Monday, October 26, 2015

Food for Thought

Saturday morning I helped to organize an "Inservice" for spiritual directors which I continue to think about.  There were so many parts of the time that I continue to ponder.

We began with a time of prayer and reflection on this quotation from Howard Thurman.

There is in everyone that which waits and listens
To hear the genuine in himself
To hear the genuine in another, too
How is it with you
Are you able to hear the genuine in another
If not, then you must do all you can
To remove whatever it is that prevents your hearing it
For if you cannot hear it in another, you will not hear it in yourself
Howard Thurman

And we began with the question of what it is that prevents our hearing the genuine in another?  or in ourselves?  And there is so many different answers.  It is so easy to be busy, distracted, full of ourselves, and on some level afraid to really listen.  

Then we watched a video of a talk by Brian McDermott titled "Contemplative Experience in Spiritual Direction."  Here are some of his thoughts that struck me.

1. In the past 25 years there have been disruptive cultural shifts caused by technology
     * The internet seizes our attention and scrambles our thoughts and keeps us on the surface of life.
     * "Skimming" has become a dominant mode of thought and affects our capacity to go deeper
     * We have gone from cultivation of knowledge to being hunters and gatherers.
     * We Live more and more with outward thoughts, denying our inner reality.

2. He defined "contemplativeness" as a long, loving look at the real, savoring that which I love.  A movement from self reflection to noticing the other and being affected by the other.   There is a difference between thinking about something and being affected by it.

3. The church teaches and interprets God.  And that is good.  It is in spiritual direction that we listen and find our for ourselves what God is doing and how we are affected by it.  Sometimes it is the difference between information about God and time with God.

After looking over my notes right now I realize I would benefit from watching this video again.  It just reminds me of the importance of "wasting time" with God and allowing God to have God's way with me.  It is just so easy to "do for" God instead of "be with" God. And the times of prayer, contemplative, reflection enable me to see and feel "movement of spirit" in ways that I cannot express in words, but experience often in  quiet and transcendent moments.

I am - as always it seems - in  discernment about my life in retirement - with a big question about what I am supposed to DO? And a morning like this reminds me, that it is most important for me to live in a stance in which I am truly open and listening.  Maybe it  is not about doing as much as receptivity. 

 I continue to marvel at the possibility for more growth and understanding  and openness to God's spirit.  And I am happy to have found spiritual directors in this journey.

"In spiritual direction, you reflect deeply on the experience of your daily life.  Gradually, as you contemplate, you may begin to recognize God's presence and grace in your life.  You may come to realize how God's spirit is truly with you every day and everywhere.  You discover that God has been waiting for you to seek this closer relationship."
Spiritual Director's International


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