An Integrated Life

An integrated life involves integrating your spiritual principles and practices into solutions for social struggles. Integration occurs best when your spiritual principles and practices and social actions become interactive. It is a transformative experience that affects you, others that you interact with, and the public places and practices that you interconnect to right social wrongs.

Living an integrated Rule of Life involves publicly engaging your spirituality by integrating spiritual principles, spiritual practices, and secular practices with solutions for social struggles. Cultivating the spiritual principles and choosing and integrating your spiritual and public places and practices are key. These actions will nurture a private and public relationship with God and others while working towards encountering, elucidating, and ending social struggles and injustices.


Integrating Spiritual Principles

Choosing your spiritual principles is an important initial step from moving towards a more public notion of your spirituality. Integrative steps concerning six spiritual principles follow.

The interconnected spiritual principles of faith and hope will instill confidence and anticipation that a seemingly intractable social struggle can be resolved. An increasing love of God and neighbor will advance your public engagement. As a solution unfolds, forgiveness must be taught by you and practiced by you if needed.

Humility will follow and become a forceful force the more and more you learn not to think less of yourself but think of yourself less and more of others. Your humbleness will inspire others and influence their work towards solutions as a result of acceptance of forgiveness and humbleness. Integrity can be demonstrated that will cause others to trust you even when they are not present. They will see that your service to them is ongoing and recognize your commitment to achieve a solution for the deserving and the undeserving that is based on God’s gift of grace.


Integrating Spiritual Practices

Choosing your spiritual practices is another important initial step from moving towards a more public notion of your spirituality. The practices noted are grouped as disciplined, convictional, and impassioned.

A few disciplined spiritual practices are noted for inclusion in an integrated Rule of Life that have been shaped by their progenitors out of a desire to have a deeply committed and intimate relationship with God and others. They stem from reading of scripture and prayer. There are different ways to pray and read scripture that include the ways that have been developed and been handed down over time. The few disciplined spiritual practices are noted below:

  • The Divine Offices of Prayer which provide daily opportunity for ongoing dialogue with God;
  • Daily Examen which is a time to discover how God has been present and what areas in our lives need further growth and healing;
  • Lectio Divina which creates a dialogue with God while reading scripture when you believe that a word, phrase, verse, or passage is being emphasized by God and you respond in prayer.

You may likely tailor these practices in ways for your own benefit and for the benefit of others as a result of public engagement.

A few personal convictional spiritual practices are noted to fuel your desire to work with others to solve an outstanding social struggle. Presenting these practices as choices to be included in your Rule of Life was done to motivate you to choose these practices or others that you know about to help unify conflicting attitudes or beliefs that are necessary in order to help develop a solution for a social struggle while working with others.

  • Incarnational Solidarity, when paraphrased means if all is not well with you, all is not well with me, and if all is not well with you and me, then all is not well with God;
  • Wounded Healer notes that we are all wounded and all wounded healers and should be prepared to heal the wounds of others out of our own woundedness;
  • Spiritual and Material Poverty are interactive for when we see others experiencing material poverty and have material resources and do nothing about it we experience spiritual

The impassioned spiritual practices presented are those that I have shaped by moving beyond the structure and instruction of disciplined spiritual practices out of a passion to move beyond the learned experiences to date. You are encouraged to do the same. A few personal examples are:

  • Praying the Psalms that contain prayers that have a full range of human feelings that I intensify and heighten out of my own feelings while reading them;
  • The Divine Hours of Prayer and the Blues highlight certain times of the day such as morning, evening, and midnight during which the Psalmists and Blues writers express deeply emotional terms that express pain, grievances, demands, and injustices among other similar feelings that will intensify and heighten your own feelings while reading and listening;
  • Passionate Love Prayers written by various church mystics that passionately express a love of Christ because of his suffering and death upon the cross that you can echo while praying their prayers.


Integrating Public Places and Practices

Choosing public places and practices is another important initial step regarding public engagement and solving social struggles when integrated with spiritual principles and practices. Public places and practices include the public forums in which to work with others concerning solutions. They include various groups such as coalitions, committees, commissions, and councils, which are commonly created to focus on a specific social struggle and closely related issues such as homelessness, hunger, or assorted land use disputes involving health and safety problems for neighborhoods, communities, cities, and entire counties. Public engagement in these groups provide the opportunities to work with others towards solutions and allows you to publicly integrate your chosen spiritual principles and practices for your integrated Rule of Life.