Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Friday, January 20, 2012

Finding the sacred within, and maybe one's self

I have been thinking a lot lately, and writing a lot lately, about the need to go inside. To go to the core of who we are, and find there the sacred presence that is there, and connect with that presence, and then, in the context of that connection, seek to find one's deepest self.  I have become convinced this is the key to spirituality, and to becoming what we were created to be.  As Paul writes, "The secret is this, Christ in us the hope of glory."  (Colossians 1)

There are many who point to this process as being critical to life.  People as diverse as a secular psychologist (Laurel Mellon), a very spiritually oriented psychologist (Wayne Muller), and even a very intensely Christian ex-priest (Brennan Manning) all suggest that connecting with the sacred within, and in that context finding ourselves is the key to fullness and joy.  Many years ago Elizabeth O'Conner wrote a wonderful book about getting to a place where one can live a life of meaning.  The title?  "Journey Inward, Journey Outward".  First we must go to our core!

This afternoon I went for a walk.  It was not a great day (36 and gray), and so I thought I would use the walk as a way to try and get in touch with my own center.  It has been admittedly a difficult week.  As I walked I began to develop a set of phrases that I used as a tool to get in touch with my inner self.  I walked, and breathed, and repeated the phrases.  And it made a difference.

I began to feel the tightness and anxiety lighten, and a sense of warmth and openness emerge.  A sense of being connect with God, and yes, even myself.  The phrases were loosely based on the metta phrases that come out of the Buddhist tradition.  I framed them in the context of my Christian faith, but one could change the first two phrases in many ways, to fit many different forms of spirituality.  

At any rate, I thought I might share them.  Play with them.  See if they might have some meaning for you.

May I find the Christ within
May I find myself in Him
In the context of extravagant love
May my soul be healed
May my heart be healed
May my mind be healed
May my body be healed
May I be at ease (or peace)

Blessings Stephen 

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