Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | November 11, 2009

The Geography of Spirituality

My interpretation of exercises like this is taoist and Jungian–I interpret the importance, meaning and significance of the synchronicity of things the way I would interpret a dream. There is the added dimension in taoism and jungian psychology of the collective unconscious or the collective wellspring that we can tap into, so that it is not just us individually, but something universally as well.

So here’s the exercise–assume that you are where you are, or you’ve been where you’ve been for a reason. It’s not just an accident, say, that you were born in Texas. So, make a list of the geographical places you’ve been in your life–what were the lessons you were supposed to learn there? What was your purpose in being there? To learn something? To teach something? Teach something to someone? What role did those times play in your spiritual development?

I’ve played this game many times. For a lot of my life, the geography made a lot of sense. Being born in Newark, NJ, living there most of my life, the grammar school and the high school I attended, going to college in New York, returning to Newark. Each of these geographical locations played an important role in my spiritual development. The places I visited, like Mt. Savior Monastery in Upstate New York.

In recent years, I’ve been perplexed by some of the geographical changes that seemed to be happening to me–working in different stores, further and further away from home. Westfield NJ was a particularly trying period in my life, working there. I didn’t understand why I was there. I still don’t, really, although I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand it, or at least attach some meaning to it. When I got this current job, it was a bit bizarre that I would be working in Menlo Park, NJ, 29 miles from where I live. But if you play this exercise, you look for the reason you were sent there, what was the point, who were you meant to encounter there…

It’s becoming more interesting because I’ve just been given a store much closer to home and am interracting with a whole new group of people, all of whom have ties to Newark. My assistant manager, in fact, lives across the street from the house I lived in all my life before moving three years ago to Caldwell, which is a very special place for me.

Related to this is the holiness of certain places, or at least their specialness. I love showing people my special places. They are filled with energy, with chi, with holiness, with a certain something. For me, my home in Newark, Branch Brook Park with the Cherry Blossoms, The Basilica in Newark, The Steps of Low Library in New York(I am partially convinced that these steps are located at the center of the universe), Mt. Savior Monastery, the Pit, as we call it–a parking lot where I practice tai chi with two of my students. There are other special places. What are yours.

And if someone exclaims when they see you, “What are you doing here,” tell them what you’re doing there!
(while I do not endorse the ministry of Dr. Mike Murdock and the idea of sending him money in order to reap a financial harvest, I did get this idea mostly from him).

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