The Law Killeth; The Spirit Giveth Life

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

Psalm 38 (Morning)
Psalm 119:25-48 (Evening)
Lam. 2:8-15
1 Cor. 15:51-58
Matt. 12:1-14

The Law Killeth; The Spirit Giveth Life

On Greenville Avenue in Dallas, there is a Unity Church and behind the altar in large letters are the words:


These words have become a reminder for me to favor spirit over letter. I find myself reacting vigorously when someone is perceived as applying the letter of the law. This reaction reveals a “letter-of-the-law” part of me. That which bothers me in another is indicative of a part of me hidden from my conscious awareness. This unconscious part of me is my “shadow” which influences every decision of my life. The unveiling of the shadow is at the heart of the Spiritual Journey.

Our defenses are designed to “protect” us from these parts of ourselves that are often painful to experience. How do we mine this hidden ore of our “false selves”? The first requirement is in the words of AA: “A little willingness….”. We must have as our intention the dismantling of the false self, which is the self we have created to navigate through life in attempting to get our needs met. After willingness, spiritual practices are needed to get at the unconscious material that we have buried along the way. Three of my spiritual practices are:

  • Centering Prayer: Which over time will reveal and help me heal “the emotional wounds of a lifetime” (Thomas Keating)
  • Creating a conscious relationship with my wife Carolyn: The gift of a committed, intimate relationship is that I will be introduced to ALL of me
  • Golf: The vagaries of this game reveal all my “defects of character” (AA 12-steps).

Once we embark on the Spiritual Journey there is no turning back. We can hang on at times and dig in our heels, but Spirit will continue to move us toward transformation of the false self into the Self God created us to be. COWABUNGA!

Written by Nick Cole

Nick Cole is a centering prayer practitioner, husband, and golfer.

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