Renewing the spiritual dimension provides leadership to your life. It's highly related to Habit 2.
The spiritual dimension is your core, your center, your commitment to your value system. It's a
very private area of life and a supremely important one. It draws upon the sources that inspire and
uplift you and tie you to the timeless truths of all humanity. And people do it very, very differently.
I find renewal in daily prayerful meditation on the scriptures because they represent my value
system. As I read and meditate, I feel renewed, strengthened, centered, and recommitted to serve.
Immersion in great literature or great music can provide a similar renewal of the spirit for some.
There are others who find it in the way they communicate with nature. Nature bequeaths its own
blessing on those who immerse themselves in it. When you're able to leave the noise and the discord
of the city and give yourself up to the harmony and rhythm of nature, you come back renewed. For a
time, you're undisturbable, almost unflappable, until gradually the noise and the discord from outside
start to invade that sense of inner peace.
Arthur Gordon shares a wonderful, intimate story of his own spiritual renewal in a little story called
"The Turn of the Tide." It tells of a time in his life when he began to feel that everything was stale and THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE Brought to you by FlyHeart flat. His enthusiasm waned; his writing efforts were fruitless. And the situation was growing worse day by day.
Finally, he determined to get help from a medical doctor. Observing nothing physically wrong, the
doctor asked him if he would be able to follow his instructions for one day.
When Gordon replied that he could, the doctor told him to spend the following day in the place
where he was happiest as a child. He could take food, but he was not to talk to anyone or to read or
write or listen to the radio. He then wrote out four prescriptions and told him to open one at nine,
twelve, three, and six o'clock.
"Are you serious?" Gordon asked him.
"You won't think I'm joking when you get my bill!" was the reply.
So the next morning, Gordon went to the beach. As he opened the first prescription, he read
"Listen carefully." He thought the doctor was insane. How could he listen for three hours? But he had agreed to follow the doctor's orders, so he listened. He heard the usual sounds of the sea and the birds.
After a while, he could hear the other sounds that weren't so apparent at first. As he listened, he began to think of lessons the sea had taught him as a child -- patience, respect, an awareness of the
interdependence of things. He began to listen to the sounds -- and the silence -- and to feel a growing peace.
At noon, he opened the second slip of paper and read "Try reaching back." "Reaching back to what?"
he wondered. Perhaps to childhood, perhaps to memories of happy times. He thought about his past,
about the many little moments of joy. He tried to remember them with exactness. And in
remembering, he found a growing warmth inside.
At three o'clock, he opened the third piece of paper. Until now, the prescriptions had been easy to
take. But this one was different; it said "Examine your motives." At first he was defensive. He thought about what he wanted -- success, recognition, security, and he justified them all. But then the thought occurred to him that those motives weren't good enough, and that perhaps therein was the
answer to his stagnant situation.
He considered his motives deeply. He thought about past happiness. And at last, the answer
came to him.
"In a flash of certainty," he wrote, "I saw that if one's motives are wrong, nothing can be right. It makes no difference whether you are a mailman, a hairdresser, an insurance salesman, a housewife --
whatever. As long as you feel you are serving others, you do the job well. When you are concerned
only with helping yourself, you do it less well -- a law as inexorable as gravity."
When six o'clock came, the final prescription didn't take long to fill. "Write your worries on the
sand," it said. He knelt and wrote several words with a piece of broken shell; then he turned and
walked away. He didn't look back; he knew the tide would come in.
Spiritual renewal takes an investment of time. But it's a Quadrant II activity we don't really have
time to neglect.
The great reformer Martin Luther is quoted as saying, "I have so much to do today, I'll need to spend another hour on my knees." To him, prayer was not a mechanical duty but rather a source of power in
releasing and multiplying his energies.
Someone once inquired of a Far Eastern Zen master, who had a great serenity and peace about him
no matter what pressures he faced, "How do you maintain that serenity and peace?" He replied, "I never leave my place of meditation." He meditated early in the morning and for the rest of the day, he carried the peace of those moments with him in his mind and heart.
The idea is that when we take time to draw on the leadership center of our lives, what life is
ultimately all about, it spreads like an umbrella over everything else. It renews us, it refreshes us,
particularly if we recommit to it.
This is why I believe a personal mission statement is so important. If we have a deep
THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE Brought to you by FlyHeart understanding of our center and our purpose, we can review and recommit to it frequently. In our
daily spiritual renewal, we can visualize and "live out" the events of the day in harmony with those values.
Religious leader David O. McKay taught, "The greatest battles of life are fought out daily in the
silent chambers of the soul." If you win the battles there, if you settle the issues that inwardly conflict, you feel a sense of peace, a sense of knowing what you're about. And you'll find that the Public
Victories -- where you tend to think cooperatively, to promote the welfare and good of other people,
and to be genuinely happy for other people's successes -- will follow naturally.