05/28/2011 10:38 am ET Updated Jul 28, 2011

Wealth School: Lessons in Spiritual Awakening

In response to a recent blog, "Wealth School is Fun!" one reader commented: "Wealth School could give me lessons on altruism and spiritual awakening".

On Monday this week, I went to view the winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, "Tree of Life" which I very much enjoyed. It was long, colorful and did not have a strong plot, nor dialogue. What I caught my attention at the beginning was that it was about the force of nature and the presence of grace.

I believe that the dynamic force of nature and the presence of grace may be in a fundamental conflict. Do we give in to our more animal natures? Or do we ascend into higher planes of thinking? The choice is not either or, as I see it. We can learn to embrace both.

Speaking about this movie with some friends over lunch yesterday, one asked me, "What is grace?" I did not have an easy answer then. Now I would say that it is an absence of suffering and a presence of joy. Life just has a way of working well and is grace-full. Even life's challenges can be met with a frame of mind that is graceful. Do you know people like that?

A life working well is to me a "Way of Wealth." And since money is very much a part of our lives, managing ourselves well in relationship to our finances paves the way for a more gracious life.

Back to spiritual awakening and altruism from the comment mentioned above. Awakening often takes place in response to discomfort of some kind. Do the materially rich have it all easy and happily? Not in my experience. For many, money may bring misery -- such as envy and resentment from others -- and even an abiding sense of lack which continues to drive the ambition for more. None of us is exempt from the possibility of understanding our spiritual natures.

So what is it that enriches and fulfills us, that leads us to become spiritually whole?

Mother Teresa when asked how she accomplished so much, declared that she was in love. In love with Jesus. That and perhaps the passion for her dedication to help the poor and destitute. She had a noble calling. She was also a masterful fundraiser, fueled perhaps by the same passion and devotion for others in need.

Spiritual awakening is I believe a call from the heart to know and understand more of that essence within us that sustains our lives. Altruism is another call of the heart to give of ourselves in such a way that our core spirit is fulfilled -- the giving to a cause that speaks to us. to which we give without any expectation of a return.

We are not all Mother Teresas but we all have hearts that call to us when we listen. The call may be a gentle nudge that sets you off looking in a certain direction. It may be a feeling of dissatisfaction that seems to say: There has to be more to life than I am currently getting.

My own venture into spiritual awakening opened when I realized there was so much more to life than meets the eye. I continue to be curious, and discover more as time goes on. How could I e ever be complete with exploring the infinite?

What does it take to awaken to your spirit? Is there a degree course in spiritual awakening? How does life teach you to recognize and appreciate the spirit in and around you?

In my experience, lessons in spiritual awakening include seeing events within a larger unfolding picture, of which I am a small part. They include lessons in love, acceptance, gratitude and forgiveness such that I am free to experience the fullness of the present moment. They may start with the openness to hear, and to follow the guidance of your heart as it directs you.

We are each of us a gift for wealth. We have the wealth of our personal assets, of talents, skills, qualities and at our core, the extraordinary gift of our spirit awaiting to be realized and fulfilled. The expressions of our innate wealth lead to our greater experiences of wealth and fulfilment.

What are the lessons in spiritual awakening that have enriched you?

He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.
-- Patrick Naylor

For tips and hints on creating a wealthy life, go to The Wealth Book -- Winning With Spirit

Wishing you health, wealth and happiness -- in all of the many ways it can come to you!