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  • Rob Odum

The Spiritual ABCs

I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend the Yeoju Eco Forum in Korea this past month. What a thrill it was to meet with religious leaders from many faiths as we gathered to learn from each other and vision together for a better world.

One of the most meaningful workshops I attended was given by Jay McDaniel, a professor from Hendrix College, who offered us the ABCs of Spiritual Literacy. Jay stressed that as we seek to reach out to the “Nones” we be fluent in the Spiritual alphabet. The “Nones” are those who check off the None box on surveys asking for religious preferences, claiming that they are “spiritual but not religious”.


Here are the ABCs of the Spiritual Alphabet By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


Attention: Pay attention. Stay awake and totally alert. See with receptive eyes and discover a world of ceaseless wonders.


Beauty: Walk the path of beauty. Relish and encourage its inward and outward expressions. Acknowledge the radiance of the creation.


Being Present: Live in the present moment. Don't obsess about the past or worry about the future. All you need is right here now.


Compassion: Open your heart, mind, and soul to the pain and suffering in the world. Reach out to others and discover the rewards and obligations of deep feeling.


Devotion: Express your feelings of praise and adoration through devotional practices. Pray with words and pray through your actions.


Enthusiasm: Celebrate life with this intoxicating passion. It adds zest to everything and helps build community. Hold nothing back.


Faith: Recognize and accept that there is another dimension to life than what is obvious to us. Live with obstacles, doubt, and paradox, knowing that God is always present in the world.


Forgiveness: In both your private and public lives, discover the sweet release that comes from forgiving others. Feel the healing balm of being forgiven and of forgiving yourself.


Grace: Accept grace and your world will be larger, deeper, richer, and fuller. Look for its intimations everywhere. Let this seed of the Giver of Life bloom in your words and deeds.


Gratitude: Spell out your days with a grammar of gratitude. Be thankful for all the blessings in your life.


Hope: Let this positive and potent emotion fuel your dreams and support your service of others. Through your attitudes and actions, encourage others never to lose hope.


Hospitality: Practice hospitality in a world where too often strangers are feared, enemies are hated, and the "other" is shunned. Welcome guests and alien ideas with graciousness.


Imagination: Give imagination free rein in your life. Explore its images and ponder its meaning-making moments, and it will always present you with something new to be seen, felt, or made known.


Joy: Rejoice and be exceedingly glad. Find this divine energy in your daily life and share it with others.


Justice: Seek liberty and justice for all. Work for a free and fair world where oppression and inequality no longer exist


Kindness: Let Spirit flow through you in little acts of kindness, brief words of encouragement, and manifold expressions of courtesy. These deeds will add to the planet's fund of good will.


Listening: Cultivate the art of deep listening in which you lean toward the world in love. All things in the universe want to be heard, as do the many voices inside us.


Love: Fall in love over and over again every day. Love your family, your neighbors, your enemies, and yourself. And don't stop with humans. Love animals, plants, stones, even the galaxies.


Meaning: Constantly try to discover the significance of your experiences. Seek further understandings from sacred texts and spiritual teachers.


Nurturing: Take good care of the best that is within you. Self-exploration and personal growth continue throughout our lifetimes and equip us to tend to the needs of others.


Openness: Hold an open house in your heart for all people and all things. Practice empathy with others and receptiveness toward the universe.


Peace: Protect the earth's future by promoting peace every day. Your small steps will link you with others who are combating violence in the world.


Questing: Savor questions and thrill to the quest. See your life as a journey that quickens your faith and deepens your soul.


Reverence: Practice reverence for life. The sacred is in, with, and under all the things of the world. Respond with appropriate respect and awe.


Silence: Slow down. Be calm. Find a place where you can regularly practice silence. There you will find the resources to revitalize your body, mind, and soul.


Transformation: Welcome the positive changes that are taking place in your life. Open up the windows and let in some fresh air. Wholeness and healing are waiting in the wings.


Unity: In this age of global spirituality, respect differences but affirm commonalities. Work together with those who are trying to make the world a better place.


Vision: Practice the art of seeing the invisible. Use the wisdom of your personal visions to renew yourself and your community.


Wonder: Cultivate a vibrant curiosity and welcome the reports of your senses. The world is alive and moving toward you with rare epiphanies and wonderful surprises. Remember you are standing on holy ground.


X-The Mystery: Accept the unknown as part of life. Don't try to unravel the profound mysteries of God, human nature, and the natural world. Love the ineffable.


You: Accept that you are a child of God. Sing your own song with gusto. Fulfill your mission as a co-partner with the Holy One in the unfolding drama of the universe.


Zeal: Be passionately aroused by life. Cherish every moment, honor your commitments, and treasure your kinship with all.


My prayer is that together we may practice these ABCs and grow deeper into the beloved community that God calls us to.

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