Following Jesus means making a choice between two orientations for your life.  Will you put your small-s, selfish self at the center of your life?  Or will you put awe for the Ultimate Reality at the center?

“The Four Spiritual Laws” is a fundamentalist Christian tract that has been passed by evangelists for decades in America.  The punch line of the form of Christianity it promotes is this: you are a hopeless sinner who is damned to eternal hellfire unless you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.  This is not a version of Christianity that makes sense to me.  But the tract makes one point I find insightful, with its diagrams that ask:  who or what is at the center of your life?  Inspired by this question, I wrote my own version of the tract, which I call “The Four Spiritual Awes”.

My own experience of putting myself at the center has been problematic.  It results in mindlessly grasping for things I can never fully possess, suffering from desires that can never be finally fulfilled, comparing myself to other people in ways that cause myself and others pain, and being driven by unconscious and sometimes destructive urges.

Putting Awe for Ultimate Reality at my center radically re-organizes my life.  It puts my small-s self in mindful perspective.  I observe my desires, plans, urges, and relationships from the point of view of an Awe that is beyond my possession.  Kindness, joy, creativity, release from suffering and frustration, flow so much more naturally when I have put my self in its proper place away from the true, divine Center of my being.  

Choosing God as our Center enables us to embrace the Four Spiritual Awes:

1.) Awe for freedom.  God is the awesome Love that enables you to choose your life's plan for yourself, instead of being driven by unconscious urges. Through mindful, prayerful communion with God, and in soulful service to others, trust that you will find the meaning and purpose of your existence.

2.) Awe for divinity. You are born in the awesome image of divine Love. Your failings and mistakes are reminders to return to awareness of your divine nature.

3.) Awe for the journey. There are many paths that can help you keep focused on the divine center of your being, and following Jesus is one of them. His path can be hard; it's not easy to love even your enemies, as he did. But it is an awesome challenge that is supremely worth your life.

4.) Awe for growth. Both individually and collectively, we are attracted by God to ever-more awesome spiritual awareness and expressions of compassion.

Mindful prayer is about looking at ourselves and the world around us from the viewpoint of Awe.  From that center, everything looks different.  Instead of being sucked into a vortex of self-absorption, we're able to observe with compassionate clarity, and make considered choices about how to live.