Stumbling Mystic Podcast – The Inner Dimensions of Spiritual Practice

It seems like the demands of work and the pace of technology are ever-increasing, adding pressure to accomplish more, process faster, and run madly just to stay ahead of the game.

A spiritual practice with a contemplative component slows the pace of daily living. If we can lift our awareness out of the fog and flailing of activity, we can attune to the dimensions of life that are resting just below the surface. The key to practice is to make it a habit so that its qualities can permeate.

Choosing spiritual practices that work for us is a personal decision. My conversations in this week’s episode show a variety of approaches to practice, including:

  • Differing views on whether meditation is “mandatory” for modern mystics;

  • How to use the body as the grounding vehicle for practice;

  • Use of a tantric sexual practice to circulate energy within the body;

  • Practicing in nature as a way to restore strength and balance;

  • Service as a spiritual practice;

  • Songwriting as a spiritual practice.

You can listen below to Episode 5 of the Stumbling Mystic Podcast, “The Inner Dimensions of Spiritual Practice.” Or, visit the podcast page, or listen on your favorite podcast platform.

Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

Stumbling Mystic Podcast – Mysticism, Seeing the Sacred Everywhere

If you feel lost in the spiritual landscape of modern society, you’re not alone. Many seekers today feel unsupported in their search, caught between the skepticism of secular culture and the dogma of traditional religion.

Mysticism is not strange or exotic. It is sitting right beneath the surface of our normal experience, shimmering and alive. Ultimately, mysticism is a new way of seeing that makes the whole world Sacred. In Episode 4 of the Stumbling Mystic podcast, “Mysticism, Seeing the Sacred Everywhere,” we talk about:

  • The direct experience of the Sacred that is beyond reason, a mystery that Joseph Campbell says can be known but not told;

  • Mysticism as a path beyond religion and skepticism;

  • Development of our own inner knowing that intuitively understands we come from and return to Source.

You can listen below to Episode 4. Or, visit the podcast page, or listen on your favorite podcast platform.

Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

Stumbling Mystic Podcast – How Does Traditional Religion Support our Spiritual Life?

What are we to do with traditional religion? As an institution, it has been a foundation for the faithful for eons, and yet is a turn-off for so many spiritual seekers today. Is there a place for religion in the spiritual life of a modern mystic?

In Episode 3 of the Stumbling Mystic podcast, I turned to two long-time friends who are actively committed to their faith to help me understand this topic. In our conversations, I was struck by how profoundly the structure of religion supported their deep, rich spirituality, as well as how much they struggled with conflicted feelings about that very structure.

You can listen below to Episode 3 of the Stumbling Mystic podcast, “How Does Traditional Religion Support our Spiritual Life?” Or, visit the podcast page, or listen on your favorite podcast platform.

Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

Stumbling Mystic Podcast – Using the Wounds of Trauma to Heal

Whether we have faced severe events like war or physical assault, or the garden-variety insults and wounds inherent in life, we are all affected by trauma. It is the unifying condition of human experience and the cause of much suffering.

One of the reasons we are drawn to spirituality is a desire to heal. Many of us feel that we are broken, need to be fixed, maybe even that we are unlovable. But there are some approaches to spiritual growth that help us encounter pain and some that suppress pain. One promotes healing and the other does not.

In Episode 2 of the Stumbling Mystic podcast, I spoke with therapists, coaches and healers to understand how the power of trauma can hinder or accelerate our spiritual growth. We talk about:

  • How trauma causes us to disassociate from our bodies in order to survive;

  • The need to reinhabit and celebrate the body as the path to healing;

  • How somatic work allows us to release trauma and excavate our true selves;

  • Whether the spiritual journey is one of experiencing pain and joy in order to bring Spirit into the world of form;

  • Why healing our own wounds is necessary if we are to be healers for others.

You can listen below to Episode 2 of the Stumbling Mystic podcast, “Using the Wounds of Trauma to Heal.” Or, visit the podcast page, or listen on your favorite podcast platform.

Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

Stumbling Mystic Podcast – How Do I Respond to the Spiritual Impulse?

I was drawn to the spiritual flame at an early age. Questions of ultimate concern have always fascinated me.

The spiritual impulse is a pull that feeds me, delights me, frustrates me, and educates me, continually leading to deeper discoveries about my essential self. I want to understand more about this compelling urge that occupies so much of my energy.

In Episode 1 of the Stumbling Mystic podcast, I talk with my guests about how their experiences nurture their spiritual well-being. Their stories and insights are inspiring:

  • How one person’s grief and anger at the cancer diagnosis of her child led to a spiritual maturity that was big enough to hold her volcanic rage;

  • How a young seminarian found solace from depression by lying before the tabernacle in the middle of the night;

  • How turning toward the difficulties and shadow of our common humanity can help us participate in a collective conscious with others;

  • How the spiritual impulse pulls us into a partnership between our ego self and higher self that is the basis for spiritual growth.

I was struck by the courage, vulnerability and resilience of my guests. Although I’ll never fully grasp the nature of this impulse that draws me toward the Sacred, I am grateful for its power and guidance.

You can listen below to Episode 1, “How Do I Respond to the Spiritual Impulse?” Or visit the podcast page, or listen on your favorite podcast platform.

Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

The Stumbling Mystic Podcast – Food for the Spiritual Traveler

I’m a writer. So why am I publishing a podcast?

Because the road is long and the walking is slow. Because the aim of spiritual growth is to transform our way of being, and that kind of change doesn’t happen in the first few miles.

Because we sometimes forget and need reminding. Because we are often lost and need encouragement. Because on such a long walk, we need to be nourished along the way.

That’s why I write the Stumbling Mystic blog, to remind and encourage and nourish and nudge. My writing is a creative and communal practice – writing the blog feeds me, and I hope reading it feeds you as well.

So, to further this creative and communal endeavor, I interviewed ten of my friends and colleagues to gather their insights on the spiritual impulse. These are thoughtful, dynamic spiritual seekers who have been walking the road for years. They generously shared their time and wisdom for this podcast.

Continue reading “The Stumbling Mystic Podcast – Food for the Spiritual Traveler”

Practical Wisdom is Changing its Name to Stumbling Mystic

Why Change the name to Stumbling Mystic?

I am writing this week to announce that Practical Wisdom is changing its name to Stumbling Mystic. Let me explain why.

Writing is a discipline. To do it well, it has to be truthful. By writing every week about topics dear to my heart, I’ve learned a lot about myself. It has required me to pay close attention to my experience and examine my inner dynamics and intentions with honesty.

Several things have become clear to me. One is that I am drawn to the direct experience of the sacred. A shift in consciousness happens when I pay attention to my attention. My ordinary awareness expands into a wider world that is delicious, vibrant, and always available just below the surface if I drop into mindfulness and allow the shift to happen.

 It is this shift that intrigues me, more than religious philosophy or metaphysical descriptions. Throughout the ages, a word used to describe the path of direct sacred experience is mysticism. 

Continue reading “Practical Wisdom is Changing its Name to Stumbling Mystic”

I Could Use Your Help

A year ago, I created the Stumbling Mystic blog as a way station for serious spiritual seekers. I could use your help in shaping the blog in the coming year.

I write in response to the spiritual impulse, the drive I feel to experience the mystery that blooms all around us. I want to explore this mystery and learn what it means to connect my light to the greater light. 

I’ve been this way for a long time. Even when I was little, I was drawn to the spiritual and I could recognize the shift in light and space when I fell into the open, timeless wonder of the sacred moment.

In that space, I remember something about my place in the world that I can not understand by intellect alone. I recognize the feeling of wholeness that reflects the truth of who I am.

As a reader of the Stumbling Mystic blog, I’m guessing you feel the spiritual impulse too and have had similar experiences of the sacred.

You and I want to connect with the sacred. We want to be in this spacious, loving, unitive place longer and more often. 

But it is hard to stay connected while living in a physical world that emphasizes fragmentation. The obligations of the world intrude. We feel the press of daily tasks. Our attention is gobbled into the machinery of digital distraction.

When we fall out of sacred connection, the mirror cracks and all we see are distorted and fractured images of ourselves. We forget the whole and lovable beings that we are beyond the broken mirror.

That is why I write the Stumbling Mystic blog. My ideas and stories are my attempts to put the pieces of the mosaic back together, to remind us of our incomprehensible worth as agents of consciousness and love walking in the world of form.

I believe you want this too. And so, I’m asking for your help.

I have some questions for you. I’d like to know more about your thoughts, struggles, joys, dilemmas and concerns as you walk your spiritual path. I want to learn what topics you’d like to explore with me here on the Stumbling Mystic blog.

The questions are here

Can you spend a few minutes writing your reflections to these questions?

I am not posing this as an intellectual exercise. If you drop into your true self and speak from the root of your soul, answering these short questions can be a five-minute spiritual practice. 

Your participation will help create the next steps in this collective wisdom project. It’ll be fun, too.

Thanks.