etiquettes?
Allow me to begin a list, and let us complete it through our intertwining experiences:
Question, but Don’t Challenge:
He is more than willing to answer every servant who calls upon Him; He is more than willing to grant you and me and any true seeker the secrets of His inner wisdoms. He is more than willing to encourage the inquisitive mind, which seeks to use its God-given intelligence to better understand and comprehend His Beauty. But He will not respond to the childish creature who assumes that his or her worldview epitomizes correct logic that our Creator should be challenged and insulted with. Practice humility, even in your most vulnerable and perplexed moments.
Grieve, but Don’t Give Up:
One pitfall that many of us make is fooling ourselves into believing that we have the right to fall out of the ring and escape the remaining punches of life by just allowing the referee to announce us as the next loser. We can’t, so get back up. We can’t be the next loser, because our eternity is at stake. The most spiritually elevated of us are those with the most courage—with broken bones and blood and sweat ruining the fancy intellectual uniforms we charged into adulthood adorning ourselves with—and continuing on in the battle to victory, even if the wounds over our eyes prevent us from seeing more than a blur of where this victory remains. Stand back up, and if you can’t, die trying. I promise you there will be a winning banner waiting for you on Judgment Day, and the fight will have been all the more worth it because you worked eternally and heroically for the spiritual win. Especially in your lowest moments, renew your commitment to trying—even if that commitment is all that you have the strength left to make. He’ll take care of the rest, which leads us to the next point.
It’s deeper than the cliché that is perpetrated today. Only those with the truest forms of faith survive spiritually. Your faith has to be able to cling to the corn husks in the midst of the largest spiritual tornadoes known to humankind. Your faith has to be so sacred to you that you clutch it with your bare hands as if it’s the only thing you have left. Maybe it’s not the only thing you have left, but if you lose it, you’ve lost everything. Be advised, and hold tightly.
Judge Actions, but Don’t Judge Intentions:
Knowing the difference between right and wrong is pivotal in determining which actions are acceptable for you to take and which are only indicative of the spiritually-deplorable. However, there is a fine line between understanding the difference between right and wrong, between standing up for the truth, and between harming other human beings unjustly with negative energy that you should not have, much less project. Give humans excuses—give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Deplore actions that harm the world on any level—whether materialistically or socially or environmentally or spiritually—but do not hate, despise, judge, or harm the people committing these acts. Even those who are punished for their mistakes in this life should never be penalized out of anger or vengeance—they should be admonished out of sincere desire to purify them so that they can improve. A parent who shouts at his or her children out of rage and anger can break them emotionally; but a parent who raises his or her voice solely, wholly, and completely out of concern for his or her children’s well-being may leave them a life lesson which remains in their minds and hearts later on in life when they need it the most. The difference lies in your ability to separate actions from those committing them.
Be Spiritually Self-Centered, but Don’t Be Spiritually Narcissistic:
You should know that every good deed you perform brings you light years closer to God. You should leap to perform good actions—be the first to donate to a local charity, be the first to remove yourself from an unbeneficial argument brewing. Be the first to forgive your neighbor, be the first to cherish an orphan. Seize every opportunity to allow yourself to attain spiritual proximity to Him, but don’t ever pat yourself on the back and think that you are somehow elevated above others who you may see yourself out-performing. Remember that pride always precedes a fall, and this is perhaps one of the greatest pitfalls of the once-altruistic activist. Don’t lose sight of your goal—your goal is to connect to Him. You, and Him. Concerning yourself with the level of others in order to boost your own ego undermines your original goal to focus on reconnecting personally with the Divine. Give it up; give me up, and choose Him and Him only instead.
The above represent a meager taste of the practices of gentility which help us know Him. If you have any to add, please share it. Let’s start a conversation—meaningful, forward-thinking, culminations of centuries of human yearning for Him. Dear God, bring us closer to You—even if our ancestors passed, even if our ancestors failed, what are we without personal success and perseverance? Let us reach You, and do not deny us the opportunity to rejoice in Your Glory. Make us of those You are happy with—not those with whom You are angry, nor those who are lost.