Practical Spirituality, Life Purpose & Meditation
How to implement practical spirituality into your daily experience? I have an exceptional guest on the show today. Dr. Richard Loren Held is an advocate of practical spirituality which I think is so spiritual and powerful.
Held has always had a passion for the spiritual arena and writing. So he went to complete a doctorate in Divinity and become a senior leader in a church since 2013.
He doesn’t believe in having just one life path but Held started in 1985 working in a ‘new thought’ church. It blossomed from there and awakened by a passion for the pursuit of Truth.
Held’s work in platform ministry came years later. It unfolded quite organically and beautifully. Consequently, he was already associated with the community when the job became available.
I had experience with Sunday school essays because I grew up in an Anglican Church. It is a lot like Protestant. I also used to go to Sunday school and had a lot of questions that made me curious.
On the other hand, Held was raised in a positive, Methodist environment. He likewise had questions on spirituality, but although he was not punished for that, it certainly wasn’t explored.
“And that doesn’t make us feel very spiritual since we end up going to church just for the act of it,” Held said. “And the merely going through the act of going to church doesn’t feed the soul. It just feels like belonging to a club.”
Held also says that soul unfoldment can be inaugurated, inspired and formed on a Sunday morning but that’s only where it starts. And by no means is it completed there.
Held says that regardless of the teachings of other religions, the Divine is the same. In Unity, people consider themselves devout Jews, Catholics, Christians, Atheists and many others.
“Everybody embraces each other with genuine curiosity and profound respect. I don’t think religion needs to be separated from one another,” said Held. “We all experience something different. So no one is right or wrong.”
Held’s current ordination is an Interfaith Minister. He believes humans explore, experience and seek to describe the Divine through lenses of geography, culture, era and more.
While these “lenses” are necessarily unique, Held says that the Divine which we seek to explore, experience and describe is One.
So it is that an appropriate understanding of “religion as the lens” frees us to engage each other and our respective traditions with genuine respect and authentic curiosity.
Addiction To Factuality
Held also believes that we’re made in the image of God, but it doesn’t make sense to give God a gender when He’s the Infinite and the Creator. How could we possibly put a limitation or boundary on that?
My husband and I found each other online. And we instantly connected. After three emails to each other, we realized we had the same spiritual beliefs and the same values.
We both quickly agreed that God is love and He’s everywhere. That’s when I told myself that he’s the man for me.
“This allows us to mature in matters of spiritual understanding. This addiction to factuality is relatively new,” explains Held. “It’s a post-enlightenment dynamic.”
Furthermore, Held explains that in the culture of the Judeo-Christian Bible, during the time of the Rabbi Jesus, his listeners would not have expected his teaching parables to be factual. They would have sought the truth of the story completely regardless of the factuality.
“It doesn’t matter when Jesus was born. For us to mature spiritually, we must evolve beyond this addiction to factuality,” Held said.Pursuing One’s Spiritual Truth
According to Held, personal value comes from an individual pursuit of Truth. Unity’s core teaching is God is the highest reality of existence. God is non-opposable.
“The only place where we can experience the Divine is in our own heart,” said Held. “It requires a turning from the world of multiple authorities to that inner world and to that power that resides within you.”
I remember growing up and read in the Bible that rather than praying publicly, do it in private. My relationship with God is not public. No one needs to know about it. It’s my personal experience.
Held says all great people who come into this world ultimately leave the same plea.
It goes something like this: There is a power that is greater. I have access to this power, and so do you. So stand up. Claim your rightful place as a co-creator in this world. You were never meant to cower in my shadow but to stand instead upon my shoulder and to reach further in your lifetime than I have been able to reach in mine.
Power of Prayer
Held explains that in their tradition, they believe that it is integrated. They believe that who we are in consciousness affects all aspects of our life.
“Our spiritual practices changes us. In a world that would often leverage prayer as a way that we change God, to get Him to do something for us, we hold it very differently,” Held said. “Prayer changes us. Don’t pray for a changed life if you’re not willing to have a changed mind.”
Growing up, I thought God wanted me to go to Church more often before he gives me what I want. Prayer was like my contract with God. It changed as years went on. Every thought is communication with God. He is with us at all times.
Held says God doesn’t know the difference between what we want to create and what we want to avoid. God only knows what we think. God’s work in our lives can be no bigger than the container we provide.
If God is life, then we honor God by living – boldly and comprehensively, with neither false humility nor sheepish restraint.
“You are quirky and peculiar and odd and all the other things you’ve feared for so long because it’s in your spiritual makeup to be so,” explains Held. “So deliver a full, unrestrained dose of who you are to the world, trusting that it must serve a noble purpose.”
Getting Off Pain
Held says that sometimes, it is the moment of deepest pain that push us back into soul growth. It takes vulnerability to get off the pain. It takes less and less courage as we get more and more in pain.
He believes that we, of our egoic selves, underestimate the resources which support us.
Held also says that in our moment at which we relinquish that sense that we control it all, that it is our power that governs it all, that it is our resources which sort it all, when we relinquish that, it is at that moment that avail ourselves to real power.
Because it is a power that is beyond our egoic selves, capable of engineering something remarkable.
Held clarifies that in his brand of Christianity, he is allowed to love anyone regardless of what their religion is or if you are gay. His brand of Christianity doesn’t let people out.
“As we evolve spiritually, as we mature, we find ourselves not drawn away from people but drawn to them,” said Held. “We find ourselves capable of loving more people. We all recognize that we are all climbing the same mountain.”
Find someone that represents the outer edge of your boundary and learn from them. Let it change you.
“Develop a regular spiritual practice such as meditation, yoga, study, music or chant. Cultivate the curiosity and the courage to ask great questions about God and humanity,” advises Held.
DR. RICHARD LOREN HELD holds multiple degrees including a Doctor of Divinity from both the United States and in Europe.
A professional musician, published author, award-winning businessman and currently, the Spiritual Director for Unity in Lynnwood, Washington, Dr. Held’s work has been noted as, “Thought-provoking and soul-nudging – that rare balance of profound and profoundly simple.”
In 2014, he was invited to serve on the Advisory Committee for the Association for Global New Thought which launched the Synthesis Dialogues with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Seasons for Peace and Nonviolence.
He has created music for such notables as Dr. Maya Angelou, Marianne Williamson, Mark Victor Hansen, Victoria Moran, Jack Canfield, Barbara Marx-Hubbard, Dr. Jean Houston, and Gary Zukav. He has collaborated with such notables as Jo Anne Worley (Laugh-In) and Grammy Award-winning artists Connie Dover and Oleta Adams.
Get Connected With Dr. Richard Loren Held!
Recommended Reading by Dr. Richard Loren Held
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach