“With spiritual maturity the basis…shifts away from ambition, idealism, and desire for self-transformation. It is as if the wind has changed, and a weather vane – still centered in the same spot – now points in a different direction: back to this moment. We are no longer striving for a spiritual destination…We are home. And being home, we sweep the floor, make nourishing meals, and care for our guests.”
In his book After the Ecstacy the Laundry, psychologist Jack Kornfield makes a case for appreciating the spiritual depth of everyday life. There is a place for “ambition, idealism, and desire for self-transformation” as we strive to become our best selves, but these inner-forces can shift our focus away from the responsibilities and relationships that comprise our often simple and uneventful lives. For Kornfield, spiritual maturity is about realizing the sacredness of those down-to-earth activities required of us on a daily basis.
There is truth in understanding spirituality as more than the concreteness of life as we know it, but the “more” is a dimension of, rather than something apart from what is. Poet and mystic William Blake has said: “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” If we could see clearly, that is, without the prejudices and presumptions that cloud our vision, we might just catch a glimpse of the sacred nature of life in the world.
The word ‘appreciation’ is from the two Latin words ad pretium meaning “go to the precious.” If we penetrate the surface of our work, and our interactions with others, we may discover a preciousness in what might otherwise appear to be only ordinary and without much value. Sweeping the floor, making nourishing meals, caring for our guests, performing work related tasks, and the like, can be a portal, a doorway to the spiritual essence of everything and everyone. When this door opens before us, we are invited to step through it into a new and richer experience of the life we are already living.