"Patience is waiting with intention.
The finest kind of patience carries the intention of love.
Intending to love, we may sometimes fall short and become impatient,
but even so, we can say that the intention of love is behind the finest kind of impatience...."
— from HOW TO BE SPIRITUAL WITHOUT BEING RELIGIOUS
by D. Patrick Miller
with a Foreword by Iyanla Vanzant
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Excerpts from the Foreword by Iyanla Vanzant
In 1999, a small book came across my desk, from a source that is still unknown to me. It was The Book of Practical Faith by D. Patrick Miller. After glancing through the first three pages, I closed my office door, armed myself with multi-colored highlighters and whipped through the rest of the book in about two hours. A week later, every member of my staff had a copy, and an executive order to read it....
Having read this book at least 20 times, I continue to appreciate three qualities of Patrick’s writing that are absolutely essential for spiritual teaching. First, his writing is clear. There are no fu-fu terms or mystical lingo. Each word is carefully selected and eloquently placed so that it speaks to your mind and heart simultaneously. Second, the book is perfectly aligned with spiritual law and principle, although he brilliantly never mentions these things by name. To do so, in my assessment, would probably create confusion; sending the reader off to find more information that they would probably never use. Finally, Patrick writes as if he were speaking to an old friend, over a cup of tea, about things he has lived and experienced...
I have never laid eyes on Patrick Miller. In fact, over the many years I have taught and recommended Practical Faith, I believe I have only spoken to him once. Because I could sense that he put his heart and soul into the book, no further contact was required. My soul knows that he is a powerfully masterful and wise teacher. He is a generous and loving soul. He is my brother. I love him, and I love his work.
When Patrick wrote to inquire if I would write a foreword for the revised edition of The Book of Practical Faith, I was honored and humbled. When he shared that it would be retitled my heart sank; but only for a moment. This work, now titled How To Be Spiritual Without Being Religious, is absolutely perfect! This title captures what drew me to the book in the first place; spiritual wisdom offered with clarity, without the doom and gloom that often fills the pages of traditionally religious works. Patrick, you are a genius, and I for one thank you for sharing who you are with the world. — Rev. Dr. Iyanla Vanzant, Founder, Executive Director Inner Visions Institute for Spiritual Development • Host, "Iyanla Fix My Life" (OWN TV)
How to Be Spiritual
without Being Religious
Faith is a more practical way to deal with everyday life than cynicism, toughness, or defensiveness. Faith can be sensible and savvy, and practicing it daily increases its usefulness and reliability. Yet faith is also tinged with mystery, for it is the connection to our unknown potential and the power of creation itself. Faith is the way out of misery, the way into self-knowledge, and the way toward a more fulfilling and effective life...
As an addiction or some other pattern of guilt begins to disintegrate, one may feel a distinct sense of loss. Ive confronted this feeling a number of times: Without this familiar habit, worry, or guilt, who will I be from now on? As something fixed, heavy, and negative within the self dissolves, an unfamiliar sensation of openness, light, and permeability fills in. Such a change may bring about a feeling of queasiness, but that passes as ones sense of self eventually restabilizes with a little more energy, optimism, and flexibility than before.
It is possible to have mistaken expectations, but it is impossible to be too trusting. Real trust is deepened and informed by disappointment, just as spiritual vision is refined by disillusionment. Trust prepares us for the best by teaching us to prepare for a future far better than what we may merely be hoping for.
Patience is deciding in favor of attention rather than tension. Attending to the inner part of ourselves that knows timelessness, we can wait in the world of time and balance our hurried sense of self-interest with the timeless knowledge that all will be well even when the all swallows us, as it inevitably will. Patience, then, is also humility, a surrender to the transcendent. Patience is the rhythm of faith.
Have you ever gazed at a clear sky long enough to realize that you are not looking at a huge blue screen but peering into the infinite? Have you ever watched a large old tree long enough to sense a bit of its incomprehensible might and balance, as it holds up its lengthy limbs toward the warmth of a vastly distant burning star? Have you ever gazed at your hand until it seemed a total mystery? In these and countless other transcendental, easily accessible experiences lies the practical heart of mysticism.... To admit that we are surrounded by mystery is to recognize ourselves. To learn transcendence is to unlearn the miserable notion that we are alone.
When we know there is nothing missing within ourselves, we are truly at home in a world that may have felt like a strange and hostile territory before. It is a practical faith that delivers us to this sense of being at home and it is a practical faith that can help us carry that home within us no matter what happens, and regardless of wherever we are led to serve during our stay on earth.