Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Once again, I have taken up temporary residence in a cabin called Simplicity. I seem to come back, again and again, to this theme. Here it is concrete; in this aesthetically plain one-room retreat of re-claimed materials. It is a place I can re-claim my life away from the material world and closer to Spirit’s realm.
My prayer last night, after arriving and settling in just before 5:30 silent worship, was this:
Dear God Please be with me on this retreat.
I desire simplicity in my life.
That means surrendering my fears,
tendency to measure life and live bythe world’s conventions, which
constrict and constrain me.
As those die, I ask you to replace them
with creativity, experiencing life as a prayer,
bowing to Jesus and re-claiming my soul. Amen
After a fitful, dream-laden sleep and a yoga practice, I walked to the labyrinth, my fears bubbling up, seeking to pray off the layers. I entered intent on leaving them at the center. I began silently chanting “I know I have Jesus” over and over, then searching, pleading, “but I am looking for someone to teach me from the world.”
Who should pop into my head, but my husband, the one who claims to practice no spirituality? I questioned. Yes, that one. The one I gave you as a partner … you are not alone in this world. It was almost too obvious an answer for me. Then I began to see the light: “Ah, the one who is playful, doesn’t taken himself seriously, prefers not to worry, wants to create on his terms and doesn’t accept the world’s.” And also, in some respects, his carbon copy, Lily. Ok, so Jesus is my spiritual model and Tad is my in-the-world, how-to-navigate it partner … I got it!
Guidance at the center came in the form of an exercise: “sift the fears of truth from non-truth. This sifting will bring clarity and simplicity.”
In my cabin, I created a chart labeled fear/real/truth and dealt with them. In discerning where I can let go and where I must work, two queries arose:
• How can I be MORE of myself?
• How can I live in that place between the material and spiritual worlds, between the layers where it is more peaceful?
Those answers really are merging into one as a new reality and way to live forms for me. I am haunted by something I read last night, a Thomas Merton quote, someone wrote in the cabin guest book:
“When I am liberated by silence, when I am no longer involved in the measurement of life, but in the living of it … my whole life becomes a prayer.”
That’s precisely what I desire. I seek a constant awareness of God so that my breath is prayer. For me, that means:
– A daily practice of gratitude and another of emptying the daily stresses and fears. I require a morning meditation/prayer and one for evening. One that I create for myself.
– Exercising loving kindness, particularly on myself, and releasing my pattern of judgment of criticism of others and myself.
– Maintaining loving relationships.
– Reconnecting and centering daily, but also regular retreats to re-balance, such as this one, and spending time in nature, among God’s creation.
– Engaging in meaningful work.
– Showing my vulnerability and undertanding that other’s reactions are projections of their own wounds, not their judgment of me.
– Falling in love with myself again.
Simple. And freeing … here. Can I do it at home?
• What role does simplicity play in my life?
• What would my prayer be around it?
• What fears am I driven to explore, possibly cast aside?
• How can I do that work?
• How am I called to be MORE of myself?
MORE OF WHO YOU ARE
Be MORE of who you are.
Not less or who anyone else says you are.
Listen deeply, inside, to know who you are.
Listen to your heart.
To me [God].
Love is always the answer.
Live in love.
Respond in love.
Act in love.
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