Speaking with Laurence Freeman in Cork, Ireland
at the World Community of Christian Meditation Conference.
Laurence Freeman. The second is from The Center for Action and Contemplation a short devotion from the writings of Richard Rohr. I find that along with my morning meditation, these are what I am drawn to as I begin my day.
But depending on the length of my to-do list and the pace of my day this small morning routine of mine is more or less profitable. Do you know what I mean? Some days (and some days might add up to a number of days in a row) I go through my morning ritual, but it doesn't seem to go through me. Indeed I read with interest-and maybe even an "aha" but there is little evidence of that time in the going's-on of the day.
Yet on other days, and perhaps most days, where the routine is the same--meditate and read--the whole nature of my day is changed. My responses to situations and people are lighter, more gentle, more forgiving. I'm consistently more open and less anxious. My morning practice would have looked the same to an observer, so what made the difference?
Because I've just left a cycle of the former rather than the latter of the experiences outlined above let me share an insight...which at the moment also feels like a confession. When I treat my spiritual disciplines as one more thing to check off my list, they resist! When I use my spiritual practices as a habit rather than treasure them as a sacred appointment with The One who is leading the dance of my life, my steps are stilted and faltering.
What I am learning again (as if for the first time) is that hurrying or duty bound obligation is no way to approach sacred time. While perhaps these are virtues for making the world go round, they hamper our life in the spirit. Rushing is the opposite of contemplation and kills any hope we have to hear--any hope to be changed. And Love is not a duty but a privilege.
I have another example of the pitfalls of a hurried life, this one from outside the spiritual realm--my desk and my table. Anyone can tell the state of my hurriedness (and my spirit) by looking at my desk at work, or the dining room table at home. When I'm in good balance they are uncluttered--you'll not see piles of papers and books that look a little like a hurricane crossed over my desk nor will there be piles of junk mail that I've just not-gotten-around-to-throwing-away-yet on my dining room table!
But when I've allowed the 'tyranny of the urgent' to dictate my priorities, I simply no longer notice the outward chaos growing around me. Soon any observant person can see the very state of my being by looking at my desk or table!
I wonder what it is that you don't notice when you are distracted or hurried? What can people see around you--outward signs--that might give a clue as to what is happening inside of you?
Even in the lazy days of summer, we can neglect to stop and smell the roses; both literal and figurative. And when we allow situations and circumstances to gather us up in their tidal pull rather than ordering our life by being present to the moment we are in with all its possibility, we can easily miss the very thing God has put in front of us--or even the burdens Christ desires to lift from us.
Let me encourage you to slow down and notice the people and things around you today. What are they asking of you? What are they saying to you or about you? How might you faithfully respond while keeping present, aware and not hurried?
Well, that's all for now...I have this compelling desire to clear off that dining room table.
In peace and joy, Kathleen Bronagh Weller, thecelticmonk