take flight every day!

bronze elephant madison squareSpiritual exercises are — brief, intense, timeless, dispassionate, a place where you forget yourself.  They jettison hate, malice, gossip, loathing; and free you to love and overcome.

Here is the sociologist Georges Friedmann’s description of spiritual exercises.  He says activism – outward, worldly, political work – may usher in the revolution, but for whom?  Better to do the ‘necessary’ inward work, through spiritual exercises, that readies us to live freely post revolution.

Here is Friedmann via Hadot:

To take flight every day! At least for a moment, which may be brief, as long as it is intense. A “spiritual exercise” every day – either alone, or in the company of someone who also wishes to better himself. Spiritual exercises. Step out of duration … try to get rid of your own passions, vanities, and the itch for talk about your own name, which sometimes burns you like a chronic disease. Avoid backbiting. Get rid of pity and hatred. Love all free human beings. Become eternal by transcending yourself.

This work on yourself is necessary; this ambition justified. Lots of people let themselves be wholly absorbed by militant politics and the preparation for social revolution. Rare, much more rare, are they who, in order to prepare for the revolution, are willing to make themselves worthy of it.

George Friedmann La Puissance de la Sagesse, quoted by Pierre Hadot, Philosophy as a Way of Life