William Bloom on spiritual practice

I’ve been a fan of William Bloom’s ever since I participated in his workshops and courses some years ago. His book, Money, Heart and Mind left a profound influence on me (and helped me get a 1st for some university coursework). Here’s a taste of his profound thinking, lifted from the Cygnus Review, in relation to the world’s spiritual traditions –

We are the first generation ever that is able to look at all the world’s spiritual traditions. This gives us a unique opportunity to see the core practices that they share. Despite all their differences – for example, from meditation to ecstatic dance – there are great similarities. It is like sport. No matter which particular sport you practice – golf, swimming, tennis – you still need to practice certain core skills such as fitness, muscle tone and stamina. Spirituality also has its core skills. Let me ask you three simple questions that illustrate this. The answers to these questions will show whether you have the basis of Spiritual Practice.

(But why, you may ask, would you want to do spiritual practice? Because, like piano or yoga or football, you want to get better at it! To become more awake and conscious. To be more connected. To soak in the beauty and wonder.)

Anyway have a look at these three questions and answer Yes or No:

  • Spiritual Connection: Do you connect with the pure wonder of existence?
  • Reflection: Do you reflect on your development and consciousness – and seek to guide them?
  • Service: Do you try to live a life that is of benefit to others?

If you answer ‘Yes’ to those three questions then, according to most traditions, you already understand and observe the three core skills of Spiritual Practice. Do them regularly and with consciousness and you actually have an ongoing and grounded rhythm.

I myself am a fairly lazy practitioner (William’s wisdom doesn’t go away, though), which is probably why I can be prone to depression. Thank goodness for good friendships. I suspect we need robust spiritual practice to stay grounded, equanimous and compassionate to contend with turbulence, as alerted to in the previous post. It’s time I engaged with spiritual practice more.

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