What would it take for you to consider yourself a spiritual leader? Would it require becoming a vegan? A meditator? Having peaceful interactions with everyone you meet?
Here’s what I know: The days of pedestals holding up spiritual leaders are gone. It was a paradigm that some assumed to maintain dominance and others assumed to avoid responsibility. It never worked in a sustainable and meaningful way.
When I became the Spiritual Director of Bodhi Spiritual Center in Chicago, there was one quote that I used as the backdrop:
“The next Buddha may take the form of a community — a community practicing understanding and loving-kindness, a community practicing mindful living. This may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the Earth.” — Thich Nhất Hạnh
Consider any prophet, mystic, master, or sage that we have outsourced our power to. The awakened masters have walked this earth for millennia. And each of them have pointed us back to the incredible power that lives within each of us.
It no longer works to wait for the second coming.
It no longer works to outsource your good to another.
It no longer works to thwart the brilliance that is right where you are.
Get real. You are a spiritual leader. Would you be willing to step into that BEFORE you may be ready to perfectly execute the role?
Perhaps you’ve heard the expression: “God doesn’t call the qualified. God qualifies the called.” If we wait until we have mastered our diet, our exercise, our relationships, or our money, we may be waiting a really long time. I am asking you to step into a more conscious practice of the old “act as if.”
And I am asking you to do that with responsibility and discipline.
When I became a mother at 18, I was not prepared. I was not ready. I did not have the skills, the knowledge, the expertise, the wisdom, or the assets. But I did it anyway. Because it was before me. And because I knew that a way would be made.
Being a spiritual leader, for me, means I fall down and get back up. It means that I turn within to my intuitive faculty more frequently. It means that I know that no matter how brilliant my circle of confidantes is there is one in me that knows everything it needs to know.
Being a spiritual leader means availing yourself to critique. It means stepping out and leading. It means being unpopular.
It means being alone.
Being a spiritual leader is the most holy and sacred yes I have ever given. It is rarely sexy. The depths of commitment required or the intentional and thoughtful practice invoked regularly are rarely understood or known.
And yet, it is a needed role on the planet today. Despite the countless failures of traditional religious communities, humanity still has a deep longing for spiritual connection and awakening.
So, answer the call.
You won’t even recognize yourself once you say yes.