Matthew 6: 7-15
“In your prayer, don’t rattle on!”
Why is it that we have a tendency to complicate the spiritual life or religious practice? And why is it that we have a tendency to take it all so seriously?!
Last night I continued to read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love. She describes her first lesson with her Balinese Hindu teacher named Ketut, an elderly, toothless Medicine Man. He asked her if she’s studied yoga. She says yes and he responds: “Why they always look so serious in Yoga? You make serious face like this, you scare away good energy. To meditate, only you must smile. Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver. Practice tonight at hotel. Not to hurry, not to try too hard. Too serious, you make you sick. You can calling the good energy with a smile. All finish for today. See you later alligator (p.231).” . . . And that was it. That was the extent of her first spiritual teaching from this man. No long treatise, no book, no long retreat, just this: sit, smile, and don’t get too serious!
I LOVE that image! Perhaps because I tend to be serious in my spiritual journey at times. I was going to title this entry “Smile for God’s Sake!” And then I thought, God doesn’t need our smiles, WE do! And then I thought again, . . . Maybe God DOES need our smiles after seeing and listening to all these glum looking “spiritual” people everyday! Who wouldn’t want a good laugh after a day of that!!
In 12-Step programs they have a phrase with the acronym KISS, meaning “keep it simple stupid!” I’m not sure I like the “stupid” part, but you get it. Keep it simple, don’t complicate it! And like Ketut said, just sit and smile while you’re meditating and walking through life!
By the way, another good read on lightening up in the spiritual journey is a book by Julia Cameron entitled: God Is No Laughing Matter: An Artist’s Observations and Objections on the Spiritual Path. A good read indeed!
Maybe today and in the days to come we could just smile and KISS and watch the dirty energy get cleared away!