Having chewed on the great big questions in different ways for as long as I can remember, I've noticed some things about how answers (or, if you like, helpful insights) tend to reveal themselves. Two things I’ve learned are

Everything is a teaching.

Nothing never happens.

My husband, a Buddhist, would argue that Nothing Happens. I know, I know, it’s all an illusion, but until we understand that fully, in the meantime most of us tend to ignore, forget, or discount what’s right in front of our noses. From that perspective, it’s helpful to me to remember that Something is always happening, that it’s intended for my spiritual education, and that I learn more by paying close attention. If we do nothing else but adopt an asking attitude, waking and sleeping, great value will come of it. If we acknowledge that Everything Is a Teaching, if we inquire into our experiences, then whether or not we would describe them as “spiritual,” the very moments of our lives will lead us—one by one, now by now—into the heart of wisdom. I learned this by following the urgings of my meditation teacher. Now I realize that paying this kind of inner attention, asking the great big questions, chewing on them day in and day out, is a fundamental expression of our humanity.

Why Nothing Never Happens
The reason why nothing never happens is that even when nothing is happening, if you look deeply into that nothing you’ll always find something. The refusal to believe that nothing is nothing—the insistence that nothing never happens—is the heart of all contemplative inquiry, the springboard for ecstatic spiritual experience. This nothing is the ground of all true knowledge.

We would all do contemplative inquiry naturally, I think, except that (at least in the West) we’re taught from an early age to ignore our inner promptings, these leanings toward the Divine. We fear that if we follow where these inner mysteries lead, we may lose the love of our family and friends, we risk becoming an irresponsible citizen of the world, or worse, we may somehow go irretrievably crazy.

For most of us (though I can really only speak for myself) this kind of letting go into the moment comes only after we meet a worthy spiritual mentor, one who has traveled much further along the spiritual path than we have. Such mentors assure us that the path is safe, that at our core essence we are unassailable, even eternal. They assure us that if we pay ever closer attention to the still, small voice within, our steps will be guided. Better yet, our mentors promise we’ll discover the secret of real happiness—the kind that makes the poorest monks and priests and sadhus rich with laughter and light that dances in their eyes, the kind of happiness that seizes your heart and changes your life.

(An excerpt from Sacred Visitations)

Author's Bio: 

Ceci Miller is the author of Sacred Visitations: Gifts of Grace that Transform the Heart and Awaken the Soul (Five Wisdoms Press). Heartwarming and well-told, Sacred Visitations guide readers into the world of their own sacred experience through the 5 Steps of Sacred Awareness. A student of meditation since 1976, Ceci also co-authored Writing from the Body (St. Martin’s Press) with John Lee. She is the author of two children's books and has co-authored and edited numerous books for adults. To hear Ceci reading from Sacred Visitations, or to hear her interviews with people of all faiths on the Sacred Visitations Podcast, please go to http://www.SacredVisitations.com . For editorial and publishing consultation, please go to http://www.CeciBooks.com .