Carrying on with part 2 of my 3-part series on “Clean”, which stands for Spiritual Fitness. I talked about this idea a couple of weeks ago, and now I’ve written a piece about Awareness of Self, with another about Awareness of Eternity coming tomorrow. Today is Awareness of Context.
Awareness of Context
Yesterday, I talked about developing an awareness of yourself. This was all about exploring your own inner world, seeing your own past, present, and future. Today, we’re looking at the bigger picture: expanding that consciousness into wider and wider circles of context. Spirituality is primarily about your relationship to things larger than yourself, so that’s where we’re going with this one.
Your first layer of context is your family. These are the people who made you. You are a continuation of these people, or they are a continuation of you. Knowing these people deeply is critical to knowing yourself and your role in existence. Study your own genealogy and family history to achieve deeper knowledge of your own place and purpose. Connect with your relatives, listen to them, serve them, and do right by them.
Your friends are the people you know well and spend time with, those who have influenced you and whom you have impacted directly. There are pieces of them in you, shared journeys and shared ideas. Pay attention to their role in your life and your role in theirs. Learn lessons, impart lessons, and bear your responsibility to them.
Your community is not only the place you live–it is that–but you also belong to many other communities around your activities & interests. Communities often have an essence of their own that is more than just the people that make them up currently. They have histories, they have institutions, they have legacies. You are part of them and they are part of you. Reflect on the influence they have on you, as well as the influence you wish to have on them.
Culture is another layer above community, or another circle wider. Cultures are the customs, institutions, and achievements of your people. Many of us now belong to multiple cultures. These might be things you are born into, or things you choose, like your nation, ethnicity, race, and religion. Mainstream culture, counter-culture, subculture; Where do you fit in there? How do these cultures impact your thoughts and expressions?
You see that picture of a tree up there? If you and I are the tiny leaves way out at the very tip of the twigs & branches, then our families and friends are the larger branches that support us, our communities and cultures are the trunk and the roots. Knowing about the rest of the tree helps you know who you are and what you’re here to do.
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