What are the qualities of an ideal spiritual practitioner? The basis of it all is that they are dedicated completely to cultivating love and wisdom, not just for themselves but for the sake of all beings. They may do this in relationship with an outside personal deity, or they may do so with a grounding in an inner knowing and conviction of a Transcendent Truth. Ultimately what they do is an expression of who they truly are, and they evolve consciously as their life brings them ups and downs.
In ups they are grateful, not holding on, not pushing away, they soak in their experiences and connections with others like an open ocean, receiving the rivers of experience and love. And in the downs they are called to action when necessary, and see things with clarity that inspires compassion, forgiveness, faith, and service.
The ideal practitioner is their own ally, caretaker, teacher, and student. They forgive themselves when they make mistakes, are vigilant with regards to their own minds and behaviors, teach themselves in self-discipline, and learn from themselves in deep reflection. The ideal practitioner takes his practice very seriously, while maintaining a sense of humor for everything.
The ideal practitioner is in love. In love with life, with people, with the Transcendent, so much so that they feel the fullness of reality every moment, and their compassion for beings is unending. They are called so deeply to seek their fullest spiritual expression that they are present in that intention night and day. It is this love and compassion that is the basis of their practice.
The ideal practitioner is intelligent, well read, and seeks direct experience of the nature of reality. They are discerning to a refined degree, can reason well, and are deeply inquisitive of their reality. They pierce their false assumptions and ignorance like with a brilliant flaming sword of wisdom, removing obscurations and delusions, and then sharing insights with others.
The ideal practitioner is prepared to practice long hours in meditation or prayer, allowing for the opportunity to deepen their communion or realization of the Transcendent. Letting go of the distracted life, the ideal practitioner immerses themselves in regular daily practice in a place that is conducive for practice. And on regular occasions, takes even longer practice opportunities whenever possible.
The ideal practitioner seeks out the appropriate teachers that are already established in a place of spiritual realization, who are authoritative and reliable sources of information and guidance. Their teachers will always show how to become their own greatest self, and relate to the student according to their developmental disposition. Taking one's self to a realized spiritual master is a primary way to develop quickly in this life.
The ideal practitioner is like a cup that overflows, filling the cups of others around them. They are like a fire that burns with love, and their flame catches on others, inspiring love and warmth in others as well. They are electric with the vitality of life, and charge others with the same electricity for life, that they see the moon and stars as if for the first time. Their hearts are like a church bell, reminding us of a higher calling, to come back to our greater selves.
The ideal practitioner is humble, thinks not of himself in any way, neither high or low, but rather lets his nature be the measure of his worth. The ideal practitioner is happy to be in the dirt, for she is in love. The ideal practitioner is clean, for her heart leads her. The ideal practitioner says goodbye for the day, but never fully in her heart for she knows we are always together and always will be. The practitioner is unafraid to be all of herself, for she knows in the moment what makes her is good.
May you come to be the ideal practitioner in your own unique way, that you may come to fulfill life's greatest call for you.