The Art of Selfishness

Last week I began by saying that our goal in doing spiritual work is to integrate

our spiritual beliefs and practices into all of life. Not all of life, of course, is

pleasant. Further, not all beliefs and practices that are classified as spiritual or

religious are wise or useful. Not at all. Some of the meanest and most destructive

acts carried out in the world have been carried out in the name of some

understanding of God or for some so-called "religious" belief.

I come back to my foundation point for the work I think our lives are about: The

central truth of and for spiritual practice is "paying attention" and developing the

resources to be present to "what is." Central to this spiritual practice is growing in

the capacity to be non-judgmental.

To bring this "spiritual goal" to fruition takes work and practice. We grow up

given a set of lenses through which to view the world. We are very reluctant to

give these lenses up. For one thing, the tribe that gave them to us does not want

us to give them up. For another, by the time we have reached what we call

"adulthood" these "habits of the mind" are so deeply ingrained in us that giving

them up feels like losing our best friend.

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