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Making progress with love

The goal of spiritual work. Making progress with love is a phrase my wisdom gave me in 2007 to replace enlightenment. Any word that suggests a fixed state as the goal of spiritual work is misleading. The spiritual quest has no endpoint. There's always more progress to be made, more work to be done. Making progress with love was the theme of a website I wrote about the spiritual quest after I woke up a little in 2006. I'm so glad those early websites are long gone.

Attention is the secret to making progress with love. I make progress with love any time I pay attention to the present moment. Any time I am present, i.e. silent inside. If I'm paying attention and present in any moment, I gain the wisdom of that moment. Every moment has wisdom. This is a vast topic I can't write about. I'm not trying to keep any secrets. Attention is profoundly wordless; it can't be spoken or written of. But all of these stories taken together are about attention.

There's no shortage of headroom. Enlightenment makes it sound like a one-time deal: roshi whacks me on the skull and Hey, I'm enlightened! Waking up, another phrase used to name that goal is even worse. We think of waking up as a one-time deal because that's how we experience it: I was sleeping soundly then I woke up. Enlightenment and waking up work just fine to express the goal if you understand the process. Enlightenment means having a little more light; waking up means waking up a little more. The advantage of "making progress with love" is that the ongoing nature of spiritual work is built in: making progress implies no endpoint.

Making progress with love focuses my attention on love. That's another reason it's a better term. My wisdom is love itself; it's my personal connection to the universal love that everything is. Love is the best word for all this: the universe, the world, all of time and space, whatever. Calling it love makes it real in human terms: everyone longs for love.

Spiritual work feels like falling in love. The universal longing for love is the foundation of the spiritual quest. Spiritual work is the same thing as falling in love; it's the fullest expression of falling in love. If my spiritual practice doesn't feel at least a little bit like falling in love, I'm on the wrong track; I'm not making any progress with love.

Not blind faith. As I study how my life has unfolded, I keep discovering how much of my life has been a gift of love. Every good thing that has ever happened to me, and every good thing I've ever accomplished, has been love in action. To go on from here, love demands I have faith in love. Deeply informed faith founded on the overwhelming evidence that love has always taken care of me. I have faith that love always will take care of me. My faith makes it possible for me to respond to the seemingly impossible demands of love.