It is a strange twist of irony when you have created, facilitate and authored a book on tackling the spiritual fears that prevent us from living a life of inner contentment and peace…only to find yourself face to face with your most intimate fears. This is where I found myself last night and this morning.
First off…..I have to tell you that the first gathering of the Contemplative Community at Authentic Freedom ministries was AMAZING! We had a fantastic evening of collective prayer, reflection, meditation and discussion. Those gathered revealed their own unique giftedness as people of wisdom, insight, creativity and openness. We laughed, we learned, we found support. I am so grateful for those who had the courage to respond to the inner call to seek to know themselves more deeply and to grow in awareness of their highest self. It was a blessed evening.
Then those familiar “demons” stepped in. I found myself face to face with the fears, false perceptions and ego attachments with which I have wrestled these past few years. I found myself engaging the attachment to surety….”What will this look like a year from now…..what if no one comes….what if too many come…where will we grow if/when we outgrow this space???” Ridiculous thoughts based on NOTHING! Then the perfectionist stepped in, “You promised time for silent contemplation and the group didn’t get that…..you let the discussion go too long….your singing was off….I’m not sure things flowed smoothly….” Again, ridiculous thoughts……this is not my process to police….God is in charge, not me, so whatever happened is exactly as it should be. Then the martyr showed up. Intent on making me feel rejected, she decided it was a good idea to see how many people “declined” the invitation on Facebook for the contemplative community. Fortunately, I had the wisdom to look at the “accepted” and “maybe’s” first, so the “declines” weren’t too devastating.
I just have to laugh at how this inner process of the false self unfolds. Just as I am stepping into what I believe (for now) is my truth, the fears gather their resources and hit me with a ground assault. Sitting in the quagmire of restless anxiety, I’m grateful for the knowledge that temptation is really all this is. I am reminded of the icon image of St. Margaret as she is exiting the dragon’s mouth. Legend has it that she was swallowed by a dragon and found herself in the pits of hell. She knew that there must be a way out…so she just kept walking. Eventually, she found the exit and fought her way out. While I know this is not to be taken as literal truth, it is a fantastic metaphor for the journey of spiritual growth and transformation. So, for today…..I thank St. Margaret for the reminder to just keep walking!