It’s All in the Preposition

In spiritual life there is a tremendous amount of written material across all traditions. Words play a pivotal role, especially in how these traditions are conveyed and understood. In the Western tradition of which I am quite familiar, I have come to learn about the importance of prepositions in understanding certain spiritual points. I’ll share four such instances:

  •     in – for

Are you living in the moment, or for the moment? If it’s the former you are on track spiritually. If it’s the latter you are following the hedonistic⁄materialist path. Finding sensory pleasure at any cost is your anthem.

  •     in – of

Are you living in this world, or living of this world? If it’s the former you are on the road to spiritual participation in life. If it’s the latter you have put your eggs in the basket of materialism, a form of life that is not spiritual. Can you be a spiritual materialist (a common phenomenon these days)? No. Spiritual point: You can’t serve two masters at the same time. In this case Divinity – Mammon.

  •  to – for

Are you responsible to someone or for someone? If it is the former and are responsible to them we may speak of adult responsibility, such as our being together in a shared world having care toward one another. It it’s the latter then you may very well be co–opting the freedom of someone else, or unduly taking over choices and decisions for others in a way that can diminish others (of course we are exempting those who may be in coma, unconscious, under the age of seven years old, or incompetent by law).

  • about – to

Do you speak inwardly about yourself to another you, or do you speak inwardly directly to yourself? If it’s the former you are getting a handle on a spiritual practice of self mastery. If it’s the latter you are in a debate with what we term your "false self," one which you will always lose and will thereby ultimately suffer. How does that work? I use myself as an example. The usual way: I (True Self) speaks directly to jerry (false self), i.e., Jerry speaks to jerry. Jerry always loses, jerry wins. The spiritual way: Jerry speaks to a Larger Jerry about jerry. Jerry wins, jerry loses. Keep doing this and observe what happens to you.