Living Spiritually, Spiritually Living
I recently watched a documentary about the late, great comedian, Garry Shandling. People are fascinating. People who do great things, live interesting lives, and seem to affect us all are unbelievably interesting. Shandling was one of those people. The documentary dove right into his life and investigated why he lived like he did.
His favorite book was Zen in the Art of Archery. He spent much of his life in spiritual pursuit. He valued time with monks and mystics. Living meant not living for Garry. This is such an interesting spiritual principle. It’s not unique to Zen but it is central…
“He lives, but what lives is no longer himself.” – Zen in the Art of Archery
Living for Jesus and Not Living
This phrase isn’t only Zen, it’s Christian. Christian in the sense of living for the Christ. It’s a principle the Apostle Paul knew well. It’s one that led him into a life fully sacrificed for others. Here’s how he said the same thing, differently…
“It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20
Paul saw himself as no longer himself. He saw all of life as “the Christ.” He lived but it wasn’t him living. It was Jesus. The mind of the Christ. You could even call this a “Christ consciousness.” The height of living spiritually is getting to a point where YOU no longer live as YOU.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Reading through Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi we read about a man who has sacrificed everything for the mission and message of Jesus. His spiritual experience was so intense it led to the denial of every meaningful, identifying marker of who HE was in his past life. Here’s how he puts it…
“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ…”
The original word for “garbage” was actually way more disgusting. He regarded anything and everything that made him significant in his world as refuse.
I’m not saying I know how to get here. But I am saying that this kind of spiritual life, one dedicated to Christ and not self, is something to be pursued. And like “The Ancient One” said to Dr. Strange, getting there takes “study and practice.” Study of Jesus. Study of Kingdom. Study of God. Study of prayer. Practicing love. Practicing grace. Practicing mercy and justice.
To be not me I must study and practice Christ!