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This text is from the Cafh course The Good Road, which focuses on our need to unfold as spiritual beings for our own good and for the good of others. We call our recognition of this need our "vocation," and it is this force that impels us to walk the Good Road. To discover the need to know ourselves is to have found the Good Road of spiritual life. It is to have discovered the secret of peace and happiness.2
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The elation of discovering our vocation and the energizing effect of coming into contact with the Good Road may give us the feeling that we are very strong and now know the solution to the evils afflicting humanity. Sometimes we may even want to go out preaching and reforming the world. Urged on by a desire for progress and a yearning to help humanity we may, in our pursuit of happiness for all, expect others to do what we think should be done. But the solutions we imagine are not always the ones needed to alleviate the ills of the world—imagining is very different from implementing. Besides, we can't provide for others what we ourselves don't yet have.
What can we give in the meantime, while we are working on ourselves to achieve the good that we have glimpsed?
Our commitment to our vocation can be our contribution. We can talk to our relatives, friends and coworkers about the ideal that inspires us. We can dedicate ourselves to putting the concepts and values we discover on the Good Road into practice in our own lives.
Getting close to souls means listening to them, loving them, assisting them in their needs. To tell them what they have to do would distance us from them, while sharing openly what we discover will draw us closer to them.
There is a big gap between saying what has to be done and doing it. We need to prepare ourselves both inwardly and outwardly if we are to bridge that gap.
Our first job, especially at the beginning, is to stabilize ourselves on the Good Road with our presence. This is no small task.
What does it mean to be present on the Good Road?
- To be in the here and now
- To be present with our mind and feelings
- To be available for whatever is necessary
- To be silent
- To be listening
- To be communicating
- To have our eyes wide open
- To look within
- To look to see the needs around us
These attitudes help us to develop the spiritual strength we need to orient our own lives as well as to help others. Above all, they give us the orientation we need to find the souls who are looking for the Good Road.
But what motivates us to keep practicing these attitudes?
The exercise of remembering that we live in the divine presence gradually reduces distractions and quiets our impulses. If during the day, we take a few seconds out of each hour to remember who we are and what our destiny is, to remember our fervent wish for good for ourselves and everyone else, we will create a solid foundation for remaining in a state of presence. This apparently simple exercise keeps us alert and helps us to gain some distance from our mental and emotional movements. In this way, at every moment of the day and in all circumstances, we will radiate the divine presence in our heart to our surroundings, and we will transmit that beneficial force simply and spontaneously, without speeches or show. Our life is transformed because we establish a concrete and effective contact with the divine in the silence of our hearts.
By focusing our thoughts frequently on the divine during the day, we remember the practices we have learned and have the inner strength to apply them in our daily circumstances. We also develop the necessary serenity and clarity to carry out our activities more efficiently and attentively.
This state of presence is our mission. It is our contribution to the solution of social ills, since it not only motivates our own spiritual unfolding, but its effects expand in concrete and effective acts for the good of all souls.
"I am here," we think, "in this school, in this office, in this home, where we are all committed to our work. I love these souls; I wish them all well and want them all to be happy. For this reason, I make an effort to express spiritual life in the way I behave and relate with them. At the same time, I transmit the divine presence I cultivate in my heart. I do the same jobs as those around me, and I also invite the divine presence to illumine us all." This attitude of presence is a beneficent force. Imagine saying it in the middle of an argument. Isn’t it evident that we would be able to improve the environment, calming ourselves down and everyone else who is around us?
A state of presence guides our thinking, feeling and acting to everyone’s good. At home, when we are out, even while sleeping, we are in the presence of the divine as a permanent witness of our love and of our aspiration to the common good.
1. "The Act of Presence" is teaching 9 in the course The Good Road. This course and many others are available for download on the Cafh website: www.cafh.org.
2. The quotation is from "Inner Life," teaching 2 in the course The Good Road.