First, there is an awakening to this moment and noticing what is in it and me–what I see, feel, and think. I observe myself and what is taking place now. I notice my immediate attraction or aversion to “what is”–how I label it as good or bad and become entangled in it.
As my awareness broadens, I discover that I’m not alone. God, who is love, is here too, in and around me. This discovery helps me to slip out of my initial reaction and hold it with a sense of detachment.
At this point, I might notice a thought that has some energy in it. For example, I was talking with “Bob” about current events and felt uneasy when it became clear that our viewpoints differed. Then the thought emerged: I feel destabilized when we disagree. Once that came to light, I was able to allow my discomfort and our differences to be there conscious that God is in and around both Bob and me. In this state of detached awareness, I was able to respond calmly and respectfully.
Later, I might return to that destabilizing feeling and pray with it or talk about it with my spiritual director. I might forget about it and find it returns when I feel it again in a similar situation or it’s stirred up by something I’ve read or heard. Eventually, when I go with God into the dark valley of my fear of being destabilized, I am anointed with oil, and my cup overflows with healing and freedom.
I feel such peace as I write about this. Yet I know that many thoughts and questions are about to descend and will anxiously clamour for my attention.
But I’m not in that future moment. I’m in this one, and so I will keep them waiting.
Even though I walk through the
valley of the shadow and of death,
I am not afraid;
For You are ever with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they guide me,
they give me strength and comfort.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of all my fears;
you bless me with oil,
my cup overflows.
–Psalm 23: 4, 5
Nan C. Merrill,
Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness
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Richard Wagamese (1955-2017) offers us words of healing so needed in these troubled times. “I’ve been considering the phrase ‘all my relations’ for some time now. It’s hugely important. It’s our saving grace in the end. It points to the truth that we are related, we are all connected, we all belong to each other. The most important word is all. Not just those who look like me, sing like me, dance like me, speak like me, pray like me or behave like me. ALL my relations. It means every person just as it means every blade of grass, rock, mineral and creature. We live because everything else does. If we were to collectively choose to live that teaching the energy of that change of consciousness would heal all of us—and heal the planet.” Think of the love mischief we can do with God when we see and love all our relations.