In my previous blog, I stated that the road to spiritual transformation is essentially an inward journey that intimately connects us with our body, minds and spirits. Intention, gratitude and faith are the ingredients that invite miraculous changes on this transformative path, changes that cannot be achieved by just following the rules or doing some other conventional practice. Why is this so?
The reason is that these traits prepare one for the emptying of self, the total letting go, the kenosis that is ultimately required for transformation. The emptying of self can be made in countless little decisions or in one major gesture whereby there is a willing and loving pouring out of one’s self, the using of all one’s resources and the expending of all one’s energies to undergo a transformation. It calls to mind one of St. Paul’s statement in 2 Timothy 4:6, “I am being poured out like a libation; and my time of departure has come.” (NOAB, NRSV) Jesus’ own life was said to be one long emptying of self for the sake of others.
Intention sets the choice of the individual and indicates in what direction all energies will be utilized and expended, if necessary. Usually navigating the spiritual path asks a great deal of clear-sightedness, resolve and determination from the seeker. Setting a firm intention will martial these qualities to serve the journey.
Gratitude has a way of opening and expanding the heart, tuning one to the frequency of higher consciousness energy. It also has a way of making the person buoyant in the face of adversity. It raises one up rather than pulling one down. Gratitude can therefore raise a person above the fray, allowing for peace and well-being. It is absolutely essential in allowing the person to “let go” with peace of mind.
Faith is the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1, NOAB, NRSV) It is a type of visionary knowing that instills confidence. Without faith, one can do nothing involving risk and change.
Applying Intention, Gratitude and Faith to Our Spiritual Practices
Because intention, gratitude and faith are so important, it is very helpful when they are consciously brought into our spiritual life such as in prayers, dreamwork and meditation. Intention sets one on the particular path. It is very useful to intend dreams that ask for a specific piece of information or guidance. It is good training to ask for things needed in prayer. Faith is thereby deepened when we get answers to prayers and dream requests. We find we have a give-and-take relationship with divinity. Gratitude opens us to positive energies on the path because a grateful heart enriches meditation and life by connecting us to higher energies. And believing all our requests and intentions will be heard and our gratitude appreciated opens the visionary pathway for the change that is to come.