My wife recently sprained her arm.
After visiting the Doctor, she was prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication to help alleviate the pain and facilitate the healing process.
The Doctor made it a point to warn her that, once the pain begins to subside, she might feel tempted to ease up on her daily dosages. He strongly cautioned her against this and instructed her to take her medications for the full week even if she felt good. The message?
Follow the prescription, not the pain.
In the spiritual life, it’s easy to go whichever way the wind blows on non-dramatic days. But when crisis strikes and pain is felt, our sense of urgency kicks in and we make it a high priority to seek out something or someone who will nourish our souls. We call mentors for advice, search scriptures for wisdom, summon companions for comfort, etc. That’s called “following the pain.” It’s doing what you have to do as a reaction to something unpleasant that’s happening in the moment.
It’s important to remember, however, that the value of spiritual life isn’t to just solve problems. Spirituality is about cherishing ourselves as beings whose life-essence is transcendent and non-physical. We do what we do, because our spirits are worth feeding, our souls are worth cultivating, and our minds are worth educating.
So, don’t wait for a crisis to pray, pick up a good book, meditate, or whatever. Take some time to exercise and nurture your spirit even when you feel great. That’s the prescription for maximizing your greatness.
Don’t wait for the pain. Follow the prescription.