Functional Spirituality

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Thinking about “functional spirituality,” I return to Ingrid Rowland, in her book, The Collector of Lives, paraphrasing Socrates:

“All the enlightenment in the world is worth nothing unless it is brought back down to Earth to help other people.”  (translation hers)

This came to mind when I watched a recent teaching by Marshall Vian Summers wherein he quoted the great Confucian scholar Wang-Yang-Ming, who said:

The common denominator between Yang-Ming’s wisdom and Socrates‘? Action. Enlightenment comes the same way that  understanding does—after the experience.

How does Spirituality fit in?

Spirituality is the ability to see, to know and to act. This is what makes it functional. And action often takes the form of giving—giving with purpose, giving with compassion, giving with discernment.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably done enough work on yourself. Enlightenment happens as a result of our service, purpose and direction. These occur on the journey we take, one step at a time. The understanding we glean from experiences on the journey are the enlightenment we seek. This is the deeper need of our soul.

The journey is so very different from what people imagine because the imagination cannot contain a reality this great. Words, like ideas, give limit and form to things, but they cannot encompass greater realities. This requires reverence and resonance to experience the truth at a larger level.  —from The Soul’s Journey on Earth


The journey, the practice are life long. The requirements are few, but great: honesty, humility, perseverance, patience, discretion and discernment. These are the essential qualities for true achievement.

This is enlightenment.

Marshall Vian Summers, by the way, is the top rated guru on the site,





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