Finding Balance in Your Spiritual Life

God has worked tirelessly and relentlessly for thousands of years to connect with all of us. It is remarkable because it truly is a story of never giving up or giving in. Just when you feel like all hope is lost, something happens; a message seeps through the veil that divides the spiritual and physical worlds and reminds us that there is more to life than what appears on the surface.

Because God is real, He will find ways to communicate. The message behind the creation of the Universe will find its way into our lives, one way or another. I was reminded of this a few days ago while surfing the History Channel. I came across a video that has been dubbed the 9/11 Bible.

The video examines a remarkable find discovered in the wreckage of the Trade Towers. In amongst the devastation was a rough, heart shaped piece of steel with the remains of a Bible fused to it. Oher pieces of paper were similarly fused to steel in the collapse of the Trade Center but what is miraculous in this case is the page the Bible was opened to on that fateful day.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.  And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” – Matthew 5:38-42

It’s as if God spoke across the veil and said, “There are many things I could say in this moment but these words matter and I urge you to pay attention.”

I reflected on this and realized we not only need to prioritize a life of faith but we also need to have the right balance in our spiritual life. How easy would it be in any single moment, to be knocked off kilter by emotion or reactive aggression? The enduring words of Jesus were a reminder of what it means to have faith and what it means to be human.

The goal of a life of faith

In order to have a healthy balance in your life of faith, you first need to understand what your purpose is in pursuing a spiritual life.

The purpose of a life of faith is to come to know God, your Heavenly Parent; the one who gave you birth. Sure, you were born of physical parents but why and how do you exist? It’s because of God and so it’s natural to want to become one in heart with Him. The purpose of a life a faith is to come to know and love God fully and to naturally become like Him.

If the Fall hadn’t happened becoming like God in heart would not have been a difficult process. Children inherit from their parents by absorbing their culture and way of being. I was reminded of this on my recent trip to England.

mom & babyI was walking down a busy London street, alongside a mom pushing her toddler in a stroller. The child purposefully threw his pacifier onto the street. The mother was clearly upset! She picked it up and turned to the child saying, “Don’t throw your pacifier, the foxes will get it!” This being a busy London Street, I wondered if that was a real threat or just a saying that is passed down, generation to generation. It seemed an out of place, slightly funny thing to say! All kinds of behaviors, for good or bad, are handed down through the years, going back all the way to Adam and Eve. But what if, instead, we had inherited God’s lineage and had access to God’s heart and copied His way of relating to others from the beginning? We would live in a very different world.

We are in search of that world. It makes sense for us to want to inherit God’s lineage and heart. Father Moon talked about this search saying:

“History and the world will not be ruled by the experts of theology or philosophy, but by the experts of God’s heart. Jesus was the first to understand the heart of God in 4,000 years from Adam’s fall”

Discovering the heart of God is at the core of our life of faith.

Coming to know God in a balanced way

Balance is essential to growth or you will develop in a lopsided fashion. People understand this when it comes to diet. If you eat carbs disproportionally, your body will reflect the imbalance – trust me!

It is the same in our spiritual life, if we are only focused on one aspect of our spiritual growth we can easily become lopsided! We have all met a Bible thumper who can quote scripture and verse but misses the heart of the matter and has little compassion toward others.

Unification Thought provides wonderful insight into having a balanced spiritual life so that you can truly come to know and embody the heart of God.

How to become a being of heart

Unification Thought defines heart as the “emotional impulse that cannot help but love.” This is the core of God’s personality. It’s like a spiritual autonomic nervous system – it functions without analyzing or conscious thought. I consider this a beautiful definition of God as, no matter what, God cannot help but love. This is why we revere God and want to be like Him. Don’t you wish you could love in every circumstance?

In human beings as well, heart is at the core of personality. That is why we say, this person has a good heart or that person is resentful or badly motivated; their heart is corrupted. Behind personality is heart. People who desire to grow spiritually inevitably have to deal with what is in their heart. This is why the heart is the front line of spiritual growth.

The perfection of one’s personality and character becomes possible only when we experience the heart of God – we inherit “the emotional impulse that cannot but help love.” For this reason, a relationship with God is essential. It’s not a matter of whether you believe in this or that religion. We have to come face to face with the heart of God to grow spiritually. This is why Jesus said, “You have to be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” Our daily life provides the building blocks to actively building this heart.

Three ways of knowing God

Sometimes you hear people say God is unknowable or alternatively God is just a construct of your imagination. To counter this you need to have your own undeniable experience with God. You need experiential knowledge.

IEWThere are three ways to know God’s heart: through your intellect, emotion and will. You can learn to experience and know God intimately through your mind. This can come to you through the power of the word. Just as that man who picked up the Bible fused to the steel beam and felt the words spoke to him, so you can read or hear something and know beyond a shadow of a doubt it’s true. It awakens your mind to a truth and teaches you something about God. Once you know this truth, you can no longer deny it. We are designed such that we are capable of knowing God. Our Heavenly Parent doesn’t want to be a mystery. He wants to be known. We are intelligent for a reason.

However, intellect or truth by itself is not enough. Think about the time of Jesus. The Pharisees and Sadducees were always trying to trap Jesus on points of law but Jesus was guided by his heart. Jesus was very balanced. He kept a parental heart toward all people. Just like God, parents ‘get’ their children; they know their circumstances and can give grace when needed. Jesus had a very strong intellect but unlike the Pharisees, he came to know God, not just through the law but through a heart connection that was emotionally based. He felt what God felt for His children. If you want to get closer to God you have to know more than truth; you have to be connected to God emotionally. True justice is beyond the law.

Many times religious people enter into literal or metaphorical wars based on words and ideas. Their spiritual growth is lopsided because it is not balanced with an understanding influenced by compassion. For this reason, Buddhism and the World’s great religions emphasize compassion. Sure, we need to use our intellects to learn and study, but to know God we need to open up to Him through our emotions. This is why music has always been important to religious life. Last week, I saw the movie Boychoir which featured the voices of young boys who could move people to tears with their sound. They touched the heart.

We can also connect to God through our emotions in prayer. It is in that sacred space that we can feel God’s energy and heart. A balanced spiritual life includes not only stimulation of the mind, but also the emotions. A person who just focuses on truth can become dry and empty. A rich spiritual life has to involve feeling. If you wonder whether your faith is balanced ask yourself if you want to talk to others about God. When you love someone you are always talking about them. You are bursting with energy and excitement. Does that describe your relationship with God? If not, don’t worry, it just points to where you can build.

On the other hand, you can’t just follow something because it “feels right.” You have to have a good understanding in your mind. If you want to know if something is true you need conformation in both your mind and heart.

Finally, we also meet God through our will. Our will generates motivation. I was reading in a British paper that there is a specialized school of psychotherapy to help really rich people because they can lose their will or motivation. They have so much money that nothing seems to matter anymore. Their extreme wealth causes them to be spiritually lopsided. They can find it hard to simply have the motivation to get out of bed in the morning.

For people who are not rich this seems absurd, but for the wealthy there can be a real disconnect with life. How do you live with the obvious inequity of your life? Bill Gates solved this through radical giving. He is the most generous person on the planet. We cannot live with ourselves or know God without finding a way to live righteously and create goodness in our lives. Our will should also serve our search for God.

Unification Thought expresses it this way:

When people continuously experience God’s Heart, (through their intellect, emotion and will) they eventually come to inherit God’s Heart completely. Such people naturally come to feel like loving everyone and everything. Not to do so would cause their heart to feel a great deal of pain. People separated from God find it difficult to love others, but once they become one with God’s Heart, their life as a whole is transformed into one of love. Also, if love is present, those who have many possessions cannot but want to share with those who have less. This is because love is not self-centered. Consequently, the gap between the haves and have-nots, between the rich and the poor, namely, exploitation in the world, will naturally disappear. Such a phenomenon is manifested due to the equalizing function of love. That human beings are beings of heart means that they live a life of love. Therefore, one can conclude that the human being is Homo amans, a loving person, or a person of love.

For all the world to see

We want God to be fair according to our standards but God’s nature is benevolent because he has true parental love. Rev. and Mrs. Moon’s unique contribution to the world’s religions is to teach Heavenly Parentism. Our goal is to embody God’s parental heart toward others.

When I saw the video about the 9/11 Bible I thought about the power of God’s truth. It cannot be hidden or lost. Even in the midst of destruction and hopelessness, God will find a way to bring forth His wisdom and way of being and loving for all the world to see. No matter what, it can’t be hidden or destroyed.

Our job is to live a balanced life of faith such that we can inherit God’s heart. It’s not easy but with mindful daily practice we unexpectedly find ourselves embodying His heart in our day-to-day lives. Rev. Moon said that in doing so, we feel God’s presence because he is inextricably drawn to us.

“Let’s look at two different people. One embraces and accepts only those people who are good, positive and respectful to him, while the other embraces people full of negativity and hatred. When God looks at those two people, which will He pay more attention to? Yes, it is the second one because God knows that the second person is more like Him.”

Jesus’ encouragement to be “perfect as your Heavenly father is perfect” was not a hollow promise. It is something we can attain, if we invest in a balanced spiritual life. This week, check your balance and strengthen yourself in the area you need most. Have a great week and remember God always comes through.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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