Rising to our Best Selves

There is a fable about a monk who goes out walking and meets a crude and rude man. The monk says to the man, “good morning. It’s a fine day. What do you see this morning?” The man says, “I see an old man who is as dirty as a pig. What do you see you, Pig?” “The monk replied, “I see God”.

We all see through a filter that is a reflection of our inner spirit. How often am I focused on what’s wrong with the world, what’s wrong with others, and significantly, what’s wrong with me? In contrast the monk in the fable told by Father Ron Rolheiser, saw God when he looked at the crude man, because all day, every day he contemplated God and God’s goodness and beauty and love. If the monk looked at himself, he no doubt saw God also, because those are the eyes through which he sees everything and everyone.

It is good prayer and life practice to look for the movement of God’s spirit in the good, beautiful and loving things in our lives, and especially to see the good and beautiful and loving inside of us.

Gratitude Prompt: How have I or how do I shine goodness into the world? What are some of my qualities and gifts?

Philosophia – Spirituality of Ascent

Mystics throughout the ages have taught that we can become more kind and loving people by focussing, not on our failures, but on our goodness. This is called the spirituality of ascent which contrasts with spiritual practices that have us doing interior searching to identify our faults. My own spiritual director said to me, “it’s not 50-50. In a healthy spirituality there is much more focus on the ascent (goodness at work) than the descent (our human failings).”

Spirituality of descent can also mean descending into Mystery. This is an extremely important spiritual maturing which I will talk more about in future hope notes.

For a better understanding of Fr. Rolheiser’s teaching on broad categories of spiritual practices:

An excellent and engaging reflection on ascent spirituality for personal transformation as explained by Fr. Rolheiser: