Today’s blog explores the invitation to surrender to Divine timing and the spiritual practice of PRESENT MOMENT awareness.
Crawling out of the Cave
Yawn. Stretch. Yawn. Rubbing my eyes. Blinking. “Good morning.” I am slowly crawling out of the cave of a Universe -imposed two week retreat. I entered into the retreat with two intentions:
1) To heal and recover from some emotionally draining professional situations.
2) To enter into a period of discernment – seeking Divine direction for my life. Looking for the answer to that question, “Now what?”
I feel as if intention #1 has been pretty much accomplished. Intention #2? Not so much. The good news is that even though I don’t feel any closer to having an answer, I no longer feel as if I need to flush it all down the toilet. (Which is more than I can say for two weeks ago when I was ready to quit it all….teaching, writing, seeing clients, etc. and go get a job at Target – preferably in the stockroom so I could never have to deal with people again!)
Discernment is the spiritual process through which we open to Divine direction and guidance in our lives. It is a formal process rooted in meditation and prayer, preferably with the support of a Spiritual Director. In discernment, we ask “Where is God calling me?” Discernment is not about asking, “what do I want?” Rather it is seeking to understand what God knows to be in our highest good. Discernment is also a process of waiting and watching – being attentive to those things that are life-giving, supportive, expansive and those that are not. This discernment process has felt like this to me – observing the no-longer life-giving aspects to some of the work I have been doing and the truth that some areas seem to be diminishing. The frustrating thing, however, is that in this moment, nothing has shown up to replace those things that seem to be diminishing. It feels very much like a door (or several doors) is closing and the new door has not yet opened up. For a control freak of nature like myself, this is TORTURE!!!!! As those who know me well could attest, I DO NOT do well without a plan.
And Invitation to Sit….and Wait….and Trust
So, it seems God is inviting me into the spiritual practice that I most detest – the invitation to SIMPLY BE in the PRESENT MOMENT. ARGH!!!!! I hate this practice. I resist it like heck. I don’t want to sit……and wait…..and trust…..and pay my bills wondering where the next paycheck might be…..I want a plan….I want a secure income…..and I WANT IT NOW!!!!! (thanks for indulging my inner Veruca Salt!) But I also know that God doesn’t call us to be smaller, so if there are doors closing, that means (in my little crazy world anyway), that a much bigger door must be opening…..it just isn’t quite ready to reveal itself (though I have a sneaking suspicion it has something to do with a certain novel I’m getting closer to publishing). So, until that door is revealed, I am forced to SIT….and WAIT….and TRUST. And the only thing that will keep me sane in this terrifying process of surrender is……….PRESENT MOMENT practice.
Present Moment Practice
As I mentioned, Present Moment Practice is my LEAST favorite spiritual discipline. It isn’t fun like Imagination/Contemplation or Lectio-Divina where you get to exercise your creativity and play with God. For a compulsive planner like myself, Present Moment Practice is excruciatingly painful. Did I tell you I HATE IT? I also know that it is the only thing that will keep me sane in the gap between doors closing and doors opening. It works like this:
- Be attentive to what I am doing RIGHT NOW.
- Do the task….with focus and intent.
- Be attentive to EVERY temptation to future-thought, daydreaming, planning, anticipating, etc. “what would happen if I tried this…..what if I did that…..how about exploring on-line classes…..what about a job at Walmart….where do Ministers go when there’s no one else to minister to…”
- When you catch yourself in future-thought, daydreaming, anticipating, planning…….STOP. BREATHE. Return to the task at hand.
- Watch for the God-nuggets…..things that fall into your lap and ask for your attention. Today, it is my sick daughter and paying bills. Tomorrow it is my editor and later, it is my novel’s cover artist. Then tend to those nuggets with attentive focus.
- Observe the little fear eruptions. As we are tending to PRESENT MOMENT, little volcanoes of fear will show up…..”Is my liability policy up to date? Is my car making a funny sound? What happens if I run out of money? OMG…I totally forgot about that bill!” Sometimes these fears are well-grounded, but mostly they are stupid, irrational, ridiculous fears….there to KEEP US FROM OUR PATH. Watch them, but don’t grab on to them. Let them flow through and MOVE OUT.
- And BREATHE. BREATHE and BREATHE some more.
The intention with PRESENT MOMENT PRACTICE is to stay in the now….remain in the present moment…and not distracted or misdirected by the thoughts and fears that drive us toward seeking perceived surety – especially the perceived surety we get through the constant planning and anticipating that goes on in our heads. Could it be that this constant planning is really keeping us from hearing the truth that God would like us to know? I guess I will just have to find out! Wish me luck! 😉
Where do you find yourself caught up in the hamster wheel of mental planning, anticipating, etc.?
How does that hamster wheel of thought keep you from experiencing peace RIGHT NOW?
Where are you being invited to apply PRESENT MOMENT practice in your own life?
Authentic Freedom Ministries